One of the biggest mistakes coaches can make is to not take pre-game time seriously. This is your last chance to get your team prepared for a game, and establishing effective baseball warmups & routines are critical. When putting a warm up routine together, keep these 8 baseball drills in mind. They are very effective and will prepare your team physically and mentally to begin playing.
1. Light Jogging
Typically the first drill a team performs as a team, jogging, is a great way to get your muscles warmed up and ready for the day.Avoid your opponent’s warm up area and find a good area to jog for about five minutes. Recommended areas include around the edge of the fence or just in a straight line through the outfield.
Jogging targets mainly the leg muscles and core area, but also works out your arms and upper body to a lesser degree. This is why it’s a great way to start a warm-up. It basically warms up your whole body. It’s a great habit to get into before any game, practice or anytime you exercise on your own. After about five to ten minutes of jogging, it’s time to move on to another drill.
Another great way to get your team started before a game is with stretching, another important factor in getting your muscles loose. Stretching should be done before and after any physical activity, so make sure you include this in your routine or else your team will regret it.
There are a lot of stretches you can do during this time of your warmup. The goal is to stretch as many muscles in your body as possible.
Start with your lower body. Stretch your ankles, calf muscles, shins and thighs. Then, move on to your core and upper body. Arm stretches and neck stretches will be very effective.
One of the main reasons your team should stretch before any physical activity is to try and avoid injuries as much as possible. When you exercise without stretching before, you open the risk of injury. No one wants to suffer an injury, so you’re better off just stretching. Try and dedicate around 10 to 15 minutes to this part of your warm up routine.
3. Agility Training
After your team has stretched their muscles out, they are ready to get into more active drills. Starting off with some agility training is a good way to get your team’s hearts pumping. I suggest getting four markers, either a cone or a glove, and setting them in a vertical line with around 10 feet in between each marker. The more groups of markers you have, the better. If you can, get your team into groups of four for this drill.
Once set up, this drill is very simple. Just have your team line up in the groups assigned and have the first person begin at the first glove. All they have to do is sprint from the first glove to the second – to the first – to the third – to the first – to the fourth and then back to the first. Have each player do this at least two times, but make sure they don’t waste all of their energy. They still have a game to play, so try and keep it at a light sprint instead of going all out.
Here Coach Scott Bradley demonstrates an exercise great for throwing, running and agility.
Source: Coaching Youth Baseball: Ages 9 to 12
4. Throwing Warm-Ups
This could be a very simple drill but feel free to add some spice to it if you desire. The simple version would require your team to get into groups of three or four, with each group having one ball. Have the groups spread out around the field in a triangle or square, depending on how big the groups are. Once set, just have your team throw the ball to each other. Have them mix in pop-ups and ground balls, in addition to just normal throws.
5. Batting Practice
If you would like to make your warm-up a bit more interesting, you can incorporate a light batting practice drill. If you have access to the entire field, grab some waffle balls and spice it up. Have one person bat. Your pitcher can pitch the ball to the batter. Then position two people to shag the balls. The rest of your team can throw the ball amongst themselves while they wait their turn.
6. Ground Balls
During a game, your team is going to deal with a lot of ground balls. Because of this, it’s suggested that you get them warmed up for that specific event. If you have waffle balls, then use those for this drill. It’s very easy to set up; all you need is for your team to spread out around the infield while you hit ground balls towards them.
While doing this fielding drill, make sure each player gets a chance at a ground ball. Aim your hits properly, not hitting it too hard and obviously keeping them on the ground. If you would like, you can incorporate light line-drives into the drill. Just refrain from hitting them too hard. Keep it light.
7. Outfield Training
If you’re going to get your team warmed up for ground balls, you might as well prepare them for pop-ups and hits that enter the outfield. This drill is set up the same way as the ground ball training, except your team will spread out in the outfield. Hit a mix of pop-ups, line drives and ground balls.
8. Pitcher Warm-Up
The pitchers require their own warm-up that should begin around 15 minutes prior to the moment they enter the game. They can still be included in all of your other warm-ups, as long as they get their critical 15 minute warmup before entering the game.
The pitcher’s warm-up requires them to partner up with their catcher. They should take this time to work on their signals, getting the pitcher ready for any of his pitches. Make sure they include all of the pitcher’s available pitches. If he throws a curveball, make sure he practices it. If he throws a slider, have him throw a few sliders.
There’s no doubt that warming up before a game is very important. Not only does it get your team ready physically, but it also prepares their mental state before the start of the game.
Without a warm up, your team will look dull and flat when they take the field, and your team will experience more frequent injuries. Never, EVER skip your warmup. Check out our page for more tips!