Baseball bats, baseball games, baseball warmups. For seemingly as long as baseball has been played, there have been warm-up and practice routines for players and teams. While many of these warmups may seem mundane and worthless, a good warmup routine can reduce the risk of injuries. In addition to preparing their bodies for play, they can also assist in reducing mental stress. Let’s take a look at what some of the best ways to warm up prior to a practice or a game are.
Often times a light jog will be the first drill performed by a team. It’s a great way to get the muscles warmed up. A single lap around the field or jogging back and forth in a straight line across the outfield is sufficient.
It’s important to stretch before any physical workout. The goal is to stretch as many muscles as you can, generally starting with the lower body with the ankles, calf muscles, shin, thighs. Then move up to the core and arm and neck stretches. The total time for stretching should be around 10 minutes. For best results, hold stretches for at least 10 seconds, and the longer the better.
Agility Warm Up
The use of an agility ladder, which is commonplace in football, is a great way to get the heart pumping and adrenaline flowing. For those that don’t have the ladder, simply use some cones. Arrange four cones in a straight line about 10 feet apart. Spring from the first cone to the second cone and back. Then proceed from the first cone to the third cone and back. Finally, spring from the first cone to the fourth cone. Make sure the sprint is light to avoid possible muscle pulls.
With the team gathering into groups of three of four, spread into a triangular or square pattern, have each player throw balls to each other. The throws can be any type, regular, grounders, or pop-ups. Players should increase the distance between them by about 10 or 15 feet every few minutes. Throw the ball as if you were throwing to a base, making sure the ball is caught every time.
Ground Ball Fielding Practice
A large number of balls hit during games are ground balls, so it makes sense to have a warmup session fielding nothing but grounders. The coach hitting the grounders should make sure every player gets a chance to field some, even those playing the outfield on shots hit past the infield. Players should simulate game conditions and throw to the correct base. The pregame ground ball practice should be on the light side, just enough to get players warmed up and ready for action.
Outfield Fielding Practice
Don’t just hit fly balls to the outfielders, but make them move to chase balls in the gaps and grounders. Simulate situations so the fielders must return throws to the infielders to the proper base or cutoff man. Coaches should hit fly balls in between outfielders, forcing them to communicate to call for the ball. You can even mix in some infield popups to keep them on their toes.
Prior to a game, pitchers need to take time to work through every pitch and location that they will wish to work. The use or resistance bands are perfect for pitchers to use to warm up prior to a start. This should be done prior to any pitches to the catcher. Proper warmup can prevent a multitude of injuries, including a torn rotator cuff.
Hitters should have the approach of making solid contact, trying to hit the ball to all fields, or fix some mechanical flaws. It is not the time to swing as hard as you can to see how many balls you can launch into the seats.
In addition to knowing the best ways to warm up, it is essential to have the best gear to warm up (and play) with. Check out our bat selection and set yourself up for success today!