Warming up to pitch

Yesterday I was reading an online article at Girls Softball about alternatives to private instruction, when pitching warm-ups were mentioned. (This post has been modified to include the link to the article).

In any case, the poster was answering a question about what it takes to be successful in softball. For the most part I agreed with what he said, until he got to one example. In it he mentioned a pitcher whose warm-up routine before a game consisted of 100 fastballs followed by 50 each of her other pitches. He praised the dedication and work ethic of that routine.

I can’t say I agree with that. I’m big on dedication and practice and all, but I also believe that a pitching warm-up should not be a long, involved affair. The reality of softball is a pitcher often must be ready to pitch on short notice. If it takes her 500 pitches to get warmed up, the game may be all but over by the time she’s ready to go. Tournaments often don’t leave a lot of time between games either. Having the ability to get ready quickly is important so you’re ready when the umpire says “let’s go.”

The situation is even more critical in high school ball. Consider the team that has to travel. The game is scheduled to start roughly an hour and a half after school ends. That means everyone has to get dressed, pile on the bus, and ride to the game. If there’s an accident, the driver gets lost, the game is far away, or traffic is heavy, the team may only have 20 minutes to warm up total, including a quick jog and stretch, before the Blue says “play ball.” It’s just the reality of the situation.

You definitely want to take enough time to be sure you’re safe. But if you don’t have your basic mechanics there in, say, 50 pitches, 50 more probably won’t help.

The key is to know yourself, know your body, and know what it really takes to get ready. There’s a difference between quantity and quality. That aside, the post is definitely a good read, and worth checking out.

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