How to Properly Warm up a Pitcher Before a Game

pitching drills May 07, 2021

Hi Coaches! 

Now that the season has started, we’ve gotten a lot of questions about what pitchers should do in pregame.

Not just the dynamic warm-up, stretching and pre-game routine, but what to do when they get on the mound in the bullpen. How many pitches should they throw?  Should they work on their off-speed pitches?  Changeups, curveballs, etc.

What we like to do with our players is after they finish their throwing program, they throw a light flat ground (this is where they stand out in front of the mound & they throw a couple pitches just to locate down in the strike-zone.)  This is a good opportunity to get a feel for their pitches prior to getting on the mound.

Once they get on the mound our job is to prepare them for the first pitch.  We want to work on our four-seam, we want to work on our two-seam, our changeup. If you have players that are 13U or older they might throw a curveball we want to make sure we mix in those pitches as well. We don't want to just send the players down the line on their own, let them throw 15 pitches as hard as they can, then they say they're ready to pitch. How many times have we put a player in the game and they can’t find the strike-zone?

We want to teach our players to treat the bullpen session like it’s the game.  Have them locate 4-5 fastballs, 4-5 two-seams, 4-5 changeups, maybe some curveballs.  Now they’re about 15-20 pitches in. Now you can simulate 2-3 batters.  You can have the backup catcher or maybe one of the hitters standing with a helmet, so your players get used to pitching with somebody standing in the batter’s box. If you're the coach, you can stand in there and pretend you're a hitter and you treat it like an at bat.  Have your pitcher on the mound, the catcher is giving him the signs, and they're trying to locate their pitches to practice and warm up to be ready to pitch by first pitch!  We don't want to send our pitchers out there not warmed up and focused on working ahead of the hitters.  Make sure you take that time in the bullpen to prep for the first batter, increase the focus and get your players to dominate on the mound!


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