Dynamic warm up for baseball
With all of the time and effort athletes put into their baseball or softball career, it is vital to ensure one performs at the highest level possible. Parents want their child to be successful and stay healthy while playing the game they love. The overall goal for coaches is to help athletes become as successful as possible. Without setting them up for injury.
One of the best ways to improve performance and avoid injury is including a warm up and cool down at practices and games. Sure, it can be difficult to find the motivation during a three-day tournaments to warm up before a game. It can also be challenging to spend an extra few minutes performing cool down stretches at the end of a long hot day before jumping in the car to head home. These extra steps can help optimize performance and reduce sports injuries to hands, shoulders, elbows and legs – resulting in more time on the field and less time on the bench due to injury.
A dynamic warm up is vital when preparing for baseball or softball practice or games. Athletes must warm up the whole body. And give special attention to their arms and shoulders to prepare for the demands of overhead throwing activities. A dynamic warm up uses active motion and momentum with sport-specific movements. The goal is to raise the body’s temperature, heart rate and respiration rate. This helps increase blood flow to muscles and gives them the oxygen and nutrients they need. Muscles become more flexible and ready to perform high intensity movements that are required during play.
Dynamic warm ups also involve the use of balance and coordination. This challenges the neuromuscular system, which is responsible for the brain communicating with muscles to perform specific tasks. Studies show that high load dynamic warm ups help with lower body explosiveness in baseball players. And can aid in upper body performance.
Start with the following types of exercises:
- Walking knee-to-chest
- Body weight squats
- girl warming up to pitch a softballWalking lunges
- Walking toe-touches
Advance into quicker movements such as:
- High knees
- Butt kicks
- Lateral shuffle
- Short sprints
Finally, spend time focusing on upper body movements:
- Arm circles
- Cross-body arm swings (alternating palms up and palms down)
- Wall angels against a fence or wall
- Bent-over shoulder Y, T, and W raises. Try to incorporate wrist stretches, such as the prayer stretch. Move your arms/hands up and down, keeping your wrists together.
After you complete your dynamic warm up, it is time to transition into throwing. This helps warm the arm and shoulder. One common mistake some baseball and softball players make is “throwing to warm up” and not warming up to throw.
These movements and exercises should start at a low intensity and ramp up slowly. Ending with 90-95 percent of maximum effort throwing. It can be helpful to start with wrist-flicks with elbows high. Then move into throwing with emphasis on technique, with a partner at close range. Focus on connecting the lower body and upper body while throwing lightly. Then increasing distance between partners followed by increasing in the intensity of the throws.
- Sleeper stretch
- Cross-body arm stretch
Keep in mind, stretching should not be painful.
If you are a coach in the Twin Cities area and would like some guidance, tips or evaluation of your current warm up routine, call TRIA at 952-993-9451 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a meeting.
For more information visit TRIA’s Return to Throwing Program website.