Bullpen and Throwing Progressions For Pitchers
In this video, Scott Haase discusses progressions in bullpens, while warming up, and throughout an entire off-season and season.
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Full Transcript (will update):
Bullpen and Throwing Progressions For Pitchers
Here's something that a lot of different coaches out there need to get better at. And this isn't just coaches, but a lot of times, they're the ones that are in charge of the athlete and practice. But hopefully the parents and players are watching this as well, it's progressions, now we're gonna, we're gonna talk about progressions, kind of as a whole, but we're talking about it when you warm up, when you try to get ready for the season. And then also progressions for maybe a bullpen or something like that.
When it comes to warming up, I'm sure you've seen a lot of long toss programs on there, I've had videos on this, where there's long toss programs, and there's a progression built into it a progression assumes that there's progress, you're going to start somewhere and get somewhere else, you're not going to just end up at the end, you don't do that. So when it comes to throwing, there are guys that do get hot, I call it Little Caesars get hot and ready. So when they're Little Caesars, they do get Little Caesars a little bit faster than others, there's others that take a long time. But the idea is start out lighter, and progressively, eventually get to where you throw harder and farther, harder and farther until you're warmed up and ready. Because what can tend to happen is I'm sure you've seen someone, some long of a guy or words, but some guy that just goes and throws as hard as they can, and a minor league baseball game with a ball and they haven't thrown in three years, and they just do this afterward. You don't want to be that guy. And although you've trained to be able to throw more, and you're in good shape with your arm, a lot of times you're gonna have a guy that does that over and over and over. And it's you might hear the term wasting bullets or using up all your bullets, that tends to happen, they're gonna try and throw the very first throw as hard as they can, their body's not warmed up, they haven't gone through a wake up warm up, that's something that we do, and a lot of people do, or any type of stretch routine or just getting your heart rate elevated. They go through as hard as they can and the very first throw. And then they wonder why they can't go more than an inning or three innings and they're just out of gas, they probably haven't trained for it, they probably haven't prepared their body for it, and progressed to be able to do that.
When it comes to just playing catch, getting ready to go in a game, whether it's pitching or in the field, you got to be able to progress to it. Start out nice and easy. And then progressively throw harder and harder. As time goes on. As space goes on, you get further and further. And as you throw more and more and more, because you don't want to waste your bullets and be out of bullets. By the time it comes at you need to be able to perform and execute. So take care of that progression. When it comes to getting ready for the season. There needs to be a progression and oftentimes there's not. Here's the two types of progressions that I see way too often. Number one first game of the season. Alright Johnny, go in, try to give me three or four innings. It's what I need from you. Johnny goes out there pitches terrible guess what Johnny hasn't thrown all season or offseason he hasn't thrown his last season. Coaches Okay, Johnny isn't good. After three batters, let's put someone else in, let's put someone else in. The guy hasn't thrown at all or they thrown at for the practices for like an inning like that. So number one option that I see way too often, especially at the youth level, but it's not again, just the youth level, it's a lot of different levels. Guys, don't throw it all on the offseason, or preseason, and then come into a game and they really haven't done much at all or the other option is similar to they thrown at the four practices leading up to the first game. And that's it, you can't expect the guy to perform at a high level. He hasn't got the reps in, he doesn't feel in his arms not conditioned and ready to be able to throw that hopefully their warm up routine has a progression. But you got to be able to throw in a progression in our travel organization with any guy that I've worked with. And the best that do this, they have a progression that starts in the offseason. Or you think about guys in spring training. They don't come in throwing 567 innings, even the guys that spring training who have all thrown in the offseason come in and they throw an inning or two or three and then by the fourth week, or the sixth week of spring training. Now they're thrown closer to a simulated complete game. And then even when they get into the season, a lot of times they're not throwing all nine innings. So why would you expect a youth athlete of any age? Again, that's young guys, middle school, high school college, why would you expect them to be able to do something in that
those older guys who are bigger, stronger, faster and in better health to be able to do the same thing just doesn't really make much make much sense. So 100 Guys, they'll do four weeks, you may have heard of what's called an arm ramping period, or just a period of progression, where the first four weeks some people had eight weeks some people had a 12 weeks where they're not even throwing on the mound. They're just doing long toss or catch play at Progressive levels to get to the point where then they can earn the right to be able to get on the mound after for eight or 12 weeks. And then once that's periods done, they're ready to get on the mound and throw an inning 15 pitches 12 pitches Maybe 20 pitches. And that's week one.
Now, you're talking about weeks, weeks, weeks to the point where you pitch one inning. And in addition to that one inning that whole week, you're also doing the stuff you've been doing. So you're maintaining that progression you've done. So if you've worked up to throwing five days a week, long toss for half hour, or whatever it is, or 15 minutes or 10 minutes, or five minutes, but really long. You're doing that every single day. And now you're implementing that one inning, some people will then do a second outing during that week for one inning. But then there's days off, there's a week off, there's three days off, there's five days off, you go from week one, where there's maybe an inning week to where there's a longer running. So maybe now it's 15, to 20 pitches. Then week three, you go to innings 15 and 15, week, 420 and 15 520 and 26, you've now gotten to three innings after six weeks. So there needs to be a progression. Most people don't do this. But this is a really good idea of what you can do as far as a progression leading up to a season where you give yourself a month of just playing catch most days, then doing hitting the new along earning the new two innings to longer innings, three innings. So you're talking 234 months in advance that a lot of guys are doing at the best levels to be able to really prepare their body to be able to throw in a game and execute and feel comfortable and not get injured and last that long, and maintain their velocity. So there's a lot that goes into it.
Now progression going into a game. If you're going into a game, and you want to have a pre game routine, a bullpen routine, there's a bunch of different ones out there. There's some guys that say three, three, down the middle, three to the outside, three, the other two, inside, three, up three down, and then you've got what's the math on that three times five, so 15 pitches, that might be one, some might be due due to simulated innings. Some I do right down the middle for just an at bat, and I'm trying to throw strikes, three strikes, you're out next batter, righty lefty, let's do all the pitches. There's a bunch of different variations. But the the idea is you do your warm up, typically like in the outfield or somewhere off of the field. It's before gaming, there's someone playing, do your warm up. So you're ready. You go into a game to go to the bullpen. And another variation is having a catcher closer I like doing that I saw in college, some guys doing that and I started enacting that it gave me more confidence that I could hit the target because the target was closer. So I was already throwing strikes gave me some positive momentum mentally in the field to help me keep the ball down too. So that's something you can do. And then he progressed back. And then I would have a progression of mixing in my pitches. Again, because in a bullpen need to get the feel down. If the mound is similar, get the feel the mound if it's not just gonna do it out there. But even before anything, you need to get the field amount. But you need to get the field down of your pitches of fastball of locations, how your arm feels, how your body feels, how your curveball feels, to a lefty, got to get the field down, got to try and hit some spots, have a catcher conversation if he's in there catching with you, and just feel out what am I going to do today? What am I what if I already know my game plan for the day, which is just execute throw strikes. So I'm gonna try and do in here. If I know it's a really good team at like a bunch of lefties. I need to start saying how I'm going to execute against lefties. If I know I'm in for a short inning, I need to have a really high mentality, go get strikes and go get dudes out. That needs to be my mentality. There's not unfortunately a one size fits all bullpen routine. The easiest one would just be to try and hit all the spots in a strike zone. Unless you throw 30 pitches and you don't but try to and then just make sure you're throwing all your pitches. But what I'll also often see is if you have off-speed pitches, guys will throw three fastball is middle three out three in three up three low pitch out to curveballs to change ups and knuckleball. I don't know what the math is on that. But the percentage is very low for your off speed pitch.
You throw a fastball every single day of your life. A lot of guys only throw their off speed in the bullpen and in the game. And that happens once or twice a week three times if you're lucky, if you're a reliever maybe four times if you're a reliever and you're only going there once time, but it can be once a week that you're hitting your speed that makes no sense, whatsoever progression that makes sense.
So have your fastball and your locations and all that. But make sure you're feeling out your curveball or your slider or your changeup or whatever it is with more than two pitches, please. Because you got to know what's gonna happen with those pitches. I remember being it the first time ever pitched in a minor league Park. It was in college, and I was so pumped and my bullpen routine was okay. I went in the game my first couple pitches when the um gives you like, you know, 468 pitches, whatever it is my first couple curveballs which is my go to which I threw a ton in practice and warmups, I just I just threw a lot. But my first three pitches in warm ups have a curveball. It was spinning like a cement mixer. And at the time, I didn't realize that that's just a really bad slider, or it's a certain type of slider. I didn't I didn't know a slider was. And so I was throwing a curveball, which is pretty loopy usually had a lot of movement. I can throw anytime anywhere, and I just didn't have it. And that will happen too. But that happened one time in my career, because I threw the heck out of my off-speed pitches and practices in bullpens, and then in game so that it was comfortable and I knew how to adjust typically aside from that one time, that stuff's gonna happen. So make sure you've got a progression with what you're doing, whether it's just getting warmed up, whether it's getting ready for the season, or getting into a game
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