How to loosen up your throwing arm before baseball practice and games

Whether you’re a pitcher preparing for an outing where you'll throw up to 75 or 80 pitches or an outfielder who might only see one or two fly balls head your way, it's critical to warm up your arm before taking the field. Injuries happen when your muscles aren’t ready to exert themselves.

The Importance of Using a Throwing Progression to Warm Up Your Arm

Warm-up throws should gradually work up to the same types of movement patterns that you’ll use when pitching or playing in the field. Warm-ups shouldn’t make you fatigued; don’t start by throwing fast pitches at a long distance. The following progression from Sean Holiday and the team at Triple Crown Training walks you through a three-step progression for warming up your arm before practices and games.

Ten Toes Warmup Throwing Drill

We're going to start with some basic fundamentals, focusing on getting our hand out front and spinning the baseball out front.

We call this our Ten Toes drill, where we get all ten toes face in our partner. Set your feet slightly wider than your shoulders. We're going to bend our knees so we feel nice and athletic in our lower half. Now from here, I'm going to keep my head centered to my partner, feel my hips and shoulders turn. As I get the baseball out, I now want to feel my hand get out front and spin the baseball out front.

You should do the Ten Toes Drill for approximately five minutes before moving on to the Rocker Drill.

Rocker Drill

The next part of our throwing progression is our Rocker Drill. In this part of our progression, we're going to feel ourselves start to create a little bit of weight transfer from back to front, making sure we're using our lower half: our hips and our core to deliver our upper half: our shoulder and our hand.

To begin this drill, we're going to start with the ball in our glove. As we rock our way back to our backside where you can get the ball out, use our lower half to deliver our upper half and spin the baseball out front.

You should do the Rocker Drill for approximately five minutes before moving on to the Shuffle and Throw Drill.

Shuffle and Throw Drill

The final part of our throwing progression is our Shuffle and Throw. In this portion of it, we're just creating more momentum through some foot speed in a shuffle, making sure to continue with our lower half, delivering our upper half, and also keeping our head on target, nice and balanced, so we can release out front. So as I shuffle, I want to make sure I'm not crossing in front. We're not crossing behind. We're keeping our heels in a straight line as well as our hips in a straight line to the target.

Solo Throwing Reps with a Dish Towel

A lot of the times players will come up to me and they always are asking: they need someone to throw with, they don't have anybody to play catch with, they can't get the reps in. One thing that we use a lot here down at Triple Crown is a simple dish towel. When we're using a dish towel, this is going to allow us to get our release point out front, feel ourselves, get our hand through it in the right place, and also get reps in when we don't need a partner. So we can go through our same throwing progression that we did with the ball. I can work my Ten Toes drill, feeling the whip of the towel out front, going into my Rocker Drill work and back to front. Feeling that separation between lower body and upper body as well as our shuffle and go where we can feel it ourselves, build a little bit more momentum, and body and arm speed.

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