Being a successful pitcher is largely about control. You need to have control over the ball, your mechanics, your emotions and your body language. While you can’t control every part of a game, developing a consistent pregame routine is definitely an area you can improve in order to gain some extra control.
You want to be operating at full mental strength going into that first pitch. There is a phenomenon that all athletes, pitchers in particular, should be aware of called Decision Fatigue. For a more detailed explanation, check out this New York Times article. Basically, the idea is that the more decisions you make throughout the day, the weaker your will power becomes and the worse you become at making decisions. (It’s why we tend to make bad decisions late at night, like eating junk food after a long day!)
So, what should you do to combat decision fatigue? Develop a consistent routine to cut down on the decisions you actually have to make!
As a pitcher (usually along with your catcher), you have to make hundreds of decisions every game. Are you going to throw a fastball or a changeup? Are you going to come inside to jam the hitter or get him to chase up high? In order to be as sharp as possible while making these decisions deep into the game, you need to limit the decisions you make before the game even starts. Am I going to take one lap or two around the field? Should I throw my pregame bullpen from the windup or the stretch? How many pitches should I throw? These are questions you will not have to ask by nailing down a pregame routine and sticking with it.
Try and create your own pregame bullpen based on your strengths and weaknesses and send it into Coach Mike for FREE feedback!
Check out below for some guidelines on key components of a pitcher’s pregame bullpen routine.