Playing Catch: Warm-up or Fundamental of the Game?

Who doesn’t have fond memories of playing catch with parents, friends, and teammates? It is a great way to spend time on a summer day. In saying that, you can tell a lot by watching a player warm up and how he/she is moving as they play catch. Let me start by saying playing catch is a fundamental part of the game. How you play catch can set the table in reinforcing good habits for players as they progress playing the game of baseball. As a baseball coach and trainer,  every aspect of your practice design should develop and reinforce proper movement about game fundamentals. This will improve performance and reduce frustration for both players and coaches.

Why it’s Imporant

Improving accuracy, velocity, footwork, and preventing injury can all be implemented in practice and in playing catch. Allowing every player to warm up and/or play catch any way they want will create inconsistencies in movement within your team. Throwing a ball is all about transferring energy from your body into the ball. It starts in your feet, then legs and hips, trunk, shoulders, arm, and finally the ball. How your player moves and the sequences of these events can predict success or failure.

A sound athletic position is the starting point. This consists of feet shoulder-width apart, knees bent, a pivot point at hips, and tall posture. It is important to reinforce leading with glove side hip/gluteal by stepping behind or front foot crossover. Then striding out to 90% of body height, and timing around 1 sec front foot up to contact.  Maintain hip-shoulder separation and stay closed on the front side until front-foot contact will allow a player to throw with more velocity. The glove should be inside the front knee near the chest at ball release with the ball being 8-12 inches in front of a lead foot.

Remember to aim small and miss small when targeting and always give your partner a good glove target. You may be surprised how these simple tips may improve accuracy, health, and velocity when throwing a baseball.

If you are interested in working with a Freedom Throwing Specialist, schedule your appointment today.

Physical Therapist at Freedom Physical Therapy Services
Physical therapist Mike Ruppel is a certified pitching instructor through the National Pitching Association and the Rod Dedeaux Research Baseball Institute out of USC. He also has a background in martial arts and enjoys treating and training athletes.