Running Saves Your Pitching

Over the past 5-10 years, in baseball, there have been many debates regarding the best way to recover after a pitching outing both in and out of the season. The argument is typically between performing long-distance running from the left field foul pole to the right field foul pole repetitively or performing 90-foot sprints for a specific amount of time. The trend is leaning towards the 90-foot sprints, which are a more explosive movement – much like the pitching motion itself. In my opinion, it is crucial to incorporate BOTH long and short-distance running into any baseball player who makes a large number of throws during the duration of a practice or a game. Running saves your pitching and here’s why.

Here’s the Why

The pitching motion is a combination of a quick explosion and rest. This happens over and over for upwards of 100 pitches in a game. A pitcher needs to be able to maintain this explosiveness to be able to maintain longevity and stay healthy during the season. For players in the middle of their season, it is important to maintain explosiveness and some cardiovascular endurance to be able to stay in shape for the duration of a season. I like to prescribe running 1.5 90-foot sprints for every ten pitches they throw in a game. For example, for a pitcher who finishes an outing at 80 pitches, this means the player would run 12 90-foot sprints.

The best way to do this is to sprint 90 feet and then walk back to the starting position. This allows for adequate recovery time in between sprints. It also allows for maximal explosiveness to keep the player’s body moving.

Outside of Season Running

During the off-season, I also think it is important to maintain cardiovascular endurance in the legs and rest of the body to be able to pitch on a routine basis over the spring, summer, or fall season. This is where I believe long-distance running is important. Running 400m or 800m intervals 2-3 times per week can help to establish a good foundation for the sprinting explosiveness type work.

It is important to be mindful, especially in the game of baseball, there is no one set-in-stone way to perform any movement or motion. There has to be a combination of all possible training ways to be incorporated into a player’s routine to maximize their potential. In-season sprints are important to maintain explosiveness and to stay in optimal performance shape. During the off-season, it is important to incorporate longer runs to establish a good foundation for the in-season sprints.

Not sure what your athlete needs to stay ready for the season? Freedom Physical Therapy Services has Throwing Specialists that can help! Schedule your appointment today.

Joe has a passion for treating the overhead athlete and ensuring safe movement patterns for these individuals. He spends his off time coaching and working with baseball athletes through STiKS Baseball Academy in Waukesha. He also coaches the varsity baseball team at Catholic Memorial High School in Waukesha.