8 Pregame Warmup Routines for a Youth Baseball Team

Boys running with baseball gloves
  Grady Reese/Corbis/VCG/Getty Images

One of the biggest mistakes coaches make is not taking pregame time seriously. This is your last chance to get your team prepared for a game, and establishing an effective warmup routine is critical. A proper warmup routine can help your players loosen up and even reduce injuries during a game.

Light Jogging

Typically the first drill a team performs, jogging, is a great way to get their muscles warmed up and ready for the day.

Find a good area to jog for about five minutes, such as around the edge of the fence or just in a straight line through the outfield. Jogging targets mainly the leg muscles and core area, but it also works your arms and upper body. This is why it’s a great way to start a warmup. Doing light jogging is a great habit to get into before a game, practice, or personal exercise routine.

Stretching

Stretching is another important way to loosen your muscles, and you should stretch before and after any physical activity. The goal is to stretch as many muscles in your body as possible. Start with your lower body: Stretch your ankles, calf muscles, shins, and thighs. Then, move on to your core and upper body. Arm stretches and neck stretches will be very effective. Dedicate about 10 to 15 minutes to this part of your warmup routine.

Agility Training

After your team has stretched, they are ready for more active drills.

Agility training is a good way to get your team’s hearts pumping. Set up four markers, using either cones or gloves, spacing them in a vertical line with around 10 feet between each marker. The more groups of markers you have, the better. If you can, arrange your team into groups of four for this drill.

Have your team line up in their groups with the first person standing at the first glove. The first person will then sprint from the first glove to the second glove, then back to the first, then to the third, to the first, to the fourth, and then back to the first. Have each player do this at least two times, but make sure they don’t expend too much energy. They still have a game to play, so keep it at a light sprint instead of an all-out run.

Throwing

This can be a very simple drill but feel free to add some spice. For the simple version, have your team get into groups of three or four, with each group having one ball. Have the groups spread out around the field in a triangle or square, depending on the size of the groups. Once set, just have your team throw the ball to each other. Have them mix in popups, ground balls, and normal throws.

Batting Practice

If you would like to make your warmup a bit more interesting, incorporate a light batting practice drill. If you have access to the entire field, grab some waffle balls. Have one person bat. Your pitcher can pitch the ball to the batter. Then position two people to shag the balls. The rest of your team can throw another ball among themselves while they wait their turn.

Ground Ball Training

During a game, your team is going to deal with a lot of ground balls: So get them ready. If you have waffle balls, then use those for this drill. Have your team spread out around the infield while you hit ground balls to them. Make sure each player gets a chance at a ground ball. Aim your hits properly, not hitting too hard and obviously keeping them on the ground. If you like, you can incorporate light line drives into the drill. Just refrain from hitting them too hard.

Outfield Training

If you’re going to get your team warmed up for ground balls, you might as well prepare them for popups and hits that enter the outfield. This drill is set up the same way as the ground ball training, except your team will spread out in the outfield. Hit a mix of popups, line drives, and ground balls.

Pitcher Warmup

Pitchers require their own warmup that should begin around 15 minutes prior to their entry into the game. They can still be included in all of your other warmups, as long as they get their critical 15-minute warmup before entering the game.

Have pitchers partner with their catcher. They should take this time to work on their signals, getting the pitcher ready for any of his pitches. Make sure they include all of the pitcher’s available pitches. If he throws a curveball, make sure he practices it. If he throws a slider, have him throw a few sliders.