For most players baseball courses through their veins. It’s more than a game – baseball is a way of life. This statement rings true for all players, from the premier players of the big leagues, to the little leaguers down the street. Preparation is an integral part of the game, both before you arrive at the field and after, and we’ll cover the Top 10 ways to prepare for a baseball game.
The Top 10 ways to prepare for a game can be divided into three categories: What you can do before you get to the ballpark, mental preparation, and physical preparation.
Before You Arrive At The Field
1. If you don’t stay hydrated, the summer heat can zap your strength and slow you down.
2. The same rings true for your diet, if you eat meals that are too rich- it can bog you down. Make it a game-day routine to find your super food. Nobody wants to be thrown out or thrown up on a steal attempt.
As the great Yogi Berra once said, “The game is ninety percent mental, the other half is physical.”
3. The best way to prepare mentally is to study the scouting report on your opponents if one is available. That way you can figure out what type of pitcher you’ll be facing, if he’s a righty or lefty, and if he’s a junk ball or power pitcher. That would help you immensely in making a game plan at the plate.
A scouting report can also help you with your defensive game plan. Find out which of their players hit for power, contact, if they’re a pull hitter, or if they can go opposite field. A spray chart can help you with that information, but you’ll only see those at the college or professional levels. If you’re playing American Legion, Babe Ruth, Little League, or High School Baseball, you can generally get this information from friends that play on other teams that have faced your opponents before.
4. Another way to prepare mentally is to arrive at the park early. Put away everything else and focus on the upcoming game- it’s amazing what being in the right state of mind can do.
5. Before anything, you need to stretch, getting your muscles loosened up is necessary. With all the torque and strain you can put on your body while throwing, or in the batter’s box, you need to be ready.
6. Run. After stretching, you could do a few ninety-foot sprints, or do a foul pole jog, that would help get your blood flowing, and your adrenaline pumping.
7. Warm up the arm – play some catch. Many player, even premier players, recommend that you warm up with progression throws, starting with your wrist, then elbow, then full shoulder motion throws, then finally into the crow-hop and throw motion. Proper progression while warming up can reduce the risk of injury or strain.
8. Step up to the plate and get some batting practice in, get dialed in and work on your mechanics before the game. With batting practice it’s great to have a routine. With a routine you can work on situational hitting: practice hitting ground balls to advance runners or for hit and run situations, even scoring a runner from third with less than two outs. If you’re struggling at turning pitches inside-out, work on that, try to take some pitches to the opposite field.
9. Let’s not forget about fielding practice – you can do a lot to prepare for a game by just taking a few grounders to feel out your range to the right or left if you’re playing at an infield position. Make it a routine; range to the left a few times, then to the right, then work on charging and bare hand if you’re playing third base. You can do the same thing if you play outfield, practice reading pop flies and line drives.
10. Creating a routine that can cover all of these ways to prepare for games is imperative. If you can create the right routine and adhere to it, your body will recognize the pattern and be prepared for what’s next. Having a good routine the most important way to prepare for the game of baseball, it can propel you into the premier league in the world – Major League Baseball.
Story by Michael Milliken