Bullpen, Be Conscientious

The bullpen is where you, the pitcher, get your serious game preparation work done. Pitching a baseball effectively begins and ends in your bullpen sessions. Take each session seriously and give yourself the advantage of pitching at your highest level each time you pitch.

       Here is where you work toward making the ball
              Do what you want it to do
                     When you want it to do it
                            How you want it to do it
                                   The way you want it to do it


We Teach The Major League Baseball Pitching Form
Our Pitchers Learn To:

                             Prevent Arm Injury
                                     Increase Velocity
                                            Throw Consistent Strikes
                                                   Change Speeds
                                                          Handle Mental Aspects



A Bullpen is not just for warming up. It is a real skill and is one of the best learning tools a coach has at his disposal. At Baseball Excellence we firmly believe the bullpen, pre-game or between starts should be approached as a routine and done the same way every time.

PRE-GAME GOALS . . . . .

What should the pitcher try to accomplish when he throws a pen? We don't want him to just toe the rubber and start firing away. We want him to have a purpose and he should understand his goals.

·   Establish command of all his pitches.
·   Gain the correct rotation on each of his pitches. Get the proper backspin on the fastball so that there is no "wobble" and the pitcher does not 'cut' the ball.
·   Get a good "down" rotation on the curve ball.
·   Gain the "feel" or "touch" of his pitches. This goes along with rotation. Feel how the ball comes out of the hand.
·   Pitches that are inside vs. outside have slightly different release points, so the pitcher wants to learn to consistently manipulate the ball.
·    Mentally check his mechanics; good balance, direction, cocked position, follow through.
·    Keep mentally focused on hitting the catcher's glove, a pitcher's number one obligation.
·    Gradually build to full velocity. Control first- then velocity.

TIPS . . . . .

Here are some tips to use when your pitchers throw their pens. More than tips, these are important objectives for the pitching coach to consider.

·    The (pitching) coach should attend every bullpen session and carefully monitor every pitch each pitcher throws.
·    He should also regulate the pitcher's effort. Overthrowing can result in a breakdown of mechanics and flat (no movement), hittable pitches.
·    We recommend that he position himself at two different places at various times during the session; directly even with the rubber from the "hands" side and directly behind him.
·    After 5 or 6 warm up throws, the pitcher should begin throwing at 75% effort. Never begin throwing at full effort.
·    Throw every pre-game pen the exact same way. It is important to establish a routine for your pitchers and catchers.
·    Eventually a well-planned routine will give your pitchers confidence and free them so they can get mentally focused on the task at hand.
·    The catchers count all pitches. This allows the pitcher to focus on preparing for his game.

Is a pre-game bullpen the time to make suggestions as to mechanics? Yes. You want your pitcher to go into the game with his best possible chance for success. If you have to make minor mechanics changes then do so. Faults that are common are 
·    Rushing
·    Low elbow
·    Too much early effort
·    Or simply an individual fault the pitcher has been trying to correct. This is part of an athlete's aptitude. Does he have the athletic intelligence to make changes and incorporate them on the fly? In other words, "Is he coachable?"

The most important aspect of throwing a bullpen is establishing pitch command, putting the baseball where the pitcher wants to put it.

Throw 1/2 of the bullpen from the stretch. (Advanced baseball) A pitcher's most important pitches are thrown from the stretch position. Pitching from the stretch means there are runners on base. There are more dangers; there is more to think about and more situations can occur. Pitching from the stretch should be automatic so he doesn't have to think about his mechanics.

A pitcher should take every bullpen seriously. His concentration level should be very high.

Allow enough time for the pre-game pen. Twenty minutes before game-time is customary. Learn to time it so the pitcher has time to get a drink of water and relax for a minute or so before he takes the mound.

THE PEN . . . . .

It is important to throw every pre-game pen the same way. Establishing this routine facilitates pitch command, allows mechanics work and builds confidence. This is the way we do it and this is the way we suggest.

·    The catcher stands behind the plate and the pitcher throws him 5-6 easy tosses from in front of the rubber.

·    The catcher takes his "No Runners On Base" stance behind the plate, one foot off the plate on the inside. (RH pitcher to a RH batter.) His glove and body should be centered one foot off the plate.

·    From the windup the pitcher throws 4 fastballs, two four-seam and two 2-seam. His focus is on getting good backspin rotation on his pitches and as always, hitting the glove.

·    The catcher moves one foot off the outside of the plate and the pitcher repeats the sequence.

·    The catcher then moves to, and centers his glove on the inside corner- 4 fastballs (2 and 4-seam) this time from the stretch.

·    Next, the outside corner from the stretch- 4 fastballs. (2 and 4-seam) On all pitches from the stretch, the catcher assumes his "runners on base" stance. (Bullpens are not just for pitchers. They are for catchers too.)

Remember we want the pitcher to hit the glove but there is a fail-safe measure. At no time should the pitcher throw outside the frame of the catcher's shoulders. That's another directive. He may miss the glove slightly but if he remains inside the shoulders, the pitcher still has a chance of getting a strike. Staying inside the catcher's body is the pitcher's margin for error.

Much of what we're attempting to accomplish is trying to establish pitch command. Everything centers on a pitcher's ability to make his pitch. The pitcher is learning to throw the ball where he wants to. (Over the course of a season, this regimen should greatly help your pitchers with their accuracy.) I believe that sequence of 16 straight fastballs to the four spots is a great way to develop fastball command.

You will notice that no fastballs are thrown on the middle of the plate. Throwing a fastball on the middle is a mistake, so why practice it?

But why those 8 fastballs one foot off each side of the plate? The pitcher is learning to hit the glove and not focus on, or rely on the plate as a target. Besides, there are times the pitcher may want to "tease" the hitter just outside the strike zone. Or he may want to pitch inside off the plate. Or he may have an umpire that will give him one side of the plate or the other. Wouldn't it be beneficial if the pitcher had command of those areas?

We call those 16 fastballs- "The Sweet Sixteen."

·    Next up is the breaking pitch. The catcher stands up and the pitcher steps a few feet in front of the rubber and simply spins the ball to his catcher. Nice and easy, getting good forward spin of the ball and making sure he keeps his elbow shoulder high. Four or five easy curveballs, getting forward spin, which causes the ball to drop.

·    Then the catcher sets up on the middle and his pitcher throws 6 curveballs, three from the stretch

·    The catcher sets up on the middle of the plate and the pitcher throws 6 change ups. He has gradually increased his effort so he is close to full speed. We throw the change up as the third pitch so the pitcher concentrates on throwing his changes with fastball arm speed. His session has progressed to full effort throwing.

As the coach, listen to the sound the pitcher's arm makes when he throws his fastball. (Close your eyes and listen.) The same degree of effort should occur when he throws his change up. If the sound is less or absent, then he has slowed his arm. It is vital the pitcher throw his change up with fastball arm speed. And we want the pitcher to throw this pitch for a strike. It is desirable that hitters offer at the change up, so we practice putting it where he is likely to swing at it- the middle of the plate.

We view the change up as a "contact pitch" not a swing and a miss pitch. It is desirable to have the hitter offer at your change up. Thus at the high school level and below, we throw it on the middle of the plate.

Up to this point, the pitcher has thrown 28 pitches and has gradually built up to full velocity.

·    The last twelve we want him to mix up his pitches; throw all three pitches, six from the windup and six from the stretch. The pitching coach wants to see the velocity difference between the fastball and the change up so the first four pitches of this sequence are; fastball, change, fastball, change.

·    Then throw two "best" 4-seam fastballs up and in.

·    That leaves six pitches and the catcher moves to various locations on the plate. The pitcher has the freedom to throw what he wants here.

Some coaches have a hitter stand in the last few pitches to provide realism. I have always felt if the pitcher is concentrating hard enough on the glove, the hitter shouldn't even come into his mental focus. Good pitching is a highly advanced form of playing catch. If the pitcher is able to hit his spots, the presence of the hitter is moot. The pitcher threw the pitch he wanted to; what the hitter did was irrelevant. He has no control over what the hitter does with his pitch. All he should concentrate on is making that pitch.

I don't believe the pitcher should even look at the hitter. He should use the catcher's glove as his only target.

Not only could it be a distraction but hitters stand in different areas of the box and a pitcher's perspective would be constantly changing if he used the hitter to orientate his pitches on the plate.

The above routine is a very effective method for throwing a pre-game bullpen. Forty pitches are not too many for adolescent pitchers because more than half of the session is at less than full effort.

Youth pitchers may elect to cut down on the number of fastballs at the end of the session for a total of 25-28 pitches. The curveball should be shunned at the pre-adolescent level.




During the pre-season and the regular season, the pitcher should throw a bullpen. He should throw it, 2-3 days before his next start. We recommend throwing this pen just like the pre-game one. However, the length of the season and fatigue factors may alter the degree of effort.

The pitcher may even elect to shorten the distance with his catcher and throw with just 50% effort; working on a particular pitch or something with his mechanics. This "short pen" can be from flat ground as well. (Youth league mounds are usually not high enough to make any appreciable difference.) Flat ground pitching takes less out of the pitcher. His stride is shorter and there is less energy expended. Pitchers can do light throwing on the other days. After long toss they can pair off and work on different aspects of their game. They can do various drills or one can assume the part of the catcher and throw a very light pen.

This information pasted and copied in its entirety 
from the outstanding baseball web site  

As a pitcher you are your own coach when you are on the mound. There might be 50,000 people in the stands, or no one, with one bench yelling encouragement while the other, discouragement, or not. 

Whatever the case, you are alone, you are by yourself, with a job that must be done. It is up to you to get it done.

You must know what adjustments to make if you suddenly find yourself in a situation where the ball is not doing what you want it to do the way you want it to do it. This is an extremely important part of your job, of pitching. You must learn your game and know it well. At the same time, you must maintain a calm inner being. You must be relaxed.
Learning the art of pitching takes lots of time, study, and infinite patience to be an effective pitcher. If there is a perfect way to do something, it can be learned. Learn the perfect way to pitch, and then practice diligently. Learning how to maintain a calm inner being, being completely relaxed, is easier than you think.

Scroll down for more information on both these pitching aspects.

"If you want to be the best, you must do what the best do."
                                                                                                                     ---Skip Murray

"That which you do not know, the doing will quickly teach you."
                                                                               ---Lao Tzu

Baseball players, as is the case with all athletes, perform at their highest level when they are relaxed. When the mind is clear the body is body to move freely and easily. When the body is moving freely, the athlete is able to perform at the highest level.
The question is, how does the athlete get to the point where he or she is constantly and consistently competing at that highest level? In other words, how does the athlete get to the point where his or her mind and body are completely clear and performing at peak level? Keep on reading, here is your answer.

One highly effective method is to use subliminal messaging software. This conditions your subconscious mind to work with your body at its optimum level. The technique is simple, you simply watch the proper subliminal message program as recommended, and your subconscious mind automatically learns to do the right things at the right time. It is as easy as that.

Winning Athlete Subliminal Message Software

So now, mind and body are working together, and that, my friends, 
is a winning combination.

Delivery - The Baseball Pitcher E-book by Skip Murray

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