Pre-Game Warm Up

 In Education, Instruction, Stories

By Eric Tyler


You’re team is an hour early for their first game for a summer-ball tournament. You’ve never been to this field complex before. You’re looking around to see what’s available for warming up. Do you have a cage? Can you do on-field BP? Do you just have a little patch of grass next to a playground? How are you going to get your team ready to hit?

Below we provide a detailed plan for the following scenarios:

  • Batting Cages
  • No Cages
  • On-Field BP

We show you how to effectively and efficiently get your team/players ready to hit, the Baseball Rebellion Way! 

Cages Available

The most common environment to get your hitters ready is one in which one, maybe two cages are available to hit in. This will likely include some small space around the cage for movement work. In this plan, you will need one cage as well as a small net for tee work. This allows you to keep your warmup simple and also keep each hitter busy instead of everyone waiting for one or two cages of BP. Especially at the youth level, you want everyone to be engaged in the warm up!

Overview of Circuit

Rack Timing (Done here with a Rebel’s Rack)

For a BONUS video on Timing, CLICK HERE!

The Rebel’s Rack Timing Drill can be done either next to the cage where the BP is taking place or in a separate cage with balls being thrown at the hitter. As the name suggests, the Rack Timing Drill allows the hitter to work on their timing without the fear of failure. It is a great way to keep youth hitters engaged and teach them on-deck preparation that they can carry over to the game.

Hesitation Drill Off a Tee (Done here with the Bat Drag Buster & Launch Angle Tee)

The Hesitation Drill off a Tee is a great drill to help your hitters focus on their technique and the turn of their swing. DO NOT rush through this drill with your hitters, it’s quality over quantity!

Med Ball Throws

Med Ball Throws are fun for youth hitters and are a great exercise to help get their body loose. Go light on the med ball weight, 6-8 pounds, so the hitters are able to turn fast. Have them hold the med ball in their normal batting stance. They should be using the same tempo and movement as their normal stride. Make sure the hitter complete their turns and holds their finish, again quality over quantity!

No Cages Available

Unfortunately, cages aren’t always available. No worries! With the Rebel’s Rack and Rack Bat (or a dowel rod), some resistance bands, and a medicine ball, you can get your hitters ready in no time. The Rack Bat allows them to turn their bodies and get the feeling of hitting without the need of a cage*. The resistance bands are simple to use and only need a fence or net to be hooked to. While having a cage to hit in is nice, this plan proves it’s not necessary.

*We see a lot of coaches warming up their teams with weighted plyo balls. While we understand it is a space issue, hitting weighted plyo balls can cause a number of issues with youth hitters. The main issue you will see warming up with plyo balls is that the hitters naturally slow down their swing a contact because they are not strong enough to hit the weighted ball. This is creating a bad habit for the hitters! If you don’t have a Rack Bat, at least consider switching to soft foam balls or plyo balls that weigh the same as a regulation baseball.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overview

Rack Bat Hitting

The great thing about the Rack Bat, as opposed to a dowel rod or PVC pipe, is it allows the hitter to completely mimic the correct body position they should be in during the swing and at contact, without hitting an actual ball! As mentioned above, because space is limited, try to use a foam ball for this drill.

Resisted Turns (Done here with the Rebel’s Rack & Bands)

Resisted Turns are a great way to get the hitters body loose and get them ready to swing hard! A huge problem with youth hitters is balance. The resisted turns force the hitter to maintain balance throughout their turn. The bands can be attached to any fence or secure netting.

Rack Turns (Done here with the Rebel’s Rack)


The Rebel’s Rack Turns are a great way for players to get their body ready to move fast within their swing. Doing dry turns helps the hitter take their hands out of their swing and learn to turn!

Med Ball Throws

Med Ball Throws are fun for youth hitters and are a great exercise to help get their body loose. Go light on the med ball weight, 6-8 pounds, so the hitters are able to turn fast. Have them hold the med ball in their normal batting stance. They should be using the same tempo and movement as their normal stride. Make sure the hitter complete their turns and holds their finish, again quality over quantity!

On-Field BP

In the perfect scenario not only would cages be available but also a field to take on-field BP. This plan allows for both rounds on the field for the hitter to see the ball travel, but also cage detailed cage/movement work to prepare them for anything they may face that day.

It also allows for Rebel’s Rack timing drills as a station to prepare hitters to time their turn. This will be done either in the cages or preferably beside the BP turtle while timing the BP pitcher.

Overview

Rack Bat Hitting

The great thing about the Rack Bat, as opposed to a dowel rod or PVC pipe, is it allows the hitter to completely mimic the correct body position they should be in during the swing and at contact, without hitting an actual ball! As mentioned above, because space is limited, try to use a foam ball for this drill.

Resisted Turns (Done here with the Rebel’s Rack & Bands)

Resisted Turns are a great way to get the hitters body loose and get them ready to swing hard! A huge problem with youth hitters is balance. The resisted turns force the hitter to maintain balance throughout their turn. The bands can be attached to any fence or secure netting.

Rack Turns (Done here with the Rebel’s Rack)

The Rebel’s Rack Turns are a great way for players to get their body ready to move fast within their swing. Doing dry turns helps the hitter take their hands out of their swing and learn to turn!

Med Ball Throws

Med Ball Throws are fun for youth hitters and are a great exercise to help get their body loose. Go light on the med ball weight, 6-8 pounds, so the hitters are able to turn fast. Have them hold the med ball in their normal batting stance. They should be using the same tempo and movement as their normal stride. Make sure the hitter complete their turns and holds their finish, again quality over quantity!

 

On-Field BP

In the perfect scenario not only would cages be available but also a field to take on-field BP. This plan allows for both rounds on the field for the hitter to see the ball travel, but also cage detailed cage/movement work to prepare them for anything they may face that day.

It also allows for Rebel’s Rack timing drills as a station to prepare hitters to time their turn. This will be done either in the cages or preferably beside the BP turtle while timing the BP pitcher.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overview

Throwing Batting Practice (Effectively!)

This has been referenced in our article Top 5 Ways Players Get Worse from Team Practice: We can not stress enough how important it is for the coach to throw quality BP. Throw at a consistent speed and throw strikes. Youth hitters have a tendency to swing at anything and everything in BP, so if you throw bad pitches and they swing, they are creating bad habits. Throw strikes, let the hitter get set in between throws, and be consistent round to round.

Rack Timing – Off-Speed & Fastball (Done here with a Rebel’s Rack)

For a BONUS video on Timing, CLICK HERE!

The Rebel’s Rack Timing Drill can be done either next to the cage where the BP is taking place or in a separate cage with balls being thrown at the hitter. As the name suggests, the Rack Timing Drill allows the hitter to work on their timing without the fear of failure. It is a great way to keep youth hitters engaged and teach them on-deck preparation that they can carry over to the game. In the second round, mix in some off-speed pitches!

Accelerated Turns (Done here with the Rebel’s Rack & Bands)

Like the Resisted Turns, the Accelerated Turns are great to get the hitter’s body loose. Accelerated Turns help the hitter over-exaggerated the speed at which they are turning in the swing while maintaining balance.  

Front Toss (or Side Toss if you must!)

We encourage you to do front toss in addition to throwing BP. If there is a cage by the field, make use of it! If there isn’t a cage, and you must do side toss, make sure you are delivering the hitter QUALITY tosses!

Final Takeaways

  1. Assess your team’s warmup access as soon as you get to the field. Have a plan!
  2. Keep all your players engaged in the warmup.
  3. Stress QUALITY over QUANTITY with you hitters and coaches.

Questions about the Article?

Reach out to Eric:  eric@baseballrebellion.com 

Follow Eric on Twitter: @_erictyler

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