Playing catch is more than just warming your arm up. It is a time to work on the little things you know you need to get better at. To put things in perspective, if you make 100 throws while playing catch before practice, that’s 100 times you can be working on things such as your front side, location, grips, balance, etc. The time you spend playing catch is the most time you’ll have to work on something to make you better.
Have a goal in mind each day. What are you working on? Are you working on making sure your front side is staying closed on every throw? Are you trying to figure out a better change-up grip and throwing that at a 90 foot distance? Are you making sure your balance and direction are reaching perfection? These examples are just a few of the things you can work on as you strive to make yourself better each and every day.
Too many student athletes take playing catch for granted. I see it all the time with the pitchers I instruct. There is no plan, nothing being worked on, and often times throwing mechanics are different their actual pitching mechanics. My first question is, why would you practice throwing the ball during catch differently than how you would pitch while on the mound? That doesn’t make any sense to me. As stated earlier, when you play catch you have an opportunity to work on something to make yourself a better pitcher. If you’re not working on making yourself better in some degree while playing catch, understand that somewhere there is someone else who is.
If you think a 25-30 pitch bullpen is good enough to strengthen your pitching skills then you are entirely wrong. Think about it this way. If you have 3 pitches and throw a 30 pitch bullpen, theoretically that means you worked on each pitch 10 times. 10 times, that’s it! How do you think that is enough work to master each pitch? It’s not. Your bullpens should be focused on perfecting location and balance, not necessarily a time to work on pitches. You can throw plenty of flat ground to work on spin and grips, which is something I’ll write about soon.
I know this is a short reading but that’s the point. You shouldn’t have to read a long article on throwing with a purpose. The whole point is that you should be working on something every time you throw a baseball. Most people take that for granted. I can assure you that if you take every throw seriously and are working on making yourself better, it will do nothing but benefit you in the long run. If you don’t have a reason behind what you’re doing, then why are you doing it in the first place? Play catch with a purpose.