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Keeping It Simple on Break: 2 FREE Plans of Action

As we head into this year's Christmas Break, I wanted to remind you as the parents but also the pitchers/athletes to keep it simple over break. In these two workouts I illustrate how to focus on all 5 aspects of health, Physical, Mental, Emotional, Spiritual and Nutritional.

If you do not have a plan to stay in shape over break, you feel like you don't know what you are going to do here are a couple of good ones for you from my 24 years of being a pitching coach and former colligate pitcher.

What exactly does "keep it simple" even mean?

Well, it is pun intended but it truly is. For many families this is a time of year where family gatherings take place as well as trips. With that Don't be so hung up on throwing every day.

In this first plan I'm giving you it is a little bit more powerful to the point, offering a rest and recovery day, short twitch muscle fiber training days and only 2 throwing days. Equaling 220 pitches for a 5-day week.

For both workouts you need is your softball journal, something to write with, water, your glove, a ball, a catcher if you can or a target to throw into like a nine square or bow-net, or you could be like me and throw into one of your old barn doors with a spray painted 4 corners on it. REMEMBER to always stretch and warm up!

Monday: Throw a bullpen of 80 pitches. This is a moment for you to practice your mental madness and ability to "stay in the tunnel" the "ONE PITCH AT A TIME" mentality, not just waiting for it to show up the next time you play in a game. You have to practice this mental toughness.

After you have done "your warmup" (stretching included) throw 15 pitches with focus on the purpose of getting lose, of getting warm. Challenge yourself to throw at a 60% effort. Once you throw 15, throw 5 all out at 100% effort. Stop and allow yourself to reflect on how each of those 5 pitches felt and if you hit your spots. Be honest with yourself.

At this point that is 20 pitches. Now let's focus on the ability to stay sharp with throwing Fastball and changeup, alternating each pitch. After that set of 20 stop and write down how it went. Ask yourself questions like if you were able to throw consistent Fastballs and also able to slow it down while looking like you were throwing a change-up. Remember you can always video yourself and critique yourself this way even more.

Now you are up to 40 reps and I'm sure you are feeling even more of your pitches at this point.

This time I want you to throw 28 pitches. What pitches you might ask? Your top 3 "go to pitches."

In your journal you are going to keep track of your success of hitting your spots and or change of speed. If you didn't hit it, why didn't you hit it and what did you do to make your small adjustment in order to hit it. Create boundaries and healthy self-talk in these moments.

Finish your journal with your notes from those 28 pitches and now you are in the mental status of "get out of the inning," mentality. You are left with 12 pitches allotted to throw out of your 80-pitch workout. This is where you put it all together.

Complete your workout with the rest of your journaling with prompts like, how did you finish, what did you do to correct when you missed your pitch? Were you able to "get out of the inning" in 12 pitches? If so, what was your key to success? If not, where was your mechanical breakdown? How did your body feel during this session? On a scale from 1-5 with 5 being the best your feel, how does your arm feel?

Tuesday: REST. RECOVER. LEAN IN TO YOUR HOLIDAY, bake something festive!

Wednesday: Let's play overhand catch, staying loose. Then let's train those short twitch muscles with sprints. 60 ft Sprints x 10. You can cut this down to 5 if you are capable of doing resistance sprints. Please avoid any over the head extra movements, like burpees, bench press, etc... in order to protect your shoulders especially because a lot of you will be heading into training for the up-and-coming season. The main focus of throwing over break is to STAY HEALTHY!

Thursday or Friday: Apply the same bullpen structure as Monday with 80 pitches but instead of working the Fastball and Changeup work the Rise and the Drop. A good drill to use is the string drill. Two objects, like cones across from each other down at the plate on each side of the box. For a drop ball work the lower string and the rise ball work the higher string. Feel free to add another sprint and or speed training day into your break if you feel the need too.

If you wish to throw another day keep your pitch count down to 60 and only work 1-2-3-4 spots, in and out, up and in or up and out. During this time apply the same journaling methods/prompts.

If you throw 3 days out of a 5-day week you are looking at 80+80+60=220 pitches for the week.