How to Improve Your Pitching Stamina
Stamina. It’s a word that is always on the mind of dedicated baseball pitchers. Merriam-Webster dictionary defines stamina as “the bodily or mental capacity to sustain a prolonged stressful effort or activity.” Do you want to play deep into the game for your team? Do you want your hundredth pitch to be as strong as your first? It all comes down to stamina. Your focus, your velocity, your accuracy, and your power are connected to your stamina.
Well then, how do you improve your stamina when it comes to pitching? Like almost everything in baseball, it doesn’t happen overnight. Endurance is something you constantly have to work on, just like you work on your fastball. You can’t just decide one day out of the blue that you’re going to increase your stamina. You need to make a plan.
Signing up for a baseball conditioning program is a great way to help you make that plan. A conditioning program should be custom to you, designed for the individual. There’s no universal plan to improve a pitcher’s stamina. That is because your staying power depends on many different factors specific to you.
The 4 Components of Stamina
You may assume that the only factor that affects your prolonged strength in a game is your training. While your exercise regimen is a contributing factor, it’s not the only one that matters.
The four main components that impact an athlete’s endurance:
- Sleep schedule
Increasing your stamina means prepping your body for the physical toll that pitching takes on it. Part of that prep work is exercise. How you train affects your stamina. Conditioning your body to be ready to stand on the pitcher’s mound for up to seven innings means strengthening your body in a variety of ways.
Long-distance running is a widely known method for developing your endurance. Running long distances habituates your body to long periods of exertion. Although your job as a pitcher doesn’t require you to run around the bases indefinitely, long-distance running prepares your body for the similar level of inning-after-inning action you experience on the mound.
In addition to long-distance running, you should also employ other forms of exercise. Weight lifting, sprints, and plyometrics are other beneficial ways to work different muscles and prepare your body for pitching.
Stamina goes hand in hand with practicing your mechanics. You should always be practicing arm care. Although pitching is a full-body effort, your arms are doing most of the work. If your arms are getting tired early on in the pitch count, you need to work on your mechanics. Strengthening your arms will not only help you go deeper in the game but also improve your throwing accuracy and consistency.
Remember to progress your conditioning to continue to build onto your stamina. As the weeks pass and you feel yourself get stronger, do exercises for a longer period of time. If you keep doing the same exercise in the same way for the same amount of time, you’ll reach a point where you won’t get any better. You need to advance your training to continue to see growth.
Long-distance running and other exercises are helpful, but you need the fuel to be able to do it. You also need fuel to be able to deliver a powerful pitch for several innings when it’s game time. You can condition your body for weeks, but your stamina still won’t be better if you don’t work to ensure that you are providing your body with the proper nutrition.
Nutrition is complicated and depends on several factors specific to you, such as age, weight, gender, and amount of exercise per day. You need to focus on yourself and figure out what works best for your body. Calories aren’t everything. It’s better to focus on what nutrients are in the food you’re consuming and how they will support bone growth, mental focus, tissue replacement, and so on.
Your food gives your body energy, so if you want to boost your stamina, it’s important to be mindful of your diet. Even knowing a few nutritious snacks to grab before a game is helpful.
Similar to how the food you consume impacts your performance, how much fluid you drink is also a major component of your stamina as an athlete. Water fuels your muscles. Hydration is so important because, on the contrary, dehydration can impair your endurance. It’s crucial that you hydrate before, during, and after workouts, but also always.
Also, like your nutrition, you should build a hydration plan that works for you. Do some research and ask your coaches for advice.
As an athlete, your everyday schedule may be super busy with all of your workouts, practices, and games on top of everything else you have going on in your life. But as an athlete, your sleep is even more important. Your body needs to recuperate after it’s been exerted. If you’re a pitcher, you should be familiar with rest days. Sleep is an integral part of the process of resting.
Adults typically need 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night, but athletes need even more. Read up on how much sleep you should build into your everyday life, tips for falling asleep, and the benefits of napping.
Exercise, nutrition, hydration, and sleep are the building blocks for enhancing stamina. If you’re looking to maximize your endurance, you need to take all four components seriously. If you feel like your stamina is down, something is out of the mix.
The Benefits of a Custom Conditioning Program
There is no standard, one-size-fits-all guide for improving stamina. All of the factors that go into it--your training, diet, water intake, and sleep regimen--depend on you. No one expects you to be a verified expert on boosting your pitching endurance (even after reading this article). Let someone else build a program for you!
Ryan Weiss hosts several different coaching programs for conditioning, throwing, weight lifting, and mobility. Weiss is a starting pitcher in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization. He’s done the work to get to the professional level and now has the knowledge to help coach you to success.
Weiss understands stamina and how sometimes, it’s just as much of a mental game as it is a physical one. In addition to creating a custom baseball conditioning program for you, he will consistently check in on your progress and mentor you through the ups and downs.
The Ryan Weiss 3-month conditioning program also gives you the opportunity to receive more training. If you’re interested in improving your throwing (because, well, what pitcher isn’t), Weiss can include a throwing program in your conditioning program package.
Although our number-one tip is to sign up for a baseball conditioning program, we also got some extra random tips for improving your pitching stamina.
Pace yourself. Don’t try to overdo it. Pitching already takes a toll on your body, so don’t try to overexert yourself for the purpose of getting better. The pitchers in the big leagues got to where they are because they knew when to stop. You should not be throwing to the point of pain. Pitching is a game of patience and focus, so practice patience with your body as you focus on trying to increase your stamina. As we’ve covered, exercise alone isn’t going to get you the results you crave. Remember that fueling and resting your body is just as impactful on your endurance.
On the same wavelength, switch up your workout routine. Every two weeks, your body will become accustomed to your routine. You need to vary the ways you use your muscles so that you’re building your overall strength rather than overusing certain muscles.
Choose exercises that use multiple groups of muscles. Pitching involves the whole body. Multiple groups of muscles work together when you throw. You can enhance your stamina quicker when you do activities working more than one group of muscles than you could with isolated movements.
Combining your strength and cardio workouts is also a technique for improving your stamina. The more something challenges your cardiovascular system, the more your body will be able to withstand prolonged periods of exertion.
Preparing your body to not get tired by the fifth inning is going to take hard work. But devoting yourself to improving your stamina is going to make it easier for you in the long run. Building up your endurance will not only allow you to stay in the game longer, but you’ll also be able to throw with less effort when you’re deep into the game.
Transforming your training, diet, and sleep schedule is going to make you a better pitcher. Your team will be able to count on you. Because of the complicated nature of all of these factors, however, it’s smart to use a baseball conditioning program as your custom guide. An established program will give you the tools you need to improve yourself and a personal coach/mentor, like Ryan Weiss.
Every year, pitchers try to add another mph or two onto their average fastball velocity. But throwing hard isn’t the only thing that matters. Increasing your stamina is crucial to maintaining your power as a pitcher.