How to Throw Effective Bullpen Sessions
Throwing bullpen sessions during the preseason and during the season are effective for working on command and pitch grips.
We recommend throwing 50%+ fastballs, 20-30% secondary pitches (Two-seam fastballs for younger pitchers, breaking balls for older pitchers) and 20% changeups.
It Starts With a Flat Ground
Flat grounds you can do anywhere any time and often are a pre-curser to your actual bullpens. When performing your flat ground you are not throwing 100 percent, and you are focused on hitting spots, throwing strikes, and practicing your off speed pitches. This is where you record your pitches and never throw much more than about 15 pitches. This is to simulate 1 inning at a time. It’s also a greta idea to keep track your pitches and see if you can throw 12 for 15 pitches strikes or even higher. Our video will dive deeper in how to effectively throw a productive flat ground.
Bullpen Sessions for Young Pitchers
Bullpen Pitch Sequences
4 FB, 4 Two-Seam, 4 Changeups, 4 FB
For a Right Handed Pitcher
- Four-seam fastball – up and in and down and away.
- Two-seam fastball – inside to righties – always throw low
- Changeup at the catcher’s outer foot (not in the dirt)
- Two-seam changeup that fades away from lefties
- Circle change – inside to righties – drifts further in
- Cutter – inside to lefty, moves further in
- Sinker – inside to righties
Bullpen Before a Game- (youth players)
Change up your bullpen progressions to keep it challenging and interesting for your pitchers.
- Two in a row. Throw each pitch to each location twice in a row. If they miss the first time, emphasize hitting the spot the next pitch.
- Three in a row – throw each pitch for a strike three times in a row. Strike out the batter on three pitches.
- Don’t miss twice – emphasis avoiding throwing two balls in a row to stay ahead in the count. If you never throw two balls in a row, you won’t walk anyone.
- Around the world – challenge the pitcher to throw each pitch to each location in a row without missing spots.
- Pitch an inning. Call balls and strikes and work through an inning. If the pitcher is throwing well and his arm is strong, continue on to the next inning.
Bullpen Session Tips
Incorporate a Slide Step
Be in better control of the game while using the slide step. It’s a skill that will mess with hitters timing and allow your catcher to better throw people out on the bases. Watch our video below to know more!
- Master the inside pitch – balls look faster on the inside than the outside
- Utilize your bullpen sessions as a means for getting your catchers reps as well. Have two catchers alternate every 10-15 pitches. Have them work on framing for the first five pitches and stealing footwork for the second five pitches.
Importance of the Follow Thru
This is something that will help gain velocity and at the same time put less stress on your arm if done correctly. This is an absolute must if you want to throw harder and more accurate. A good follow through will also set you up in a good ready stance after the ball is thrown so that you can defend a ball hit back at you in the field. For other great tips on how to properly follow thru, look at our video below!
Know how durable your arm is and avoid overthrowing. Recovery times can vary from person to person but all arms get tired and need to recuperate if stressed the right way. This video dives into the talk about how you can throw everyday and how to keep your arm healthy along the way. A rest day could be the best thing for your arm some days.