Preparing to play a baseball game should begin way before you jog on the field to play catch. Having a repeatable routine that you do before every game will help you to consistently be mentally and physically prepared. Realize that no routine is the exact same, mess around with yours, try new things, figure out what works best for you. These are some suggestions on things I found to be useful in my playing career.
A benefinecial, yet often overlooked aspect of a quality routine is visualization. Visualization should begin to happen before you arrive to the field and continue through your pre-game routine. For me, this would start about 10 minutes before I arrived for pre-game. This is a great way to get your mind in a good spot, focused on the tasks you are looking to perform. This visualization routine should include multiple mental reps of defensive situations, at-bats, and different base running scenarios that you could encounter in a game, or executing pitches on the mound.
Once arrived, after you’ve done a short bat warm-up on your own, you then start with pre-game BP with your team. If your coach does not have a BP routine they follow, you should make your own. Pregame BP should always be done with a purpose, these should not be wasted swings, this is where you find what’s working well for you that day. There should also be some visualization with this. A typical routine would be:
Round 1 – 2 hit & run , 4 oppo
Round 2 – 5 gap to gap
Round 3 – Gamers
After BP, typically we will be making our way to the field to get our body’s loose. Stretching is a great time to visualize base running scenarios and it also adds some purpose as stretching can become monotonous. Getting your arm loose is also a great time for defensive visualizations, putting yourself in game-like scenarios and executing throws on target; repeating these actions over and over again so they become second nature.
Pitchers and catchers will then head to the bullpen to get ready. Pitchers, while doing your band routines is a great time to visualize one last time before executing in your pen. Catchers should have some sort of receiving and blocking routine before beginning to catch, a coach or pitcher can help you with this.
At this time, infielders and outfielders will also be doing their pregame ground ball/fly ball fungo routine. This is where you begin to execute what you’ve been visualizing, great time to build confidence going into the game. Doing this with energy always helped me get to my peak performance. Then it’s game time, have fun!