One aspect of the game that pitchers often struggle with is their ability to prepare for game situations in practice, or when warming up for games. Young pitchers often do not take the time or develop the standards in their bullpen practices to truly prepare to get hitters out in games. As pitchers, we must work on the execution of specific pitches and locations in the bullpen so that we can find them more precisely in games.
Many young pitchers struggle with “putting hitters away” ahead in the count, or they are having trouble getting ahead of hitters early in the count. My simple suggestion would be to practice their first pitch strikes, or their 0-2 or 1-2 count fastball or off-speed pitch in the bullpen so that they have a better base of experience going into games.
A structured bullpen routine designed to practice specific situations that we find ourselves in competition goes a long way to help us perform when it counts.
Below are links to sample bullpens structured to help a pitcher prepare for competition in different ways. We must always remember that every pitcher is different and may command a variation of one of these bullpens. However, a general template for a bullpen practice is one that repeats similar pitches and release points in groups of 3-5 pitches so that the pitcher can refine the release and angles for various pitches during the bullpen.