College Relief Pitcher In Season Throwing Program


In this post I am going to discuss the throwing schedule and routine a college reliever can follow that allows them to be recovered for each outing and physically prepared. One of the pitfalls a reliever can make is to stop doing the things that prepared them for the year in the first place. Often times they won’t long toss, keep throwing volume and intensity consistently down, don’t lift as much, and don’t put enough focus on recovery. This is a recipe for disaster that will cause a pitcher to quickly fade come April and May.

The most common answer for why they don’t do the things above is they think they will be sore and they want to save their “bullets” for the games. When it comes to lifting in season, the goal isn’t to make you sore. I want guys keeping intensity up while decreasing volume. This will allow guys to keep strength levels up while decreasing chances of excessive soreness.

Throw to Grow

Throwing has a very similar approach to lifting. Listen to your arm and “feed” it on a regular basis for it to grow and thrive. Alan Jaeger talks about this concept often. The college schedule allows for a reliever to get adequate throwing and lifting in while still being fresh for the games. The last piece that a lot of players are missing out on is a recovery routine. Often times after a game doing 10 minutes worth of exercises is the last thing a pitcher wants to do, despite it having a big impact on helping them recover for their next outing.

In this post I’m not going to focus on the lifting side of things, but rather the throwing protocols a pitcher can follow in season.

A typical college week looks like this:

Monday - Off

Tuesday - Practice/Mid-Week Game

Wednesday - Practice/Mid-Week Game

Thursday - Practice

Friday - Game

Saturday - Game

Sunday - Game

Being a reliever you never really know when you will pitch. As the season goes on you’ll have a better gauge of what your role is, but even then you usually won’t know for sure what day you will pitch. With this set up you are going to have to be adaptable and able to change your schedule of throwing and lifting on a weekly basis.

Below is a general rule of thumb I follow when it comes to throwing.

Day After Appearance - Recovery Throwing

This doesn’t mean you aren’t going to pitch the day after a relief appearance, but the focus is going to be built around light throwing and having a recovery routine you follow. Depending on how much you threw the day before, you might flip a couple breaking balls on flat ground or mix in some change ups.

2+ Days Without Appearance - Bullpen

If you haven’t seen the mound for 2 or more days it would be a good idea to long toss and to hop on the mound and throw a bullpen. Depending on when your next game is will determine how many pitches you throw. I encourage guys to get on the mound often in season even if it is only 10-15 pitches. Continue to get a good feel for working off the mound.

Down Day - Optional Throwing

If it’s a day where you threw back to back days or had a long relief appearance the night before and you have been told you are not throwing that day it’s a good opportunity to focus on recovery. I encourage guys to at least throw a little bit. I even have guys throw a 7 ounce ball on these day to lower intensity and peak arm stress. Get the body moving on these days and start preparing for your next outing.

Below are a couple examples of what your week could look like. One is a week you throw a lot and the other is where you might only pitch once.

High Game Volume Week

Monday - Long Toss/Full Plyo Ball Routine

Tuesday - Recovery Throwing

Wednesday - Extension Phase of LT/Pitch in Game

Thursday - Recovery Throwing

Friday - Hybrid Throwing/Pitch in Game

Saturday - Recovery Throwing/ Pitch in Game

Sunday - Recovery/Down Day

Low Game Volume Week

Monday - Long Toss/Full Plyo Ball Routine

Tuesday - Recovery Throwing

Wednesday - Extension Phase of LT/No Pitch in Game

Thursday - Long Toss and Bullpen

Friday - Recovery Throwing/No Pitch in Game

Saturday - Extension Phase of LT/ Pitch in Game

Sunday - Recovery Throwing

As you can see these are two different types of weeks you could have. You have to adjust from week to week and make sure you get your work in. Communicate with your coach as much as you can and come up with a game plan to help you recover when you have a high volume weeks and a plan to be game ready when you don’t throw for 1-2 weeks.

I hope you found this post helpful and I will be coming out with a starter’s in season program next week!

As always if you have any questions please email us at