Tips for Playing Baseball in Cold Weather

As a coach, have you ever put thought into how cold weather affects your players? Do you have a strategy on how to overcome the cold to still play at the highest level possible? Read on for some tips for playing baseball in cold weather. This will help you as a player or youth baseball coach in your game-day or practice-day regiment.

Depending on what part of the country you live in, most baseball players have to play in cold weather at some point in the season. I was visiting family in New York this weekend as the first arctic front of the fall came through and

it reminded me of my playing days at SUNY Albany in Upstate NY. Playing baseball in late February, early March in Upstate New York was brutally cold and we learned how to stay warm quick.

In most parts of the country, the youth baseball season (little league, middle school, high school) starts in February or march and it is downright cold! You have to endure 3-6 weeks of cold temperatures before the Spring pops and the weather is more comfortable to play in. Moreover, this is the most crucial time of the year when you are trying to re-condition the throwing arms of our youth baseball players.

Starting your season in the cold is a challenge for a few reasons:

  • Arm injuries increase due to the lack of a proper warm up routine.
  • leg injuries and muscle pulls increase in cold and wet weather.
  • Motivation of your players decrease in the cold/wet environment.

Tips for the player performing in the cold weather

  • Wear the proper clothing like Under Armour ColdGear. Wear a base layer for both your upper & lower body and build layers from there. You can always shed layers as you get warmer. If you invest a few extra $ in your base layer, you will definitely stay warm and comfortable from the breath-ability. But most importantly you will keep the free range of motion unlike if you were to put on heavy/thick hoodies and jackets.
  • Find a way to keep moving: Once practice or the game starts, you Do Not want to be stagnant at all. The cold will set in and it is hard to get moving again.
  • Keep the blood flow in your hands, especially as a position player that is standing in the infield for a log period of time. You will lose dexterity in your fingers once they get too cold. Try doing arm circles as fast as you can for a few seconds to push the warm blood to your fingers…especially with your throwing arm.
  • Go to a ski shop and pick up some of those toe warmers and keep them in your throwing hand side pocket. Between pitches, when you are in the field, grab the warmer with your throwing hand in your pocket.

Tips for the Coach when playing in the cold weather

  • Establish early spring rules to include a dress code. It may be necessary to have a rule where players MUST wear long sleeves at practice and games until April (or later depending on how far north you are in the country).
  • Create well organized practices that keep players moving and decrease the amount of “standing around time”. Some examples include; creating more hitting stations in BP, playing tactical games in practice where all team members are involved, keeping the lecturing to a minimum and increase time on task.
  • During games, have all of the bench players run from the dugout, to the foul pole and back after each 1/2 inning. The idea is to keep the players ready both physically and mentally while not in the game so they can better perform when called in.
  • Keep a couple of jump ropes in the dugout for pitchers or players that are not in the game to use to stay warm.

Do you have any strategies that you use to stay warm when playing? Please post them below or click the social buttons to comment.

Stay on plane…

About CoachK

Owner and head instructor at Colonial Baseball Instruction. CBI serves Southern VA with baseball camps and private lessons. CBI also developed My Coach: Baseball App and sells a variety of baseball training aids.

Kyle Nelson says:

I really envy coaches and players who have nothing to add to this post. Unfortunately, growing up, and now coaching in Chicago, I have far too much experience with playing and coaching in cold weather.

As a player the temperature never bothered me… until I got to college and was a relief pitcher. When I was pitching or playing the field in high school, it had no effect on me. Sitting around for 5 innings then trying to get warm in 2 minutes as a reliever in 35 degree weather in college was difficult. Your comment about keep the hands warm really is the key. The bigger muscles will warm up because they will get blood flow, your extremities, will take a while and frozen hands can greatly effect performance.

For coaches, here is one I live by… if I made the decision to go outside and practice in cold weather, or if we are playing a game in cold weather, I never talk about the weather or let on that I may be cold. If I let on that I am cold, or talk about the weather, it gives players an excuse for failure.

Not a lot of thought is often put into this and I’m glad you bridged this topic, but it makes me realize I need to move south!

Kyle Nelson
Owner and Founder
Cornerstone Coaching Academy