Attention Baseball Players, Coaches and Parents - Get The Training Tips You Need For Enhanced Performance!
Baseball Strength Training
Baseball players should be strength training regularly throughout the year to maximize their results. Hitting, pitching, running, and throwing are all explosive skills that require a foundation of pure strength.
I believe many coaches and players mistakenly focus on the forearms and shoulders to build these skills. The arms act more like the end of a whip in throwing and hitting, but are not the source of power.
Baseball skills generate almost all of their power through the legs and core, and that is where most of training in the weight room should focus on. This is not to say upper body strength is useless, just that it sits in 3rd place in terms of performance needs.
Some extra emphasis on shoulder stability would be wise, particularly for pitchers. Challeinging grip strength drills will further stabilize the shoulder joint, and their incorporation into a workout plan is recommended.
Olympic lifts, plus plyometrics for the arms, legs and core should be a staple of training. Great care must be taken with technique and exercise selection for all of these categories to ensure it does not cause shoulder or knee problems.
Building muscle mass is a low priority for younger baseball players, unless there is a major deficiency that is limiting performance. Major league ball players did not get to where they are because they trained to get big before anything else. You shouldn't be taking that path, either.
Flexibility work should also be a target, particularly if limited functional movement is detected.
Finally, you should emphasize plenty of rotational strength and power work, as skills like hitting and pitching, in particular, are rotational movements that require stregnth with the muscles that move you in this direction.
Baseball Speed Training
Reaction-based quickness in all directions, and sprint speed are the keys to baseball movement training. A lower emphasis should be placed on cutting and other open-field agility techniques, as they are rarely used.
Reactionary training should be a blend of making perfect footwork an automatic skill, along with hand-eye coodination work to simulate hitting and fielding needs. Both lower body and upper body quickness are necessary to excel in baseball.
Sprint speed is key not only for evaluation purposes with college and pro scouts, but also for many game skills like base runnung, base stealing, and tracking fly balls. Sound acceleration mechanics are essential to reach the higher levels of the sport. And your running stride should be made as efficient as possible to maximize your speed potential.
Injury Prevention for Baseball
The top 2 injury sites for baseball are the shoulder and ankle, which both can be protected through a sound workout plan. Problems can also come up with getting hit by pitches, but you really can't prevent that from training.
Tommoy John surgery, rotator cuff and labrum tears are all too prevalent for pitchers these days. A sound training program that builds true strength and stability throughout the lower body and core will lessen the stress put on these weaker regions. From there, additonal strengthening of the upper torso and shoulder girdle will further lessen your chance of injury.
A greater emphasis on ankle, hip and knee stability training for baseball would help to lessen the rate of ligament sprains, or at least minimize the damage from collisions when they occur. Functional strength exercises are much better choices than machines for stabilization.
Muscle pulls, particularly to the hamstrings, are also preventable issues. A comprehensive warm up before practices and games would help, as would an off-season workout with greater emphasis on training the muscles on the backside of the body, and not just the ones you look at in the mirror.
Youth Baseball Training Considerations
If ever there was a sport where young players should get an early jump on developing hand-eye coordination, this is it. Simple games and competitions that incorporate hand-eye enhancement can make training fun and valuable for those age 10 and under.
Balance and bodyweight strength training are also beneficial for young baseball players. Both are safe and effective parts of a workout plan for kids at this age.
Kids should be active and moving around as often as possible, whether in structured programs of just free play, to gain more coordination, and to discover how to run more efficiently. With just a little guidance these youngsters can make great gains in their movement skills over time.
Drills that incorporate reactive quickness would also really help to further a promising young baseball player's future.
Baseball Position-Specific Concerns
Pitchers should use all of the injury-prevention advice given above to stay healthy and strong, plus take a sound approach to conditioning. This will help them to maintain their mechanics for higher pitch counts. Interestingly, core and leg stregnth would probably help more here than long-distance running.
Catchers need outstanding functional flexibility in the lower body to stay healthy and productive over time. Limitations at the ankle or hip joint can lead to knee problems that could have been averted. Corrective exercises should be used for anyone with poor range of motion.
Infielders need high levels of reactive quickness and lateral movement speed. Speed and power training should be used to enhance their natural abilities, as most infielders are likely to already have quicker than average reflexes.
Outfielders need a greater emphasis on acceleration and sprint mechanics, on top of reactive quickness. They cover the most ground of the field, and rely on a combination of quick jumps and sprint speed to track down fly balls.
Baseball Game Intelligence
Slumps and other thinking-based drains on game performance are common in baseball. Players who are clear about their goals, both on a team and personal level, are always more likely to be able to withstand eventual downturns in their play.
Sports Axiology is an exciting new program that helps athletes to improve their decision making on the field. And many times, these positive changes carry over to making better choices off the field, too.
Power Source will soon unveil this powerful service for athletes in and around Massachusetts.
Baseball Training at Power Source
Massachusetts athetes ages 7-10 will gain a base of quickness, hand-eye coordination, and athleticism with our age-appropriate young athlete development program.
Strength and power development targeted for baseball players is available in our elite workout programs for age 11-14 athletes, and ages 15+. These also incorporate all of the injury prevention concepts we target above.
We also run speed clinics, mostly for Massachusetts and New Hampshire teams. The most appropriate programs Power Source has for baseball teams are the Game Speed 101 (1st step quickness & lateral movement), 102 and 405 (beginner and advanced sprint speed) clinics
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