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Strength And Conditioning For Baseball Players
If you’re a High School or College level baseball player who is unsure of which direction to go with their strength training, you may be asking yourself something along the lines of “Where do I start?”. My advice to you is to not be discouraged or overwhelmed by the overwhelming amount of social media content being posted on a daily basis across all platforms. And if you are, that’s okay! I do not blame you one bit, there is SO MUCH out there to sift through!
Sifting through all that/s out there is exactly what this post will address. My goal is to provide you with some background on S&C in the world of baseball as well as provide you with some easy and actionable steps to get you started on the right foot!
Strength & Conditioning and baseball have had a very weird existence together throughout their history of one another. For many years, baseball coaches across the nation would stray away from enlisting their players into any form of true strength training protocol beyond your typical push-ups, long-distance running, and core exercises with the fears of their players becoming far too “bulky” or “stiff” when taking the diamond, thus decreasing their performance on the field. This isn’t to say that those exercises/programs don’t have their place along the continuum of training, but there was a lot of performance being left on the table by shying away from more progressive as well as traditional strength training protocols. Over the past 7-10 years, there has been a revolution in the world of baseball performance training beyond the diamond. With countless high-quality facilities and coaches popping up all over the nation who are pumping out great athletes year after year. This has really reached the public eye in the last few years where these trainers are beginning to be picked up by professional organizations to lead their player development programs such as Eric Cressey with the New York Yankees as their head of Sports Medicine.
In short, this has become the new norm for baseball players throughout the nation. Partaking in a progressive strength and conditioning program of some degree is becoming necessary for players to separate themselves from the pack to not only play but to succeed at the next level! As we said earlier, there is a ton of info out there to sort through. I wouldn’t recommend picking and choosing from various sources and building a program that way. Think of doing that as taking a couple of pieces from different puzzles and trying to make them all fit together. Probably won’t work that well, right? Instead, I would recommend the following steps:
- Find a reputable coach/facility with a proven track record!
- A quick google search of “Strength and Conditioning Facilities near me” or “Baseball performance facilities near me” should provide you with some results!
- Look to their google reviews and even try to reach out to some past or current clients if possible! They will provide you with some valuable insight as to what kind of service they provide as well as the quality of that service
- Look on their website or call to find out what the staff members backgrounds look like!
- Set up a meeting with them and see what their intake process looks like! Do they have a system in place or do they just kinda wing it and get you started?
You find a great facility with a qualified coaching staff, what next?!?!
- Treat this training with as much priority as your baseball specific training
- S&C training should be a hallmark in your player development process. It is the foundation of you being able to display your ability as a baseball player!
- Mark training sessions in your calendar the first chance you get to make sure nothing else can take up what we’ll call a “non-negotiable” appointment.
- Sit down with your coach and go over what your yearly schedule looks like! It doesn’t have to be down to the day, but specific off-season and in-season time frames should be established.
- Talk about your goals and aspirations as a player with your coach as well. Doing this will set clear expectations on both sides to ensure both of your efforts are aligned with achieving the same outcome.
You’ve met with the staff, established goals, and schedules, and made it a priority…but wait, there’s more!
- Put yourself in the best position to succeed with these tips!
- Dial in your nutrition to make sure you’re getting the most out of your training! The facility you go to should have some general nutrition advice available, take advantage of it and ask other athletes what has been working best for them as well!
- Track your training results. It doesn’t have to be fancy, simply write down what you did each day (ex: reps, sets, weight, times, etc.) and keep a log of your progress to see how you’re progressing! From this, you can draw parallels to your performance on the field and see how the two improve together over the long term!
- PRIORITIZE SLEEP! This is so utterly important. Partaking in a training session on little to no sleep will not help you, if anything it will hinder your performance. Aim for 7-9 hours a night, especially the nights following sessions. This is huge for appropriately recovering.
Starting with these 3 steps can get you on the right path to really capitalizing on this aspect of your development as a player and helping you reach the next level!
If you’re looking for some more dialogue on some general tips/advice for developing as a baseball player, Justin Feldman PT, DPT and I made a great video discussing just that!
ALSO! We put together a few videos breaking down movements that every player can benefit from in their training protocol!
- Thoracic Spine Rotation on Foam Roller
- T-Spine rotation is an important motion to have available as a baseball player, especially as a pitcher! This movement helps with just that! Laying on your side, hook your top leg over a foam roller and use the hand of the side that you’re facing to keep your knee in contact with the foam roller as you rotate in the opposite direction. This movement can be done as a stretch or for continuous reps
- Hip Airplane
- Start this movement first by using assistance to maintain your balance. First find your balance on one leg, followed by turning with your torso and hips up towards the ceiling. Maintain control by taking your time and making sure your torso stays centered and does not open up! Developing stability on one leg is important and transfers well to all phases of the pitching motion
- Band Press with Front Resistance
- With a band anchored in front of you, pull back into an externally rotated position and press up into full elbow extension overhead. This addresses stability in what would be considered the mid-range of the throwing motion. You can further progress this with a tempo or heavier bands!
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