In-Season Training… Making the Best Use of an Hour

By Nunzio Signore (BA, CPT, NASM, PES, FMS)Best Use of Hour - Top

I’m starting to get asked everyday by parents about in-season training. It took a bit of work to make this happen, but what a labor of love it has been. This means that people are finally realizing that in-season training is absolutely necessary!

Although every athlete has different challenges both physically and schedule-wise, with a little thought and maneuvering nothing could be more vital to a young athlete’s performance and longevity during the season than to get in one (minimal) or two (optimal) training days per week.

In a nutshell, the athlete I see in the gym during the off-season that disappears as soon as the umpire yells “play ball” is the same one who comes in wide-eyed and frantic in October/November because his or her arm “hurts in the front” or “can’t bend the arm” without the elbow hurting.

Now, there are no absolutes, but from my experience (and frankly others in the industry) the athletes that maintain a strength and mobility program in-season seem to come into the gym in the off-season ahead of the game or should I say not coming in “dragging a ball and chain”.

Best Use of Hour - Ball Chain

Today, I will highlight not only do what we do, but what we don’t do here at RPP with our players during in-season.

1. Med Ball on Dom. Side Only – Due to the nature of the game, baseball or softball players will never be totally “symmetrical” nor should they be. But we can try to get them as close as we can (in-season) by utilizing med ball throws on the non-dominant side only.

2. Keep the Sets and Reps (Volume) Low – We generally do 10-12 sets total of all exercises (excluding mobility work) per session. We utilize predominantly horizontal pulling (not overhead) and closed chain (stable base of support) pushing due to the fact that players’ arms are in compromised overhead/unstable positions all week on the field.

Best Use of Hour - Child

3. No Long Distance Running – One more time… in the words of the great Mike Boyle long distance running is the gift of slowness” for both the legs (speed) and the arm (velocity).

Best Use of Hour - Runeners

4. Volume of Mobility Work Stays the Same – Sorry but for baseball and softball, “strength and conditioning” should be changed to “strength and mobility”. The average distance that a ball player runs during a complete game is less than a quarter of a mile. Training time during in-season should be spent on the areas that need attention and maintaining mobility is one of them. Long distance running is not one of them.

Basically, the total time for in-season workout is approximately 50 minutes (including mobility work) but it’s quality work covering everything that is needed to enhance on-field performance and to help keep athletes healthy.

See you in the gym.