5 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Summer Season

Today I am going to address 5 “do’s and don’ts” for those players choosing to play summer ball. These are generally players that are “on the cusp” (1-2 mph) of where they want to be velo-wise and could and should find a local league / team that will allow them to only pitch 3-5 innings per week and play first base on an additional day.

This can be the perfect storm for allowing reps on the mound to work on their stuff as well as adequate time to get in the gym the rest of the week to not only maintain strength during the hot summer months, but in the case of college players, prepare the body for the fall. This is a very popular option among those players who enter our summer training programs here at RPP. So, let’s review several ways to make sure you get the most out of your summer.

1. Maintain Mobility

The amount of sitting and standing during summer games can do a real number on losses in mobility. This can present itself anywhere on the body, but the big topics for baseball are glenohumeral, t-spine and hip mobility. Remember, injuries happen due to a loss of both strength AND mobility. What we do know about pitching is that if pitching-specific mobility is impaired, velocity and control will be compromised. This is one of the main reasons we like to see guys in the gym during summer ball. This ensures that they are getting adequate mobility work in as well.

(90/90 Hip Flow)

(Quadruped Breathing)

2. Keep Your Gym Workouts Short

More is not always better. Balancing your strength and mobility training volume with practices and games is crucial. This can help with getting stronger and at the same time not create any residual soreness game-day. This includes:

    • Big compound, multi-joint lifts (no overhead work)
    • Limited hypertrophy training (high reps to close to failure)
    • Limited med ball work
    • Limited sprint work (they should be getting this during practices, if they’re not, shame on the coach!!)

We utilize big, multi-joint lifts done at sub-max reps to continue to get our guys stronger and reduce residual soreness on the field. You CAN do both…

(Rev. Lunge)

(1/2 Kneeling Landmine Press)

3. Limit Band Work at the Field

I firmly believe that many ball players overdo it on band work at the field. This may be partially due to a lack of knowledge by the athlete and/or their coaches on better options from a mobility and activation standpoint. Whatever the reason may be, there is an outrageous amount of eccentric stress that’s placed on the arm during throwing already, so adding more band work to your summer arm care can put a player’s arm in the third inning before he’s even thrown a pitch. Add to this, the fact that most young athletes perform band drills incorrectly and… Not a good thing.

4. Nutrition

Multiple games, high temperatures, sleeping in hotel / motel beds, long car rides and / or flights, and McDonalds and post-game pizza all wreak havoc on a young athlete’s strength, power and mobility, ultimately increasing the risk of injury. Make smart choices pre- and post-game, and by all means… stay hydrated!

5. No Distance Running

By using a repetitive motion like jogging for an extended period, pitchers lose mobility in their hips because with long distance running, the hips never achieve hip flexion at 90 degrees or above as in sprinting. As we all know, human beings get good at what we practice; baseball players need to sprint! Coaches who have their baseball players run long distances are either lazy or haven’t done their homework in years. I mean really, who would you rather have on the field?

If you have decided that playing summer ball is the right decision given your circumstances and is a good fit for you, by all means do so. But at the same time maintaining and even increasing strength is paramount to combat overuse, summer heat and dropping velos. There are a lot of fantastic summer teams as well as coaches out there whose primary focus is on developing young players as well as understanding the athletes “big picture”.

See ya’ in the gym…

By Nunzio Signore (BA, CSCS, CPT, NASM, FMS)