Baseball players today are playing for multiple teams, participating in school and travel ball, showcases and often times playing multiple games in a single day. They play on a non-stop basis, sometimes 10 months out of the year and for over a hundred innings. When you think of the amount of time they spend running, squatting, diving, jumping and the amount of stress being placed on their quads, knees and ankles, it can be overwhelming.
The game of baseball is about explosive movements followed by recovery between each play and a well thought out baseball strength and conditioning program should reflect that. It’s also about body mechanics and being able to create force with the right muscle groups quickly. Our priority is to provide our catchers and position players with a program that make each a better baseball player. We treat every baseball player differently. And generally as overhead athletes, special care needs to go into the types of program design that can help a ball player excel at his sport.
Off-season is the period when baseball players can concentrate on recovering from a long season and increasing their total athleticism. This may be in the form of gaining strength and speed, or increasing muscle mass while losing unwanted body fat. Strength training during this period can have significant impact on a player’s ability, performance and risk of injury and even confidence once the season begins.
When a scout or college coach is reviewing a position player they are often looking for bat speed, running speed and arm speed. However, in order to get there and maintain it safely over a long season, you first have to get strong. Strength is the foundation for producing power and explosiveness so the general idea is to make an athlete as strong as possible in the beginning of the off-season and then use this strength to increase speed (power) and explosiveness as we get closer to the start of the season.
Our programming is divided into two distinct phases, Absolute Strength and Speed/Explosiveness (power).
– The first phase of our training is all about building Absolute Strength. During this period we emphasize strength training using lower reps combined with high intensities and big movements (i.e. deadlifts, squats, pressing and pulling movements). As the Absolute Strength phase progresses, we begin to add explosive lifts, as well as introducing rotary movements into the strength program. We begin to get the athlete moving while still creating a strength training effect.
– The second phase of our training is about getting explosive. Conditioning drills and movements more specific to the sport are added to the program as we get the athlete ready to begin their season. Med Ball work is ramped up and takes on more baseball specific movements. Weighted complexes (a series of exercises performed in sequence without stopping to replace the heavier intensity sets in the weight room), and change-of-direction drills specific to movements on the field become the emphasis in this phase. Our main focus is to apply the strength gains we have acquired earlier in our programming to create power in movements that will translate over to speed and explosiveness on the field.
We recommend that every athlete receives an Athletic Profile Assessment prior to starting a training program. No matter what the sport, and baseball is no different, exposing abnormal postural, and movement patterns during an assessment and correcting them through an individualized strength training program is the first step in safely getting bigger, faster and stronger.
Our program design is highly controlled and managed. We constantly re-evaluate its volume/intensity from week-to-week depending on an athlete’s near and long term objectives as well as changes in their game schedule. Our programs also take into account whether an athlete is a position player or a pitcher and are adjusted depending on whether it’s off-season or in-season.
Below is a summary of our Program Highlights for Position Players and Catchers:
- Initial Testing and Assessment
- Soft Tissue/movement prep – Foam rolling, active and dynamic warm-ups, mobility and stabilization drills
- Arm Care – Scapular stability, enhanced rotator cuff strength, endurance and rate of force development (how quickly the cuff fires)
- Med ball/Mobility work – Helps improve rotary movement, upper and lower body separation, as well as explosiveness going from squatting to standing, a key player in improving “pop time”
- Strength – Supervised functional training sessions, focusing on upper body, lower body, core and arm health
- Explosive Power – Plyometric techniques for explosive “first-step” movement
- Speed and Agility – Acceleration, deceleration both linear and lateral, running mechanics, and getting the athletes endurance ready for the season
- Nutrition – Each athlete receives a nutrition plan to suit their individual needs
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