Baseball Training

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How important is baseball training and conditioning? Watch any professional baseball game – major league or minor leagues, and you will notice something that probably wasn’t the case going back a few years. Heck, don’t even just limit it to professional games. Take a good look at college and even high school and you will see a significant increase in the amount of specific baseball training – both strength and conditioning - being done in order to be a great baseball player. Athletes are always looking for a (legal) advantage, and strength and conditioning in baseball is a way to gain an advantage over your playing peers. As a result, Major League teams and teams down to almost little league are looking for ways to incorporate this type of training to gain the upper hand over the competition and increase performance on the field. Most teams at all levels now have weight rooms with all the latest state of the art equipment, and every major league team now has, at a minimum, a strength and conditioning coach as a member of the staff.

Photo Courtest of GiryaGirl - Own work, Creative Commons, license at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

Photo by George Stepanek, Available through Creative Commons, License at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

Baseball Training Equals Baseball Success

In order to be successful ballplayer – a great baseball player – an individual must work hard, do countless hours of drills, and work baseball training and conditioning into his regimen!  A baseball training program has to have both a strength and speed component.  Speed and quickness are trainable items that can start at the lower levels of youth baseball and little league, whereas some parts of strength and weight training need to wait until the individual is ready and able to start with weights.  However, when an individual is developed enough to start lifting weights and begin strength training, it is crucial and imperative that strength training be incorporated for two simple reasons; it helps to develop explosive power and it helps to protect against injury.   Power, quickness and being explosive are critical areas of the sport, and since baseball requires you to stop, start, and explode…on offense, defense, as a baserunner, pitcher and in virtually every other aspect of the game, your training program  must be designed to help with your need to be explosive, and must be designed to greatly increase the strength of your core muscles, which includes the muscles of the stomach and back.  These are the muscle groups that play a large role in the explosion, quickness and power factors necessary for baseball success, and the quicker you are and the more powerful you can become can only help you on the ballfield.  In baseball training, performing and improving on several little things can have a synergistic effect where the end result is that these little things add up and the result is greater than those individual little things.  Keep in mind that even a small increase in your power and explosiveness will equate to a magnified improvement in all areas of your game.  Also, keep in mind that baseball training could and should us a variety of training methods, including weights, bands, medicine balls, kettlebells and anything else available, with the general rule of lower weight for upper body and heavier weight for lower body… and it absolutely MUST TRAIN YOUR CORE, which includes the stomach, hips, buttocks, and lower back!

Do it Right

Of course, as important as baseball training and conditioning, to include strength, aerobic and anaerobic, is, it is equally important to conduct it in the proper way.  The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) runs a website, www.nsca.com, and Matt DiLallo, MA, CSCS, USAW-1, has written a great article titled “Methods for Training Baseball Players”, which can be found at http://www.nsca.com/education/articles/methods-for-training-baseball-players/.  In his recommendation, he cites the importance of players training for both strength and power, and throwing the baseball maximally with proper mechanics.  Specifically, research suggests that some degree of shoulder instability is prominent, especially in pitchers, and adding heavy chest and overhead lifts could increase shoulder instability and increase the risk of posterior impingement syndrome.  DiLallo further states the addition of extra pressing exercises could cause further asymmetries and imbalances due to the high volume of throwing performed, so to help avoid shoulder instability while training, shoulder exercises should be performed after exhausting the major muscle groups, or after a throwing practice. This allows for concentration on the small muscles of the rotator cuff when lifting and helps avoid rotator cuff fatigue prior to throwing or lifting.  Further, Dilallo believes that the amount of practice and play that occurs in today’s game is a contributing factor of overuse injuries, but there are things that can be done to prevent overuse injuries.  Among these are prehabilitation work for the rotator cuff and elbow as well as scapular mobilization drills, as well as the introduction of soft tissue work from a trained professional which is important to keep baseball players healthy and properly rested from game to game.

The importance of baseball training, strength and conditioning, could never be overstated.  This section of the website will cover its importance in further detail, and also go into specific training programs and regimens that experts are recommending!  Building core strength, building arm strength, developing mental aptitude, adding additional quickness and many other topics with associated programs will be covered.  So while I, per se, am not an expert on physical training and specific baseball training and conditioning, we do have folks that work with our organization who are, and our teams work with a trainer, Chris Sykes, who absolutely knows his stuff.  Check out some info here - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Train-With-Sykes-and-Mike/530471763660164, and you will realize that the information you are getting here is coming from a trained professional who is an absolute expert in his field.

In the very near future, I will post a specific 12 month baseball training program that will help any player improve the strength and conditioning necessary to perform at a high level on the baseball field!

› Baseball Training

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