Baseball Strength Training
Baseball players should be strength training regularly throughout the year to maximize their results. Hitting, pitching, running, and throwing are all explosive skills that require a foundation of pure strength.
The arms act more like the end of a whip in throwing and hitting, but are not the source of power. Your real power source (no pun intented) is your lower body.
Baseball skills generate almost all of their power through the legs and is transferred to your arms through your core. This is what most baseball training in the weight room should focus on. This is not to say upper body strength is useless, just that it sits in 3rd place in terms of performance needs.
Some extra emphasis on shoulder stability would be wise, particularly for pitchers. Challeinging grip strength drills will further stabilize the shoulder joint, and their incorporation into a workout plan is recommended.
Olympic lifts, plus plyometrics for the arms, legs and core should be a staple of training. Great care must be taken with technique and exercise selection for all of these categories to ensure it does not cause shoulder or knee problems.
Building muscle mass is a low priority for younger baseball players, unless there is a major deficiency that is limiting performance. Major league ball players did not get to where they are because they trained to get big before anything else. You shouldn’t be taking that path, either.
Flexibility work should also be a target, particularly if limited functional movement is detected.
Finally, you should emphasize plenty of rotational strength and power work, as skills like hitting and pitching, in particular, are rotational movements that require stregnth with the muscles that move you in this direction.
Baseball Speed & Agility Training
Reaction-based quickness in all directions, and sprint speed are the keys to baseball movement training. A lower emphasis should be placed on cutting and other open-field agility techniques, as they are rarely used.
Reactionary training should be a blend of making perfect footwork an automatic skill, along with hand-eye coodination work to simulate hitting and fielding needs. Both lower body and upper body quickness are necessary to excel in baseball.
Sprint speed is key not only for evaluation purposes with college and pro scouts, but also for many game skills like base runnung, base stealing, and tracking fly balls. Sound acceleration mechanics are essential to reach the higher levels of the sport. And your running stride should be made as efficient as possible to maximize your speed potential.
Conditioning for Baseball
The conditioning needs in baseball are vastly different from many other team sports. But it is still an essential component of becoming an elite baseball player and should not be overlooked.
Baseball players should maintain a solid aerobic base year-round to maximize their recovery and their physical development. The body adapts to stress much faster when your aerobic conditioning is sound.
Building an aerobic foundation for baseball means doing some steady-state physical activity for 20 minutes or more. This could involve running, biking, swimming, circuit training, or many other activities.
Injury Prevention for Baseball
The top 2 injury sites for baseball are the shoulder and ankle, which both can be protected through a sound workout plan. Problems can also come up with getting hit by pitches, but you really can’t prevent that from training.
Tommoy John surgery, rotator cuff and labrum tears are all too prevalent for pitchers these days. A sound training program that builds true strength and stability throughout the lower body and core will lessen the stress put on these weaker regions. From there, additonal strengthening of the upper torso and shoulder girdle will further lessen your chance of injury.
A greater emphasis on ankle, hip and knee stability training for baseball would help to lessen the rate of ligament sprains, or at least minimize the damage from collisions when they occur. Functional strength exercises are much better choices than machines for stabilization.
Muscle pulls, particularly to the hamstrings, are also preventable issues. A comprehensive warm up before practices and games would help, as would an off-season workout with greater emphasis on training the muscles on the backside of the body, and not just the ones you look at in the mirror.
Youth Baseball Training Considerations
If ever there was a sport where young players should get an early jump on developing hand-eye coordination, this is it. Simple games and competitions that incorporate hand-eye enhancement can make training fun and valuable for those age 10 and under.
Balance and bodyweight strength training are also beneficial for young baseball players. Both are safe and effective parts of a workout plan for kids at this age.
Kids should be active and moving around as often as possible, whether in structured programs of just free play, to gain more coordination, and to discover how to run more efficiently. With just a little guidance these youngsters can make great gains in their movement skills over time.
Drills that incorporate reactive quickness would also really help to further a promising young baseball player’s future, along with a structured flexibility program as part of team warm ups.
Baseball Training at Power Source
Central Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire baseball players can train with us in any of our elite programs. We’ll tailor your training specifically to target your greatest areas of strength and power needs, as well as help protect you from any potential injury risks, in our Group Personal Training Program.
Our Speed & Agility Classes are designed to enhance the sprint and agility technique through expert coaching, video analysis, sprint treadmills, and a handful of other tools.
At certain times of year we also run week-long Speed Clinics, and are open to working with teams and organizations to set up a private clinic just for your players. Feel free to contact us at any time to inquire about training for an individual athlete, or private clinic/team training options.