It's that time of year again.
The birds are chirping, the days are longer, and the time for spring season is upon us.
If you are from the Northeast like me, then it is more like, the wind is howling, and the ground is still frozen...
No matter where you are living or playing, the time to play ball is upon us, and it is time to put all the effort you spent in the off-season and preseason to good use on the field.
That being said, here is a quick list of 5 things you most likely forgot to do this Preseason.
Number 1: Have a Productive Off-season.
Before I even get into the preseason mistakes that young ball players make, we need to she some light on the importance of having a true off-season. An off-season is important to baseball players because you need time to rest and heal from the sport specific movements that you did all season long. Throwing, hitting, and pitching in the same plane of motion means you are creating severe imbalances over the course of time. It is important that you let your body rest, and give yourself time to train your body to become stronger and healthier.
When talking to young baseball players, the majority of them will start working out and training in January or February. If you are looking to make real changes in your productivity on the field, then you need the time to train hard. Making sure you are performing compound movements, with the proper intensities, with a focus on building up your particular weaknesses is the name of the game.
This type of training takes time and is not something that comes within the 6-8 weeks before the season starts. If you are reading this, and the season starts in a few weeks, it is too late for you to create any real changes in your body or your performance. If you are serious about playing ball on the field, you need to be serious about your training and your life off of the field and in the gym.
Number 2: Follow a progressive throwing and hitting program.
This is exactly what happens to a lot of young baseball athletes when the season starts to come around. They start to get the baseball itch and jump in the cage or they get in their practice facility and hit and throw way too much, way too soon.
These are the same athletes who tend to not do too much during their off-seasons.
These are also the same athletes that tend to get overuse injuries, torn rotator cuffs, or other injuries during the course of the season. They put way too much strain on their bodies, way too soon, and therefore find themselves with preventable injuries.
Just because you didn't get the necessary work in during the course of the off-season or early preseason does not mean you should cram it all in during the last 4-6 weeks before the season begins.
Just like with weight training you need to have a progressive throwing and hitting program to get you ready for the SEASON. The keyword here is season. You are aiming to bring your best work to the game and not show up banged up and sore from not giving yourself time to heal and develop. Build up your throwing volume over the course of time. There is no sense in beating your arm into the ground in February.
Number 3: You didn't take your nutrition seriously.
The saying of "you are what you eat" is factual.
If you are trying to get to get to the big leagues, get that scholarship to play at your favorite college, or just trying to make your local high school team, you need to focus your efforts both on and off the field. That means you need to take your nutrition seriously.
There is no surprise that you see the same sort of body types the higher up you go in baseball. No matter how hard you try in the gym or on the field, you will only be as good as the fuel you put into your body.
Lean proteins, healthy fats, whole grains, and plenty of vegetables.
Your nutrition should not be overly complicated. Stick to the basics that I follow. Eat something that had a face, paired with a carb and a mound of vegetables. If your goal is to lose body fat or gain muscle, the process is the same. The only differential is the amounts that you eat.
Number 4: You didn't train explosively.
Baseball is an explosive sport and thus should be trained in an explosive manner. Being explosive means that you can produce the greatest amount of force in the shortest amount of time.
Plyometrics, jumps, and throwing medicine balls are the best way to develop power that carries over to the baseball diamond. Make sure you are working with a strength and conditioning coach that knows their stuff and is helping you become the best player you can be.
Besides the aforementioned dynamic training methods, utilize accommodating resistance such as bands and chains during your lifts is a great way to develop explosive power while in the weight room.
Number 5: You did not utilize a proper strength and conditioning coach.
The world of strength and conditioning has exploded over the past few years especially in the realm of "performance" focused coaching. No matter where you look you will see coaches and "trainers" advertising their "sports performance" services. From crossfit gyms, to gymnastic studios, to batting cages. No matter where you go, you will find someone trying to tell you how their "system" works.
The truth of the matter is that unless you are dealing with a Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach (CSCS) that has an education and has been tested by the National Strength and Conditioning Association then you are not getting the real deal and are wasting your time and money.
Training athletes for performance related results requires a greater wealth of knowledge and experience that simple personal trainers with their weekend certification can give you.
Your athletic career is too important to be left in the hands of unprofessional and underqualified individuals who do not care about getting you to the next level.
Yes, it is more expensive to work with an actual coach but the results you will get, as well as the wealth of knowledge you will have access to in regards to boosting your performance on and off the field, is well worth the price.
Hope to hear from you soon!