One of the biggest reasons why we are so pumped to add in Strength and Conditioning to our facility is that it can really give our athletes the edge in performance through a season. This is especially true with our baseball and softball athletes, as it still seems there are many misconceptions about strength training in the baseball/softball world. You still hear from people that weight training will cause pitchers to lose range of motion and get "too bulky". Or that they shouldn't lift heavy because they just need to "tone". Hearing things like this shows that we still need to get the word out on how beneficial a quality strength training program can be; One of my first baseball clients trained with me for one off season and went from throwing 85-87 mph to 91-93 mph. Needless to say he was a great billboard for me and he started bringing some of his college teammates to train. In my opinion many high school players would benefit a lot more being in the gym during the fall and winter instead of playing fall ball. Here's a few reasons I'd recommend you spend the off seasons hammering it out at the gym and why maybe next fall would be best spent strength training.
Recover Range of Motion
One of the big things baseball and softball players lose throughout a season is internal rotation in the shoulder. If this range of motion isn't recovered through the off season it can put you in a bad spot at the start of the following season. Taking the extra time through the fall and winter to recover range of motion will help you get healthy and stay healthy for the upcoming season. A good strength and conditioning coach takes into consideration range of motion as much as they doing building strength and stacking weight onto the bar.
<-- Look at that shoulder getting after it! Better take care of it, so it can succeed under that stress.
2. Weight & Weight
Not only putting on weight but lifting big weight. So this has two parts. The average weight for a big leaguer is 210 lbs. Now I'm not saying your son or daughter is going to want to try and get to 210 lbs in the off season but I am saying they want to be putting on muscle, size, and strength. Baseball and softball are power sports, in order to produce power we have to be able to produce the most amount of force in the quickest amount of time. Building a solid base of strength will allow us to be as powerful as possible. When you think of an at bat we all know you don't go up there and swing the bat wildly as many times as possible and hope you hit the ball, it's a very calculated swing and with the power. You may take 1-3 swings in an at bat and be done. Shouldn't your training program reflect this type of movement? Lifting heavy and moving big weight is much more sport specific to baseball and softball; long distance running and high repetition training has it's place in a program but the real difference maker is being able to produce power.
This one goes out to all the nerds reading; FORCE x VELOCITY = POWER that is the equation we need to take into consideration when we're trying to increase athletic power. These are some of the things that go into a quality training program.
3. Prevent Injuries
One of the objections to weight training in the baseball/softball world is that they'll get injured in the gym. If you're getting injured at the gym you probably need someone to show you proper exercise technique and to take you through an evaluation. A good evaluation will show you what imbalances need to be worked on and what movement patterns need to be cleaned up. Improving your movement and working on muscular imbalances is going to help you stay healthy through a season. The best way to combat injuries is to get ahead of them in the off season and prepare your body to take on a full season.
Taking a long term approach to your development as a baseball/softball player should include regular strength and conditioning. Fall ball has it's place and you may still be able to do fall ball while committing to a training program (as fall ball is usually less demanding). But if you have to choose between fall ball or an off season strength program take at look at your needs before committing to a casual fall ball league for a few extra games.
Thanks for reading and enjoy making your off-season worth it!
- Jeremy Howard
Owner & Lead Coach
Catching IQ Sports Performance