Get to the little league park about a ½ hour before game time and watch the two teams prepare to play one another. You’ll see them all playing catch, but nobody will be stretching. Why? Beats me. Football and Soccer players of ALL ages perform stretching exercises before every practice and every game. Are they better athletes than baseball players?
I don’t think so!
So why don’t you see baseball players before High School age performing Stretching exercises as part of their warm-up routine ? Because for the most part WE as coaches, have failed miserably at realizing the benefits of a baseball stretch program in preventing injuries.
We don’t see the amount of injuries in youth playing baseball as we do in football, so I guess we can wait until injuries increase before reacting. I’m being sarcastic of course.
**The best way to treat injuries is not letting them happen to begin with.**
You, as a “new age” coach will not repeat the mistakes of the older coaches because you now know better.
Baseball Conditioning - Stretching With Bands
A beginning stretching routine should begin at least by age 12, and although the benefit may be nominal, as their muscles have not normally matured to the point of being a pull or strain threat, the benefit no matter how small will help.
The main reason for the 12 year old start is physiological, getting the players as accustomed to stretching, as they are about fielding ground balls. It’s all part of becoming a complete ball player and will become second nature.
We will expand our investigation of fitness as time goes on, but for now there are just a few things to remember.
One, most prior Baseball Coaches, me humbly included, missed the boat in teaching stretching exercises. New coaches should begin implementing a routine asap into their practices.
Two, you don’t have to work yourself into a frenzy performing these and other stretching exercises. That’s not the intent. The intent is to slowly loosen the muscles for peak performance and to reduce injury.
Enhancing A Training Program With Kinetic Bands:
In the never increasing quest to increase strength, agility and speed, the usage of kinetic or resistance equipment have increased as a way to maximize workout results.
Baseball Conditioning - Knee Lifts
This is not a new concept as isometrics, basically the same thing as far providing resistance, has been used for years. Springs and large elastic exercisers have been incorporated into workout routines since the 1900s or earlier.
However, with today’s technology and synthetic materials the variety of the ways this equipment can be utilized have greatly increased to accommodate nearly every sport we play, baseball included.
resistance training while performing the actual physical performance motions you are trying to improve.
This serves to not only strengthen the targeted muscles, but re-enforces muscle and neurological memory. This further engraining of memory decreases reaction time, thus increasing performance.
Increasing Speed: Baseball Conditioning
Technique and strength training can increase your speed. For this drill you would need to be connected in such a way as to give resistance when you raise your knees towards your chest.
Baseball Conditioning - Stronger Pitching Legs
Procedure: Concentrate more on technique than speed of your sprints. Your upper body should be erect, straight over your hips, do not lean forward. Lift your knees as high as you can towards your chest as you run.
The first step is critical in attaining maximum speed as quick as possible, thus reaching balls hit deep in the hole or behind the base. The speed and the explosive power of that first step can be enhanced by performing drills while bands are attached to your affected body part.
Procedure: Attach the bands to each ankle providing resistance while you attempt to open your legs wider.
Baseball Conditioning - 1 Type Of Band
Standing with feet slightly wider than shoulder width, shuffle sideways extending your left leg sideways then bringing your right leg to meet it. When finished repeat using the opposite leg going the opposite direction.
This will increase hip flexor strength, a major muscle for increasing lower body quickness, and when resistance is removed, the legs will react quicker. The cross over step will become explosive allowing more ground to be covered in less time.
Increasing Pitching Strength:
Procedure: Attach bands to both legs. Perform a normal wind up and delivery as well as a stretch and delivery. Hold at every stage for several seconds (example: leg lift, leg plant) building strength in every muscle required to perform each portion of the windup and delivery, enhancing performance.
Increasing Leg Power When Hitting:
Procedure: Attach devise to both ankles. Perform your normal hitting techniques, Starting Mechanism, Stride Forward, Open Hips and follow through with your swing. For maximum performance hit balls off a Tee while performing this drill.
Fitness in Baseball relates not only to physical fitness, but mental, spiritual, preventing injuries, treating injuries and diagnosing injuries. A wide spectrum which I address in the following sites:
Baseball Fitness Is Not Only The Increase In Muscle Mass Or Flexibility, But Falls Into Numerous Categories, Some You Probably Have Never Considered Fitness Related.