Physical Exercises - Too Young?

Physical exercises are the only method of toned and strengthening our bodies, but when are youngsters too young to exercise, or are they ever too young?

 I vividly remember being in 8th grade, which put me at 13 or 14 years of age, watching the Freshman Wrestling Team compete in a tournament.

I saw my patsy at the 133 lb. division, he was a competent wrestler, as he was good at the basic wrestling holds and maneuvers, but there were two glaring differences between he and I.

I was a lot stronger and the poor guy was nearly blind without his glasses, and as his opponent had a distinct advantage until the two would physically grapple and touch, he seemed to always be wrestling from behind, points wise. -- Physical Exercises

Football season had just ended and I was in the school gym with other wrestler hopefuls, running and doing exercises trying to lose the weight we’d gained for football. Taking a small breather, my hands on my knees, sweating and panting when I saw my patsy came walking out of the locker room, but there was something terribly different about him.

What was different were bulging biceps, huge shoulders which v-shaped and narrowed into a 32” waist, his legs were ripped and the six pack abs were more of an 8 pack.

As I talked to him he explained he had to do something to compensate for his poor eye sight, so he lifted weights all summer to improve his strength.
I was amazed at what 3 - 4 months of a vigorous weight lifting program had done for him. He was massive and I spent the rest of my high school career trying to catch up with him, but never could. --- Physical Exercises

This 14 - 15 year old had completely transformed his body in less than 6 months…. And what does this have to do with baseball?

It’s a glaring example that you are never too young to begin fitness training!

As a coach teaching 7-12 year old players, it’s your part of your responsibilities to stress baseball fitness. I’m not inferring you push kids too young to lift weights, but a 15 lb over weight 9 year old will probably become a rotund 16 year old who will quit baseball because he can’t play with the excess weight. ---  These few exercises and stretches will give you a good base on which to expand your physical fitness program. I can not stress it enough.

   Begin Preparing For Spring Training Now !

Taking an active role in doing something to encourage your players to be fit is not easy, but if it’s any conciliation I have had more than 1 young man sincerely thank me years later for what I did.

Although I’m sure this is not politically correct any more, and I don’t care, this is what I did to promote fitness on my team.

Let’s assume I have 2 overweight players on the team.

I would give a Baseball fitness talk to the entire team. Not every practice…once will usually suffice. I’d explain the importance of stretching, strength training, etc. --- Physical Exercises

After practice I would take my 2 heavies to the side away from everyone else, and I’d explain my concern that their extra weight would keep them from reaching their full potential. I’d try to motivate them by explaining how much I was counting on them as an integral part of the team.

I encouraged both of them to run everyday, just as I did my pitchers. To exercise any way they could, whether it be playing jump rope with their sisters or chasing the dog trying to get the ball back.

I stressed to consciously perform any task which would increase their Baseball fitness and drop the excess pounds, and for the most part I was very successful at motivating my players to stay fit.

I said, for the most part. It’s hard to transform a youth when you see both his parents and siblings are overweight, but you have to try.

You owe it to the kids to help them on the road to a life time of physical fitness just as much as teaching them the finer points of baseball.

Of course this may put a little embarrassing pressure on you, as the coach, if you’re overweight. It is what it is. Explain to the kids you don’t want them to make the same mistakes you made. --- Physical Exercises

Be sincere. Be honest. Kids are uncanny at picking up B.S. Don’t do it. Exaggerating to make a point is Ok, Just keep it somewhat believable, but no lying. It’ll come back to bite you in the butt on other issues.

Remember my little tale if you can. The later you wait to start a fitness program of some sort, the farther you fall behind. And like in my case, NEVER catch up.

 Muscle Building - Fat Busting Exercises:

Let’s put together a sample exercise routine to prepare us for the rigors of Spring Training.

  There are two specific issues we should be addressing in the beginning of our training. We should begin strengthening certain body parts and we should begin a flexibility program.

Strengthening: -- Physical Exercises

  The initial stage of Spring Training should be preparing our legs for the long season of ball, which puts a lot of stress on our bodies. Make no mistake about it, our legs are the foundation the rest of the body depends upon and weak legs means weak baseball abilities.

  May I remind you it’s not just Pitchers who need to build up their leg strength, but rather every player on the team who plans on hitting. Oh yeah, hitting does require strong legs. --- Physical Exercises

  Granted Pitchers and Catchers are the first to Spring training, but running and leg conditioning is not the only reason they’re scheduled to arrive before the rest of the team. So don’t think you’ll get a free pass using that for an excuse.

Best Basic Leg Builders:

  Squats and Lunges have proved to be excellent leg strength builders achieving maximum results in the shortest time. The best leg exercises are what is called “All Functioning - Multi Joint” exercises because they build muscle balance and work your large muscles, which help you the most.--- Physical Exercises

 Lunges: An excellent leg exercise which builds your quadriceps, hamstrings, gluts as well as adductors, abductors and calves.

 Basic Lunge:  ---  These few exercises and stretches will give you a good base on which to expand your physical fitness program. I can not stress it enough.

  Begin Preparing For Spring Training Now !

 Begin: Step forward, gliding your foot along the ground until your foot is flatly and firmly planted a few feet in front of you. Bend your front and back legs until your rear knee is 1” from the floor. Your front foot should be directly below your knee, both legs bent at a 90 degree angle.

  Using a basic lunge exercise, lift your body up while at the same time bringing your hips forward until back at original standing position. Repeat exercise beginning with the other leg moving forward. --- Physical Exercises

  Never lunge forward landing on your toes, be flat footed. Never let your knee wobble side to side and keep your body upright, do not lean forward. You can use a chair or other devise to help you maintain your balance.

  There is no concrete number of sets, repetitions or weight to use. Everyone is obviously different, but here is a general guideline for exercises with weights.

Beginners: This doesn’t mean 10 year olds. It means starting a new program after an extended period of no lifting.

 2 sets of 15 - 20 Reps. Remember muscle memory? Well, the beginning stages of this routine are to build or reacquaint our neurological system with organizing the muscles required to perform this exercise.

 Do Not Push It At This Initial Stage

 Intermediate Your body has become accustomed to the routine and muscle soreness is at a minimum.

 3 sets of 8 - 12 Reps  Using heavier weights the targeted muscles will feel the burn and increased muscle mass will be created.---  These few exercises and stretches will give you a good base on which to expand your physical fitness program. I can not stress it enough.--- Physical Exercises

 Advanced  I do not recommend this stage for baseball players, but it needs to be acknowledged.

 3 - 5 sets of 1 - 20 Reps. Extreme weight usage.

 Using these two exercises along with jogging ( in place if the weather is too bad ) will prepare the legs for the extreme demand which they’ll be subjected to throughout Spring training and beyond. --- Physical Exercises

 Building muscle is only half the training program. As you build muscle the mass increases in size and becomes tight with no elasticity. This will not only minimize your range of motion, but is an open invitation to a season ending muscle pull or tear.

  You must maintain flexibility while building muscle. There are hundreds of stretching exercises for the legs and entire body, but I’ll only list four as an example and guide. These stretches will minimize any leg injuries, but are only examples.

 Pyramid Stretches the hips, hamstrings and strengthens the quads and body core.

Procedure: Stand with legs slightly wider than shoulder width. Twist the upper body to the left and reach down for the left ankle. Do not bend the right leg. Hold this stretch for 10 seconds, return to starting position and repeat using other arm and leg. --- Physical Exercises

Quadricep Stretch in Lunge Stretches front leg’s hamstring and back leg’s hip flexor and quad.

Procedure: Kneel on your right leg. Extend your left leg out bent at a 90 degree angle at the knee. Your right leg is extended backwards from the knee. Placing your left hand on your left knee for balance…reach around and grab your right ankle pulling the leg upward. Hold this stretch for 10 seconds and repeat with other leg.--- Physical Exercises
 
These few exercises and stretches will give you a good base on which to expand your physical fitness program. I can not stress it enough.

   Begin Preparing For Spring Training Now !

 Head to Knee Stretches hamstring and calves.

Procedure: Sitting on floor. Bend your left leg pulling your foot as close to your crouch as possible. Extend your right leg straight outward. Lean over reaching for your right ankle. Hold this stretch for 10 seconds and repeat for other leg.

 These few exercises and stretches will give you a good base on which to expand your physical fitness program. I can not stress it enough.

   Begin Preparing For Spring Training Now !

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