For whatever the reasons, baseball players have generally taken strength training, or simply getting stronger, for granted. Not sure why? It certainly seems, however, that every one of those players is immensely concerned with the mechanics of their swing, or their pitching delivery, or being quicker down the line, or getting jumps on fly balls… Isn’t that an interesting irony? They all want to throw harder, hit for more power and be more explosive, yet, often they seem relatively unconcerned with getting stronger and well organized with their body. Not sure if this really makes sense? Every baseball player, regardless of age, if they truly would like to make baseball a full-time activity, should include some sort of basic to advanced strength program into their daily regimen.A baseball development program should always incorporate a strength training module as part of their year long planner. This type of program is needed for a multitude of reasons. First, baseball is an ultra-explosive game of short bursts of violent, aggressive movement, followed by rest, then it is repeated over and over. Second, strength training and being strong assists the body in incorporating correct bio-mechanical movements patterns that allows the player to make strides in the overall development of the skills on which they are working. Third, just being stronger (baseball strong, by position), will help the player to throw, run and swing with greater authority. Fourth, strength provides, to some degree, an invincibility persona, helping the player develop confidence and presence on and off the field. Fifth, having a strength program or getting stronger helps to eliminate imbalances in the body. Sixth, the elimination of those imbalances play a strong role in the limiting of injuries over the long haul.
Sport Science has come such as long way in the support of being “baseball strong”. Clearly, this science has proved those players that do begin a strength program younger and maintain it over an extensive period will become more explosive and most importantly have less injuries. Remember, this is a sport that is highly dependent on massive bursts of energy and quick reactions with no hesitation. If the body is not trained to do so, it is unlikely the power, arm speed, great jumps and extreme explosiveness will ever come out of the body.
The primary goal for any baseball player is to develop functional strength. The problem with some players that do have a strength program or those who just workout on their own, is that they are prone to have a tendency to basically work the “show” muscles while avoiding the “go” muscles. Yep, that’s right, the “show” muscles…pecs and biceps! Gotta have the big chest and big arms. That may well be fine if the player wants to body build or become a competitive bench press champ. Just not sure how much it will help on the ball field?
Just what is functional baseball strength? It is the development of strength that is targeted to specific movements within the sport and by position. Players need sagittal plane strength; frontal plane strength as well as rotational and anti-rotational strength. Bottom line, players need to train the neural and muscular systems that are specific to their desired positions.
Since the science of sport has become such a huge factor in strength training for baseball players, opinions will vary on what is the best methodology of delivering programs. There are as many methods of training a baseball player in gaining functional strength as there are bunt defences and specialty plays on the field. And that makes for good conversation.
BUT, here is the bottom line. Do your research and find a reputable program that you believe in … don’t let a lack of strength be the Missing Link in your development as a baseball player; get with an appropriate strength training program.
Good luck with getting baseball strong!