Baseball is a great sport. After all, it is the great American pastime. From the minor leagues to the big leagues, people love being a part of it. In addition to the serious baseball athlete, many people enjoy baseball as a recreational sport. No matter what your interest in baseball is, I’m here to tell you that you can see big improvements in your game with sports-specific exercises.
Baseball, like all sports, requires unique strengths. Each position places a specific demand on the body. To properly train your body you need to prepare it for those demands. That is the concept behind sports specific training. This type of training mimics the planes of motion and position an athlete encounters and then adds strength and balance challenges. Sport-specific training improves the baseball-specific strength needed to hit, and the core strength and flexibility needed to hit the ground and throw.
Much of baseball coaching and training is spent on game skills and drills. This is incomplete. It doesn’t matter that you know what to do if you’re not fast or agile enough or don’t have enough power to do it. Generic workouts don’t help you at all on the baseball field. Take the bench press, for example, an exercise that many baseball players do. A bench press is designed to build chest strength and size. It’s great to have a strong chest, but think about the game of baseball and the game situations you face. Where would a chest press help? Should not. You want to perform drills that train you to hit harder, throw harder, run more explosively off the plate, and most of all, develop the core strength required for every movement on the field. These are just some of the skills that are developed through my baseball-specific training.
Another reason sport-specific training is important for all athletes is that it trains the body as a whole, which is how it is used during a baseball game. In other words, you don’t waste time and energy doing bicep curls or shoulder presses, but instead challenge your entire body in creative and effective ways that work specifically to improve the skills needed for baseball.
The importance of core strength, which is vitally important for stability and strength, cannot be underestimated. The core is the nerve center of the body and the source of all its movement. A strong core equals a strong athlete, it’s that simple. Whether you realize it or not, your core is involved in all athletic movements, giving you power, balance, and stability. Your core strength or weakness will dictate how easy or difficult it is for you to play your position on the field.
When you move through your baseball game, you are using your body in its most functional state, in other words, as a whole. You are using the lower and upper body together; you are throwing, spinning, hitting, running and sliding. The list goes on and on. Your core is the foundation of all this movement, and once again, the strength or weakness of that core will dictate how easily you move on the pitch. Baseball players are often in an unstable environment, such as landing on one foot or throwing from an awkward position. You need balance, your balance comes from your center; a strong core equals good balance.
Here’s a perfect example: Think of the shortstop who dives for a ground ball and then jumps to throw it to first, all while spinning and practically in the air. Can a situation be less stable? The power to make that play must come from the core!
If I sound passionate about coaching baseball, well, I am. I see the results firsthand every day. Hundreds of athletes I have trained are enjoying incredible results and it is very exciting. I encourage you to add core training and sport-specific training to your routine. Anyone can do this type of training, and frankly, most people prefer it to boring, repetitive gym workouts. It can also be done in much less time than traditional workouts because the movements are incredibly effective.