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Baseball players, no doubt, go through long and frequent season schedules and so every fitness coach has to determine whether they are undertraining or overtraining. There is a delicate balance between the two and being able to maintain this balance will affect how well your team performs in the games. In order to have a balance, there are two aspects that need to be focused on. One, the workload that the players perform in the gym must be enough to cause a change in homeostasis so that it drives adaptation, yet it shouldn’t be in excess such that it leads to unmanageable levels of physical stress. Two, there should be sufficient recovery to enable adaptation, but not too much that it negatives affects the next workout. What to aim for:

  • Recovery

For baseball players, they should have at least two consecutive recovery days every week if they can be implemented into the training schedule. Back-to-back days have proven to be effective as they offer the body a chance to naturally “reset” before the player can embark on the next week of training. These two days will transform practice from an endless continuation of a mind-numbing activity into a fresh start.

  • Training volume

There is no disputing that the training volume of baseball athletes is normally very high in the hours that are put in every week. However, lots of training time does not always equate to effective training. With the right elements put in place so that a balance is struck, you should be able to spot undertraining such as in strength and conditioning. Measure effectiveness against training volume to spot possible under-training of athletes.

  • Setting a training goal

If you are exerting too much stress on the body that it is unable to adapt enough, it may lead to exhaustion.  Instead, in every training session, the goal should be to enable the player to become the best athlete they can become. During in-season, baseball players should train with good intensity though not maximum intensity. By pulling the reins on intensity as a coach, you should be able to cut on exhaustion levels that often result in overtraining. Set measurable goals, and track the successes of each player.

Cooldowns are essential when wrapping up a baseball workout or bringing to an end an intense practice session. A cooldown is an important transition between your active and non-active self. It is what brings intense exercise to a halt and ushers in rest. This helps avoid complications such as blood pooling, fainting, dizziness as well as a spike in stress hormones. As one should warm-up before intense physical activity, the cooldown afterward is just as important.

CoolDown and Physiology

Pursuing high-level baseball training has many demands and it causes the body to undergo numerous internal changes to meet these demands.

One, considering the activity level involved, expect your breathing rate and heart rate to be highly elevated compared to when you are in a rested state.

Two, expect the rate of blood flow to be higher as well as blood content in the muscles that are at work.

Three, your body is going to contain a high concentration of the by-products that are linked to fatigue in your muscle cells that include H+ and lactate.

Four, you are still going to be psychologically alert at the end of the session and this means that there will be neurotransmitters and hormonal shifts in the body. All these are reasons why it is important for an effective cooldown.

Furthermore, there are other benefits to be gotten from having a cooldown. For instance, a cooldown can be leveraged to work on the things that are essential that cannot be catered for in the warm-up or the workout. Take, for example, static stretching. When performed during exercise, it has been shown to cut on power output. However, this doesn’t mean that it is of no use. It is especially effective in cutting down on the levels of stress hormone to aid in recovery. It also improves in mobility or flexibility of the target tissues.

Another benefit to a cooldown routine is that you can improve on highly technical drills on sprinting that you may not be good at. Activity that leads to this include backpedals, cariocas, butt kicks, shuffle variations among others.

Coming Up With a CoolDown

The cooldown session should begin immediately after the last exercise. It should last between 3-5 minutes. The activity should aid in bringing the body to a resting state. Activities include light exercise, deep breathing, and tissue-specific mobility routines that target your weaknesses.

In a bid to get better at the game, baseball players may have an exercise regimen that they’ve used for years. Whether in the gym or on the track, it’s always best to engage in exercises that help in skill development – and geared specifically to help enhance performance in your given sport. However, there are some training mistakes that as a baseball player you may be engaging in that might actually be working against your performance in the game. In this piece, we are going to identify three common baseball training mistakes:

Bodybuilder training

There’s a great difference between weight training and bodybuilding though most people are not aware of this. The principles that govern both practices are very different. One thing to understand is that having big muscles will not automatically mean that you will perform better or even stronger in the sport. It’s building muscles that perform in the game that will help improve your role. Baseball is not about being the biggest guy on the field but being a great player. As such, training tailored to baseball aims at increasing one’s baseball performance- and the bodybuilder training can work counter to this objective.

Powerlifter training

Although this training is not as bad as the bodybuilder training, it still misses the point of baseball training. In order to excel in baseball, you will need speed, conditioning, endurance, strength, explosiveness, agility and you’ll need to be able to exude all these qualities throughout the game. On the other hand, powerlifters are only required to maintain the skills specific to their sport for under 5 secs per lift. Another reason why powerlifting is bad is the sum volume of the heavy lifting required in order to attain the strength of a powerlifter. This may have adverse effects on the joints and may leave one prone to injury. Powerlifting may not be overly bad but should be followed with caution and specific to the benefits of baseball play.

Generic cardio

Of course cardio has its benefits but going for a leisure run does not activity benefit general baseball conditioning. A good conditioning plan will help achieve the needs of a specific athlete and also achieve the specific sport’s needs. Taking part in generic cardio may not meet these two objectives. You need cardio that is tailored to meet your needs on the field and in play. Sprinting, focusing on high energy boosts, for example, could be a great cardio option for baseball.

Bottom line is to try and keep most of your training specific to what your sport calls for. Augment that with general exercises, and you can build your body to meet the needs of most any sport.

It’s important for every player to complete a “pre-exercise” before they undertake a full exercise session. Stretching helps cut on soreness as well as injury. However, as we all know, every sport has its particular muscle groups that it utilizes. In baseball, the muscles in use include most of the body, with heavy usage on the arms, legs, and shoulders.  For this reason, stretching is advised before a full-fledged workout and even before and after a game. Here are some basic, yet important tips.

Warm up

You can get your body warmed up by engaging in a brisk jogging or walking session for 5 to 10 minutes. If you are operating in limited space or indoors, you can choose to jog or march in one place with high knees.

Shoulder exercises

There are numerous ways you can get the shoulders limbered up. A common way is holding your arms out to your sides and then making circles. Start off slowly before enlarging the circle size till you get to windmills, that is, your arms almost turning vertically. Go with this activity for a minute or so before changing directions. Additionally, you can also hold your arms down to your sides and then embark on shoulder circles where you move just the shoulders forward, up and back for a minute before going in the opposite direction.

Loosening the body

For better-throwing flexibility, you want your body to be relaxed and loosened and torso stretches are a great way to do this. Start off by crossing your arms over the chest and spreading your feet a little wider than shoulder width. Next, turn the body from the waist to the farthest you can go on one side and then do the same on the other side. Do this for 30 to 60 seconds. Next, lie down on your back with your hands outstretched while your feet on the ground and the knees bent. Twist your body from your waist in order to lower the knees to the ground on one side. Revert to the original position and then do the same on the other side. Do this for one minute.

When an exercise session comes to an end, do some static stretches. Get into a stretch position and then keep at it without bouncing. Do this for half a minute and repeat at least three times. Ensure you stretch the shoulders and your legs, as well.

Augment these ideas with your own stretching techniques. It doesn’t take a lot of time to warm up your body with stretching, and the benefits are well worth it!

All coaches and baseball players alike are focused on the season, and winning is often at the top of their minds. However, this persistent focus could easily lead to overtraining without the notice of either the coaching staff or the players. So how do you establish whether the team is training excessively? Think “period”.

Training Periodization

The time of the year is paramount in determining when and where baseball athletes should be going all in with their practice or when to tone things down a bit.

Pre-season

During the pre-season period is when you want to ensure the intensity of the training is high and concentrate on the movements that will be specific to the sport. Gradually as the season nears, you should reduce the volume of work that you’ll be doing but at the same time ramping up on the specificity of the exercise selection. Finally, when it’s a week before the season, give room for a de-load or “taper and peak” effect, which will optimize the players’ conditions as the season kicks off.

In-Season

During the season, ensure you focus mostly on auto-regulation. This means gauging the team and regulating the intensity of their practice. In most cases, baseball players need to reduce the volume of the training in this period to give room for maximum recovery and that they have optimal performance. Additionally, you should incorporate other recovery measures such as Epsom salt baths, contrast showers, massages and of course sleep.

Post-Season

When the curtains come down on the season, hand the team an off-season gift of a one or two weeks off that is exempt of all high-impact training. This means no hitting the gym, lifting weights or doing heavy cardio. As a coach, ensure that this time is mandatory to all the athletes, as it will help rejuvenate their minds and bodies.

After the break is over and training resumes, avoid heavy work that will directly load the spine until the players are a few weeks in.

Besides the season timing, other factors to consider include nutrition, stress management, sleep, training experience, mindset, the current recovery capacity and current work capacity as these factors can assist the players in working hard or hinder them. Schedule out a smart routine throughout the year in order to maximize performance during the on-season.

 

As a coach, whether in the Little League or Major League, I bet your focus is on having your team hitting the ball harder, running faster or throwing further, along with improving the overall performance of each player. However, proper training – both mentally and physically – is most paramount for paramount results. Focused and consistent training is specific and progressive towards enhanced performance. Yet, intense training is often not pain-free. There are really only two strategies to help players deal with injuries: don’t make a given injury worse or work to avoid injuries altogether (the latter, easier said than done).

 

 

  • Pain-free training

There is a common training cliché – no pain no gain. This couldn’t be further from the truth. When a player is injured or hurt, it won’t always be beneficial for them to train through the pain, especially if the injury brings acute pain. If a player is injured, continued training could be delaying their healing process or even damaging their tissues if not done properly. This will, in turn, hurt their performance and will have adverse effects on the team. Players should learn to train and work out around the injured area while following smart PT therapies for the impacted zone.

  • Handle old injuries carefully

Players who had been injured previously have a higher chance of getting injured again in the same area. Many players are not aware of this and that is why they get injured when doing a particular movement, heal and then revert to the same movement without changing their routine. Work the injured area slowly, starting with low-intensity exercises. Ensure of following proper techniques while training or working out. In spite of being careful, it doesn’t mean that you should neglect these injury sites. Lack of training will make them weak and even more prone to injury.

  • Conditioning workouts

Put simply, the lower the conditioning levels of your players, the faster they will get fatigued. The faster they are fatigued, the faster their technique will whither. And when technique goes array, it often leads to injury. As such, improve on the players’ conditioning levels as it will help fight fatigue and thus steer clear of injury risk.

  • Sleepytime

Sleep also works towards or against natural healing. Studies have shown that teens and adults need to clock in at least 7 hours every night if they are to reduce the risk of injury. When your players get 7 to 9 hours, it will also improve on their baseball performance at multiple levels, including injury risk.

Train hard, but train smart. Follow proper technique, take special care of your previously-injured areas, and remember to get your Zs.

Image By dcJohn

If a baseball team, whether in Little Leagues or in the Majors, is to succeed, it has to have a solid training program in place. Considering that teams perform differently regardless of the league, chances of getting positive results are highly dependent on how good the training/practice program a team has, among other things. So what makes for a good training program? As a coach, let’s take a look at the must-have items:

  • Should be specific

Specificity means coming up with training activities that produce specific results exclusive to baseball athletes. It means crafting exercises that get as close as possible to simulating the target activity. However, it is not confined to the exact movement that one is trying to mimic – which is something many coaches strive to achieve. Activities such as Bulgarian split squats and single leg hip thrusts have been found to contribute immensely to a player’s running speed yet they are miles away from actually running. For this reason, a training program should incorporate all exercises that help improve specific movements in the playing field to be most effective.

  • Training should be pain-free

The injury rates in baseball games are somewhat high, so why should we add to the problem during practice? For this reason, it is paramount that training is free from pain. Training is supposed to make a player better at the game, add endurance, and strengthen the body. Pain limits the range of motion and amount of load that a player can place on his/her body. A good training program should focus on working around pain and not through it.

  • Progression

Progress is achieved in different forms. It encompasses less pain, heavier loads, faster movement, more confidence and of course better technique. Plus great coordination is also what you’d list down as good progress. When you focus on all these objectives when designing a training program, it should lead to performance enhancement and better player stats.

  • Great technique

This is a must-have in every training program. Without great technique in movement, it won’t be able to achieve proper progression due to poor motor patterns and bad habits while in the gym. For this reason, focus on nailing down the proper technique. Excellent technique tends to beget excellent results.

 

The coach of every baseball team regardless of the league they are in plays a huge role in the success of the team. For this reason, every coach should learn how to communicate effectively with the players, other coaches, and trainers. What meshes a team together is communication, both verbal and non-verbal. When everyone has accepted and respects the coach, it leads to success. For this reason, here are a few helpful tips that every coach should focus on:

  • Be strategic with your knowledge

This is arguably the best advice you’ll receive in coaching school (if there’s such a thing). Good coaches place a priority on the context and not on the content they have. This means that a good coach chooses to be purposeful in their communication and not try to show how knowledgeable they are each chance they get. They focus on asking questions to hear what the athlete wants when asking for advice and provide direction as needed. Good coaches realize that in many cases if an athlete has too much information to work with, they may struggle to make sense of it all. Be strategic in the content and quantity of instruction you give your athletes. Keep it positive, but constructive.

  • Body language

Many coaches are not aware that they pass messages to their athletes non-verbally. However, this communication is just as important when trying to build a real coaching relationship with the team. As such, every coach should be aware that how they carry themselves and how they communicate often speak louder than the actual words themselves. Movement, posture, the tone of voice, eye contact, how one looks and listening ability speak volumes and help determine how others see you. These non-verbal clues help instill respect and confidence in your coaching abilities.

  • Being effective vs being informative

It’s not all about the information that you have, but rather how effective you deliver that information. Instead of using drawn-out explanations on the field, why not simplify it? Telling long stories to make your point don’t tend to foster understanding. Keep your information simple and to the point. Ensure that you explain to the team in a way they can understand. Information will not be effective if you cannot communicate it effectively. Remember that clarity results in the desired action while complexity can bring confusion.

Exude confidence and leadership. Players will follow and adopt those same positive characteristics to use throughout their lives.

 

Baseball is a favorite pastime for many Americans. Growing up, many of us lived and breathed baseball, with each of us having our favorite team. We had more than one lively conversation at the dinner table surrounding the Dodgers, Yankees, and Cubs. Many of us kids dreamed of making it to the Big Leagues as much for the love of the game and fame, as for the mammoth contracts awaiting us.

Little did we know that not all pro players become multi-millionaires. Although generally well-compensated, what a baseball player takes home depends on several factors including;

  1. Job Description

Major League Baseball can only accommodate a maximum of 30 teams consisting of 25 players each. These 750 players are expected to play up to 162 games every season. Minor leagues, on the other hand, consist of about 200 teams totaling to 6,000 active players. Unfortunately, only a few of these players get lucky to play in the major league teams. Of course, playing in the Minors cannot be compared to major league baseball in terms of salaries. However, doing what you love, even if in the Minors, is a pretty cool career no matter what.

  1. Education

Although getting a formal education is not necessarily a requirement to qualify to play Major League Baseball, it can indirectly influence the amount of money a player can earn. Some players ultimately get raw deals when signing their contracts due to lack of knowledge or finding a good manager or representation. Exploitation, unfortunately, exists when there is big money involved. Other factors involved with what a player earns obviously depends on their talent, but also on whether they were drafted right after high school, during college or after college.

  1. Image Rights/endorsements

A good number of baseball players are racking up millions of dollars in endorsements each year. For this to happen, a player needs to develop a big name in the game. A perfect example of a great baseball player who has earned good money through image rights is Jeter. It’s a well-known fact that Jeter pocketed $9 million every year in endorsements before his retirement. Another one is David Ortiz who earns a cool $4 million in off-field earnings every year. A big part of a player’s earnings can come from an assortment off-the-field deals.

  1. Iconic Status

Many legendary baseball players earn millions of dollars in salary every year due to their iconic status and name recognition. Teams will do everything possible to contract such a player. An iconic figure like Alex Rodriguez is recorded as having earned a whopping $33 million in a single season in 2010. Of course, no matter how “iconic” a player is, they still need to perform.

  1. Position of play

Certain baseball players earn more salaries than their teammates depending on where they play. Starting pitchers are typically the highest paid in baseball, followed closely by First basemen and Catchers, along with those players sports high batting averages. Generally, you have to be the best all around in your position to earn fat pay.

Virtually, all successful pro baseball players got into the sport for the love of the game. However, a big salary and endorsements can make the game that much sweeter.

Like all athletes, professional baseball players can end up in retirement due to various factors that include age, health complications, other commitments, long-term injuries or just no longer performing at a top level. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. Whether a player has had a longtime career or one that was cut short by a game-ending injury, there is indeed life after MLB. In many cases, the path chosen by a retired player can be highly rewarding, both personally and financially.

Here are just a few options that many retired ballplayers seek out.

  1. Entrepreneurship

Incredible entrepreneurs such as Derek Jeter (CEO of Miami Marlins), Doug Mirabelli (Real Estate Mogul), Mark Wohlers (Real Estate), David Eckstein (Fashion Entrepreneur), and Randy Johnson (Randy Johnson Photography) are all perfect examples of former baseball players who successfully ventured into business after retiring from the game. Leaving the lifestyle and fame of professional baseball can be depressing for some players, but they should see it as a stepping-stone to other great endeavors.

  1. Baseball analysts

There is a great number of former baseball players who are making a career for themselves as baseball analysts after retirement. The most popular ones include; Harold Reynolds, Sean Casey, Orel Hershiser, Ron Darling, Keith Hernandez, Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz among many others. Talented and vocally-sound players can have a brand new career as long as they are passionate and experienced enough to give their opinions during pregame or even postgame coverage. While not every former baseball player becomes a good TV analyst, most of them have what it takes to give fans valuable insights on the game.

  1. Baseball coaches

With valuable, on-field experience, a natural option after retirement may be coaching. Many players go on to coach teams from Little League to College or even MLB. With profound commitment, innovativeness, creativity, and determination, a former player can emulate great baseball player/coaches such as Joe Torre, Casey Stengel, Joe McCarthy, Tony La Russa, Sparky Anderson, and David Well. What a great way to stay involved with the game while continuing to contribute so much to it.

  1. Writers/editors/publishers

Retired baseball players who have a passion for writing/editing and publishing do very well in these fields. Examples of former MLB players who are enjoying such careers include Adrian Cardenas a former New York Yankees great and Jeter a 5-time World Series /14-time All-Star champ. They are a true examples of staying at the top even after retirement from MLB.

  1. Full-time employment

Great baseball players like Jody Gerut (Personal Finance), Brian Johnson (Diversity Consultant), Mickey Morandini-(Upscale Stationery) and Rob Purvis (Banking) and many others have opted for full-time employment after retiring from MLB. They’ve taken advantage of their smarts and work ethics to find successful career paths after leaving baseball.

Retirement from MLB does not have to stop an amazing and productive life. Many retired players use the same mental skills in the “workplace” as they used to make successful careers in baseball.

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