Use The Preseason To Prepare For Baseball Success

March 13, 2015

Baseball pre-season is going to be here before anyone realizes it! This is an important time for any baseball player as it is the last time before the season begins to prepare their body for the season. Once the season starts, training always takes a back seat to games and practices. This article is going to give you some principles to follow for pre-season training and provide a sample program.

 

Principles:

We’re going to cover the following principles:

  • Build your house on a foundation
  • Strength is important
  • You need to be able to use that strength
  • Protect the shoulders

 

Build your house on a foundation

The strength, power, speed, agility needed for baseball as well as hitting a baseball, and throwing a baseball all require a foundation. Building a foundation helps to increase the ceiling of performance improvements. This means spending time with developing muscle mass, a conditioning base, and the techniques of speed and agility. This should be the focus of the off-season’s training, but if it has not been done then it has to be done here.

 

Strength is important

Strength is a skill and its expression is critical to throwing, hitting, and running. Because it is a skill, it has to be trained year round. It’s prudent to spend at least one session a week, the entire year, on strength. However, when entering the pre-season this physical ability becomes even more important and this means it may need more focus than one time a week in the pre-season.

Baseball begins from the ground, the lower body is important for all of the baseball skills. This means that baseball players need to be performing exercises that involve pushing against the ground like squats.

 

Need to be able to use that strength

Strength is really important in baseball, but the ability to use that strength is also important. Power, the ability to exert strength quickly, is also a skill. Like all skills we have to practice it to become better. Like with strength, it should receive some training year round. In the pre-season, it (like strength) also needs to be a real focus of training.

Baseball players should not be afraid to use multiple tools to improve their power. The Olympic lifts are great, but they also require a lot of time invested in technical training, require special equipment, and may not be forgiving of mistakes. It may be difficult to stick with this kind of program especially when the athletes are on the road. Performing traditional lifts (like the squat) quickly, plyometrics, medicine ball throws, implement training (sandbags, kettlebells, etc.). are all examples of exercises that can be incorporated to develop power. Ultimately the more tools an athlete has to master the better all-around athlete they will be.

 

Protect the shoulders

A hard thing for many strength coaches to accept is that at the end of the day the baseball coaches and the baseball athletes are the clients and the strength coach is going to have to give the client what he wants. Nowhere is this more evident than the belief by some coaches and athletes that certain exercises are bad for the shoulder. You can be armed with all the knowledge, research, and experience that you want to be – but if they believe that you are going to have to make some adjustments to the program or your replacement will. When we get to the program section I’ll show two versions, one as I would do it and one with modifications with this in mind. While both are different, they are still effective.

 

Sample

What follows are two sample weeks of programs. Program A assumes the strength coach has free reign on the program. Program B assumes that the strength coach has restrictions due to the belief that certain exercises are going to be bad for baseball players. Both programs develop the same qualities.

 

Program A

Day One:

Back squat, 5×4-8×75-85%

Romanian deadlifts, 3×6-10

Bench press, 5×4-8×75-85%

Bent-over rows, 3×6-10

Dumbbell shoulder press, 3×6-10

 

Speed/agility (acceleration focus):

5-10×20 meter sprints

5-10x, Cross-over step, sprint, slide (i.e. base stealing), go both directions

 

Day Two:

Power clean, 3×3-6×70-80%

Clean pulls, 3×3-6×75-85%

Medicine ball exercises (chest pass, overhead step and throw, rotate and throw), 10x each

Squat jump, 10x

Long jump, 10x

 

Day Three:

Metabolic conditioning (perform each circuit, within each circuit perform the exercise for 30 seconds, perform the circuit 3x, then move to the next circuit)

 

Circuit 1:

Kettlebell swings

Plank

Push-ups

 

Circuit 2:

Heavy rope slams

Side planks

Bear crawls

 

Circuit 3:

Shuffle

Backpedal

Inchworms

 

Day Four:

Split squats, 5×6-10×70-80% on each leg

Good mornings, 3×6-10

Dumbbell bench press, 5×6-10

Pull-Ups, 3xMax

3-in-1 shoulders, 3×10 each

 

Speed/agility (maximum velocity focus)

Bounds, 3×20-40 meters

5×40-60 meter sprints

 

Day Five:

Split clean, 3×3-6×60-70% on each leg

Dumbbell pulls, 3×3-6

Mini-hurdle hops, 3×20 meters

Box jumps (jump to the box, step down), 10x

Backward overhead throw, 10x

 

Program B (changes are in italics)

Day One:

Front squat, 5×4-8×75-85%

Romanian deadlifts, 3×6-10

Close-grip bench press, 5×4-8×75-85%

Bent-over rows, 3×6-10

Dumbbell 3-in-1 shoulders (front, side, rear raises), 3×10 each direction

 

Speed/agility (acceleration focus):

5-10×20 meter sprints

5-10x, Cross-over step, sprint, slide (i.e. base stealing), go both directions

 

Day Two:

Power clean, 3×3-6×70-80%

Clean pulls, 3×3-6×75-85%

Medicine ball exercises (chest pass, overhead step and throw, rotate and throw), 10x each

Squat jump, 10x

Long jump, 10x

 

Day Three:

Metabolic conditioning (perform each circuit, within each circuit perform the exercise for 30 seconds, perform the circuit 3x, then move to the next circuit)

 

Circuit 1:

Kettlebell swings

Plank

Push-ups

 

Circuit 2:

Heavy rope slams

Side planks

Bear crawls

 

Circuit 3:

Shuffle

Backpedal

Inchworms

 

Day Four:

Split front squats, 5×6-10×70-80% on each leg

Dumbbell or kettlebell one-legged Romanian deadlifts, 3×6-10 each leg

Floor press, 5×6-10×70-80%

Pull-Ups, 3xMax

3-in-1 shoulders, 3×10 each

 

Speed/agility (maximum velocity focus)

Bounds, 3×20-40 meters

5×40-60 meter sprints

 

Day Five:

Split clean, 3×3-6×60-70% on each leg

Dumbbell pulls, 3×3-6

Mini-hurdle hops, 3×20 meters

Box jumps (jump to the box, step down), 10x

Backward overhead throw, 10x