In the sport of baseball, there are a few different components that can separate a good player from a player taking their game to the next level.
Many athletes will work on so many different skills to improve their game, instead of focusing on specific areas to improve their fundamentals. Training multiple characteristics at once won’t always lead to success. We see a lot of athletes skip over the basics and jump straight to the trendy exercises and the more complex programs. You typically don’t see the most effective programs posted on social media because they tend to be relatively boring and repetitive.
The easiest and most effective way is to focus on two key characteristics that separate the good player from the great player. In baseball, those two keys are rotational power and shoulder stabilization.
Key #1 – Rotational Power
One fact that everyone can agree on is that baseball is a sport that goes from 0 to 100 in a matter of seconds. Simply put, baseball is a sport that is primarily power-based. By increasing their power capacity, the athlete will offend see improvements in their performance on the field. Whether it’s hitting, throwing, or sprinting, it all requires a high level of power to improve an athlete’s game. The biggest area to target is rotational power.
Exercises to utilize:
Med ball rotational slams
While standing alongside a solid wall (with one shoulder facing the wall), get a medicine ball (not a super heavy one, think of moving lighter weight faster) and set your feet shoulder-width apart. Take the ball and rotate it to the hip opposite of the wall (loading) and quickly rotate the to the other side and throw the med ball into the wall with power (mimicking a swing or throw rotation). Catch the ball, load, and throw again. Repeat facing the opposite direction on the next set.
- Band-resisted rotations
This one is similar to the med ball exercise but uses a resistance band. Set up a resistance band on a pole/ squat rack; set your body in either a batting stance, pitching stance, or throwing stance, and perform a quick rotational movement while holding the band in both hands.
Both exercises can be tailored to the player’s position. Here are the benefits of these exercises:
- Increased ability to accelerate/decelerate through rotational movements
- Decreased injury risk (kinesthetic awareness)
- Increased rate of force through rotation
The better a baseball player can rotate with power (force/velocity), the better they can deliver when throwing and hitting.
Key #2 Shoulder Stabilization
Whether you’re hitting or throwing, the shoulders need proper care and attention when playing baseball. Not only should it be an area of concern for every player, but a specific prehab routine should also be implemented. One of the most common injuries in baseball is a torn labrum. Why does this happen?
One theory is repeated stress (throwing/hitting repetitive motions) with a lack of mobility/strength in the shoulder and thoracic(mid-back) region, as well as overall strength in the core posterior region. The biggest area to target is shoulder stabilizers.
*Work on thoracic(mid-back) region, glutes, and rotator cuff muscles*
Exercises to utilize:
- Thoracic rotations (Open Books)
Lay on your side with hips at 90 degrees and knees bent. Arms are straight out in front of you with hands palm to palm. Open and close your top arm like a book while keeping your knees together. Keep your eyes on the top hand as it moves.
- Banded pull apart
With a weighted resistance band, hold the band horizontally about shoulder-width apart with palms facing up. Stretch the band apart laterally and pinch your shoulder blades together as the band moves closer to your chest.
Are you a baseball player looking to improve your game? There is a lot of information out there on the internet but, in the end, most cases require the simplest solutions. Focus on these two keys: improving rotational power and shoulder stabilization, and watch your game rise to the next level.
Compete Sports Performance and Rehab offers individualized training programs to improve your game and really take you to the next level of competition while also focusing on injury prevention and foundational developments as well. Contact us today for more details at www.competeperformance.com