With the high school baseball season underway, the hot topic this time of year becomes how to maintain the performance gains we’ve worked so hard to achieve over the course of the off-season. The strategies I’m going to outline throughout the weeks to come apply to all baseball players across the board from youth to the high school and college level.
Earlier this week we discussed the importance of force production, maintaining body weight through proper nutrition, and how a loss of body weight/ mass throughout the season can lead to increased risk of injury and decrease performance outcomes. All these factors play a significant role in a player’s ability to maintain performance outcomes throughout the season. I believe we must look at how we go about managing overall workload and consolidating daily stressors before we look at other factors. As with anything, there will be overlap from one factor to the next, but let’s start with how we go about managing daily workload.
I’ll start by giving an analogy when it comes to consolidating stressors (everything is a stressor including physical, mental, emotional). Imagine water as stress being filled into a cup, if you fill the cup up with too much water, the water overflows. This is comparable to when an athlete adds too much overall workload (intensity, volume, frequency) to their daily regime, over the course of time when all the stressors build up, it will eventually lead to the athlete breaking down in some way, shape or form.
Therefore, we follow a high/medium/low intensity training model at Top Performance Strength. If you can consolidate the stress of the body, then you can allow for maximal recovery and maximal performance outcomes. For this to take place, we need to consolidate high-intensity training days by performing all the high-intensity physical work (sprints, jumps, medicine ball throws, heavy lower body lifts, etc.) combined with the high-intensity skill work on the field (i.e., throwing, long toss, bullpens, etc.).
This model allows us to maximize athletes’ health and recovery by giving them the best opportunity to bounce back stronger by combining all our high-intensity physical and skill-work together on the same day. The training days that follow high-intensity days are more focused on active recovery by improving blood flow, minimizing soreness/ inflammation, improving movement quality, mobility, and addressing several other factors.
In the following newsletter we will elaborate on the topic of consolidating stressors while in-season and begin to outline specific models we use with our players depending on their role with the team as a starter or non-starter.