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.
- Mass= Force Production
There is a common saying in the world of baseball, “mass equals gas.” We spend a lot of time in the off-season focusing on putting anywhere from 10-20 pounds on our athletes to help them increase their ability to produce force at high outputs. The limiting factor in many athletes is their ability to produce greater rates of force production, especially youth athletes. If mass is decreasing throughout the season, maintaining the same levels of force production will be difficult.
Staying on top of nutrition and sneaking in extra calories throughout the season becomes very prevalent to ensure the body weight gained over the off-season is being maintained.
Make sure to weigh yourself on a consistent basis and take note of your performance if your body weight is decreasing. It’s very helpful to create a nutrition log and track the number of calories you’re taking in and the quality of the food sources. It becomes even more helpful when you have a qualified nutrition coach who can observe your food log and where the mistakes and limitations are, then the necessary adjustments can be made.
In the following newsletter, we’ll discuss the importance of maintaining and increasing strength, speed, and power output in-season.
I cannot overstate enough the importance of mitigating injury risk in athletes, but this becomes even more prevalent during the season when baseball players are playing multiple games a week in addition to practice and workouts off the field. It becomes even more invaluable to place a premium on daily active recovery, minimizing soreness, and continuing to train during the season.
In-season does not have to be complicated at all. Off-season strength and conditioning should not be complicated, flashy, or too advanced for any athlete as a matter of fact. There should always be a seamless transition from one training phase to the next, one exercise to the next, and one season to the next (off-season to in-season, in-season to pre-season, etc.).
In-season workouts can be kept short and sweet and to the point. During a normal off-season workout, it may take athletes 90 minutes to 2 hours to check off all the boxes in their training session, including post-workout recovery work. This also includes following a high/medium/low intensity model to consolidate stress throughout the training week.
With in-season training, we can accomplish everything we need to in 2,3, or 4 micro-training sessions, meaning we’re only spending 35-40 minutes in the weight room to accomplish the work that needs to be done to maintain or improve physical performance. These workouts will be less in volume than they would be during the off-season. In the off-season we may hit up to 4 or 5 sets of top end work, whereas in-season we may hit only 2, 3 max, work sets to ensure we’re maximizing intensity and keeping volume on the back end.
This all plays a role in the athlete’s ability to stay as fresh and prepared as possible for what really matters most during the season, which is to go out and compete at a higher level on the field.
In the next newsletter, we’ll discuss different training models position players and pitchers (depending on starter or relief pitcher) should follow depending on game schedule and the role they play on the team.