Why do baseball players need to be strong? (by: Joe Meglio @ www.elitefts.com)
“Aside from skill, physical strength is the most important attribute an athlete can possess. It is the foundation upon which other athletic skills are built. Speed, agility, flexibility, mobility, power, and explosiveness are components of baseball that can be significantly improved by dramatic increases in strength. Baseball is a ballistic sport that involves quick and explosive movements. In order to increase power and speed, you must have a solid base and foundation to build on. The best athletes have incredible relative body strength. Simply put, strong baseball players who are able to produce forceful contractions will be more successful than weak players who rely on skill only. The combination of skill and strength will help baseball players reach their maximum potential.”
How do we encourage and monitor strength gains?
For 16U and 18U, we begin by meeting one-on-one with our players in the Fall to assess their workout regimen, capture strength benchmarks and coordinate with our sports nutritionists to establish weight gain/loss and body composition goals. We continue this conversation throughout the season and help our players make adjustments. Year over year, our 18U players put on 5-12 pounds of lean muscle mass in the off-season. Our players see the benefits weight training offers and know the importance our coaching staff place on continually getting stronger. Strength training is a non-negotiable for our college-bound players.
For younger ages, we encourage players to make strength training part of their daily life and incorporate various components into our winter practices.
What are your strength training objectives at FCA?
Simply put, what’s most important is that all players from 13U to 18U:
1) know proper lifting techniques to maximize gains and reduce risk of injury,
2) can create and follow a workout program with goals,
3) master the lifts and/or body weight exercises for building overall strength for their individual stage of development, and
4) understand how to coordinate with nutrition intake to maximize the gains!
What resources do players have available to get stronger?
All players have access to the Rijo’s gym. And though older players typically belong to a gym and/or workout at school, we discuss their level of weight training education and will point them in the direction of a qualified trainer more often than not.
We have many athletes workout at Strength University (www.strengthuniversity.com) who provides expert instruction on proper lifting techniques and overall strength training. Our 13s and 14s participate in a 6-8 week training session during winter workouts with Strength University to gain competitive knowledge and get stronger!
We also have many players also participate with the Rijo’s strength and agility programs.