There was a time years ago when baseball players did not feel the need to be in great physical shape so baseball workouts were not common. Those days are long past, and the bigger, stronger, and faster motto applies to baseball as well as other sports. Many players cringe with the thought of physical training because, well, it's physical, and involves work and sweat.
Now that summer ball is concluding for most players; it is time to begin preparing some off-season baseball workouts. Taking a break from baseball practice at this time is a good idea because year-round playing can lead to burnout and monotony. Even for those who plan on playing fall baseball, it is not a bad idea to take a little break from baseball activity. A couple of week break from baseball practice should be enough time to rekindle the fire for baseball, without totally losing one's skills.
Before taking the break, an analysis of the season is necessary. With the help of parents and coaches, players should assess the strengths and weaknesses of their play. Of course, improvement in every phase of the game is a never-ending process, but it helps to know where extra focus is needed.
Preparation may also begin for another sport at this time, and that may help to start conditioning for future baseball play. Playing another sport is useful for developing different muscles and skillsets, as well as giving them a mental break needed away from baseball.
However, serious ballplayers should not forget about gaining the edge for next season. The best way to do this is by gaining strength and speed, both mentally and physically. Besides performing the fundamentals, power and speed increases will make those basics and game results easier. This end of season training for baseball does not require a significant amount of equipment and does not involve advanced equipment or machines. The one ingredient necessary though, is motivation.
The first step in the process is creating a mindset. Coaches and parents should always remind players of the value of physical fitness and how that also builds with hustle. Adults should praise players who run on and off the field and those willing to go all out with their effort in practice. They should also give players motivation and ways to increase their strength and speed.
The good news is that much of that conditioning can be done at home. Parents do not have to put young players with personal trainers when they can get them to do somethings in their yard and basement.
The following baseball workouts are quickly done in the comfort of the home or around the neighborhood. Players, who dedicate just a few minutes each day, will notice a difference in strength. Players can do one of the following each day, combine a couple each day or do them all in the same day. Doing each one, a couple of times a week is sufficient for young ballplayers, but older players should strive for three times per week. Combining the break from baseball practice along with the physical training builds up the mental "eye of the tiger" necessary for the following baseball season. Parents can try the following motivation tactics also, especially for un-enthusiastic or low motivated kids. Parents should stress the importance of starting with a short amount of time or repetitions and adding on each workout session. Many kids will go all out the first times and then burnout mentally or physically soon after. Increasing production is key to sustaining motivation.
* Motivation tactic Have kids squeeze the water out of their bath washrag when taking a bath. Players should squeeze it completely dry and then increase the number of times they do it every time they take a bath or shower. A more advanced method to build this forearm and hand strength would entail filling a pail with rice; Players then work their hand down to the bottom of the bucket. This rice drill is a strength exercise I used back in the day and is a great workout and not as easy as one might think.
* Motivation tactic Parents can challenge kids to a sit-up contest. Loser cleans the child's room. (Parents reminder you do not have too much to lose, as you are the one that will have to do it usually, anyway.)
Motivation tactic players begin with one pushup before bed the first night, add one each day and see how manydays they can keep adding on.
Motivation Tactic Players choose their favorite, or any football team, each week, and perform as many lunges or knee bends as the selected teams' defense lets up. When their team wins, they only have to do them once a week, but twice if the team loses that week.
Parents can invent their ways of trying to motivate young players as long as they do not use the "Work out or else" method, which usually backfires. After a while of this conditioning and when players return to playing baseball, they will notice the difference with the increased bat, foot, and arm speed.
Conditioning and strength work should continue year-round. Players may have to scale back their baseball workouts during the season to avoid physical exhaustion. Additionally, advanced players and unmotivated players may need to join a workout facility for the necessary strength equipment and for the help and motivation provided by a physical exercise specialist. An expert should supervise any use of heavy weights, at least at the beginning of an athlete's workouts. Good high school baseball programs usually include and encourage offseason baseball workouts, which can be convenient at the school or home.
Working to be bigger, stronger, faster helps players reach their full potential, without future regret of what they might have done differently. Additionally, confidence and self-esteem increase with feeling stronger. Finally, one's mental game, focus skills, and discipline improve from the at-home, conditioning baseball workouts.
Jack Perconte has dedicated his post-major league baseball career to helping youth and their parents through the complicated world of youth sports. Combining his playing, coaching and parenting experiences he continues to help create better sporting experiences for both athletes and their parents. He has dealt with coaches as a parent and parents as a coach while raising three kids and details much of these in his books. Jack gives coaches the coaching philosophy and coaching strategies that keep the fun in and the stress out of it.
After playing major league baseball, Jack Perconte has taught baseball and softball since 1988 and offered valuable coaching training too. He has helped numerous youth players reach their potential, as well as having helped parents and coaches navigate their way through the challenging world of youth sports. Jack is one of the leading authorities in the areas of youth baseball training and coaching training advice.All Jack Perconte articles are used with copyright permission.
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