Ball Players Don’t Lift?
It is no secret in sport today that strength and athleticism are valued. Every sport sees the benefits that explosive training brings to their athletes, but ball players always seem to be a step behind.
The most common reasons are as follows…..
“Ball players should not lift weights”
“Working out is bad for my throwing arm”
And my favorite…..
“I don’t want to lose my flexibility”
Now, the debate on what ball players should and should not do will go on forever and I’m not here to solve that today, but what is happening is we are creating natural excuses for athletes to do nothing.
What has happened is we are creating a sport were skill is highly valued and strength is grossly undervalued. Most ball players see the value that their hitting or pitching lessons bring them, but as an instructor myself I will be the first to say that the athletes that see the best results with their skills are the ones that back it up with strength and conditioning. This is a big reason why at Turn 2 we have always been passionate about having an in-house strength and conditioning department. Ball players need that outlet. It is also a perk as an instructor to be able to point out weak areas in athletes and have a team of CFC coaches that I can collaborate with and know that those weaknesses are being attacked.
Here are a few major points that I see as an instructor in the cage and a coach on the field….
Quickness and Explosion – Whether it is making that quick first step to track down a ball, or legging out a triple, ball players need the explosiveness in their core and their legs to maximize each step. Good running form is great, but it needs to be partnered with strength.
Room for Error – Simply put, being stronger gives more room for error. The hitter that gets jammed, but still manages to muscle the ball out of the infield, or the pitcher that misses their spot, but because of the velocity, all the batter can do is foul the pitch off.
Flexibility – The truth is that simply lifting weights will not all of the sudden make you look like a stiff body builder. A proper program will add strength while also INCREASING flexibility.
Injury Prevention – I’ll go back to the excuse “Working out is bad for my throwing arm.” You know what is bad for your throwing arm? THROWING!! No one will tell you that throwing a ball overhand is a good thing to do for your shoulder and arm, but it is necessary to participate in the spot that we love. The best way to prevent injury to your arm or any other part of your body is to have a strong and athletic foundation and back it up with the best possible mechanics
Ability to Adjust – I see this first hand as an instructor, the better the athlete, the higher their ability to repeat good mechanics and adjust to bad mechanics.
Mentality – My personal favorite, there is something to be said for the mentality of the athlete that works hard either on the field or in the cage AND works hard in the gym. Getting through that high intensity workout not only makes a physically stronger athlete, but a mentally stronger athlete. Those players have more blood, sweat, and tears invested in their sport. They are much more capable of stepping up in big situations and handling adversity when it happens.
Overall, athletes need to value their strength and athleticism just as much as they do their mechanics. No more excuses! Get out there and get to work and get the most out of what you have!
Turn 2 Baseball