Winter is the time of year when baseball players get a break from practices, games, and long travel days. While it’s always good to rest and let your body recover from the hard work of the season, it’s also important to keep your skills sharp for spring. Here are a few ways to train during the winter that will have you playing like a pro once the weather warms up.
The biggest problem with training during the winter is that the weather is cold and miserable. If you’re lucky enough to live in a location where winters are mild, you can continue to train outside for more of the season. If you’re not so lucky, the best thing you can do is find an indoor training facility. Look for one offering indoor batting practice and with professionals on staff who can guide you. Even if there aren't facilities in your hometown, you may be able to find one that is close enough to make monthly trips during the off season. If all else fails, look for an all-purpose athletic training facility. Find a place where you can strength train and work on your cardio so that you don’t lose all your progress from the previous season.
No, for real. This former playground game is awesome for hand/eye coordination, cardio, and keeping your arm loose and accurate. To play, form a line with three or four other players about 30 to 45 feet from a wall. Make sure it’s a wall that can withstand the impact of a ball! The first person in the line throws the ball against the wall, catches it, and throws it again. After the second throw, the next person in line catches the ball, and repeats the pattern. For an added challenge, you can make a mark on the wall and aim to strike the same spot each time, move further from the wall, or add a second ball to the mix.
Winter training should be consistent, but it shouldn’t be exhausting. When the season ends officially, take a few weeks off to let your muscles heal. Once your aches and pains are gone, you can resume strength training come January. This will give you plenty of time to work on your skills before practice starts in the spring. During your recovery period, you can still do some gentle cardio or flexibility exercises, just don’t push yourself too hard. Throughout the winter, make sure you’re eating well, getting plenty of sleep, and taking time for yourself. This will ensure that you are at your physical and mental best in the spring.
Having strong core muscles is vital to building the strength and agility to play ball. Baseball Core training such as plank exercises strengthen several different muscle groups. A rotation exercise, such as the side medicine ball toss, is great for preparing your body for powerful batting. Also, incorporate leg workouts such as lunges and squats to help you keep a balanced batting stance and build the muscles necessary for fast running. Upper body push/pull exercises will help prepare you for powerful throws and swings. Building strength and flexibility here will help you avoid painful injuries.
Just because it’s cold and damp outside doesn’t mean you can’t train for baseball season. Taking advantage of an indoor training facility, practicing your skills with your team, giving your body time to recover, and focus on core muscle strength will help you bring your A-game in the spring.