About a month ago I got a text from one of our pro baseball clients letting me know that he successfully threw 100 mph in a game. This is a huge milestone and I was really excited for him. With the announcement last week that he had made his league’s all star game, I thought it was a good time to talk about a few of the things we think about when training baseball players. The following is not a program, nor is it a definitive list of everything we do with baseball players, it’s just a few things to keep in mind.
- Lower body strength. To throw hard, athlete’s need lower body strength. I prefer to develop this through front squats, trap bar deadlifts, safety bar squats, lunges and sled drags in a variety of positions. Missing from this list is the traditional deadlift and squat, both removed for the stress they can put on the biceps and shoulder respectively.
- Lower body power. Strength alone doesn’t mean you will be able to throw 100 mph, you also need the ability to call on that strength quickly. To help with this, I like to use box jump variations, depth jumps, sprints, med ball tosses and once again a variety of sled drags and sprints.
- Appropriate upper body mobility. If a pitcher is too tight, they won’t be able to get into position to generate velocity. If they are too loose, they won’t be able to generate power (picture trying to snap a rubber band that has been overstretched). Finding this balance is HUGE and requires a coach to look at each athlete and make the correct decisions.
- Shoulder stability. Your body doesn’t want to hurt itself, so it won’t let you throw harder than it has the ability to safely contain. The shoulder and elbow ‘catch’ a lot of the force from a hard throw, so these joints must be reinforced and strengthened to let the pitcher display all of the strength and power they’ve developed.
These aren’t the only things to do with a pitcher, but generally if a program has these elements covered, I’m going to think it’s a pretty decent program. If you’re trying to train baseball players and need help, reach out! firstname.lastname@example.org is my email address. I respond to all emails, except for LinkedIn invitations.