When I begin to write an article, I often sit and try to find a
motivating factor. Yet now as I write of baseball, it is not only the
easiest topic for me to discuss, but the most daunting as well. With
this in mind, please let me explain something that I should have told
you in my opening piece
in this series.
To my left sits an old catcher's mitt on the book shelf, worn and
battered through time and service. It is a reminder of the past.
Decades ago, this mitt and its pint-sized predecessor that I grew out
of, would come along everywhere I went: to school, to the run-down old
lot and to the driveway, where I would await my Dad's return home and
the start of the nightly ritual of "catch." Baseball wasn't just a
game, then. It was part of the fabric of your life and conversation
that needed no introduction.
I could recount endless stories of
the game (and if given the chance maybe I just will), but I grew up in
a time that seems long ago and far away now. Baseball, in particular,
is a deep part of my heritage, passed on to me by my Dad. He was a
young minor-leaguer whose career was put aside when he enlisted in
World War II and fought to save the world from tyranny. Growing up I
knew all about the dusty roads of baseball, what it was like to
fair-haired teen stepping into the batters box against a legend
throwing heat in the high 90's, the beauty of laying down a sacrifice
bunt or leaning-in to a pitch for the good of the team. I learned of
these things from my Dad. It wasn't just a "game" to him, it was what
we are made-of. That might seem like an abstract vision to those who
know baseball simply as a "game", particularly in this era, but it is a
connection to the past, an "honest" era when doing what was right was
never wrong and principles never had a price-tag. There is a beauty to
the game that my words may not quite capture, but as we look towards
the challenges ahead we need to embrace the game and nurture the
lessons its heritage provides.
With that said and done, in the first part
of our series we touched upon general
to loosen the hips primarily. This is a key point and one that we will
re-visit in the future but training for the diamond must start with
mobility. A player who doesn't reflect this in their training will be
unable to compete and be rooted in the dugout. Mobility is a crucial
issue in the work of a baseball player. Along with the mobility drills
presented in the first article in the series,
training is an absolute must.
work will assist with explosive
In upcoming issues we will discuss explosive work with medicine balls
but as it relates to recovery work we will use the following circuits
two to three times per week, between each weight training session to
ensure maximal recovery. This work should be done with a moderately
light Medicine Ball (i.e. 4 to 8lbs) with five to ten throws per
movement and the overall workout being done in a circuit fashion.
Each workout should contain two to three overall circuits.
1. Chest Pass:
basic chest pass; feet shoulder width apart. Explosively toss ball straight ahead by pushing off chest.
2. Chest Pass Offset:
One leg in front of other, perform toss as above (reverse foot position)
3. Walking Chest Pass:
As above, except walk into pass and push off with legs to toss ball (repeat with opposite leg forward).
4. One-Hand Twisting Chest Pass*
opposite hip facing target; with ball at shoulder height, twist and
shoot ball forward as your shoulder turn to face target (repeat to
5. Overhead Pass;
with body facing target, lift ball behind head and throw to target overhead.
6. Overhead Pass Offset
: One leg in front of other, perform toss as above (reverse foot position)
7. Walking Overhead Pass:
same as above but walk into throw (repeat to opposite leg forward).
8. Two-Hand Swing
with opposite hip facing target holding ball with both hands, swing
backwards, twisting and looking behind you '" then transfer weight and
carry ball through throwing ball
9. One-Hand Swing*;
as above but with one hand and sweep hand through to toss ball
10. Seated Throwing Twist*;
from seated straddle position, twist body, reaching ball behind you and extend back throwing ball to side.
11. Seated Twist*;
from straddle position, twist to one side, placing ball behind back as
far as possible. Twist to opposite side and pick ball up.
12. Scoop Forward;
from standing position, swing ball above head, then begin forward phase
of movement, swinging ball between legs as you push buttocks back such
that your back is in the neutral position. From this stage, explosively
pull hips through and bring ball up and finally explosively throw
13. Scoop Backward;
a powerhouse movement '" From standing position, swing ball above head,
then begin forward phase of movement, swinging ball between legs as you
push buttocks back such that your back is in the neutral position. From
this stage, explosively pull hips through and bring ball up, extending
above your head and finally explosively slamming straight behind you.
Ball should land close to your heels.
Drop by for the next in this series on the grand old game of Baseball.