Baseball Season's Over - Or Is It?
By guest author: Jim Bain
For the players, coaches and rabid fans of youth baseball the season has ended. Thoughts turn to football as the sudden chill in the air begins invoking thoughts of Halloween and Thanksgiving. It's time to forget baseball till next year. Or is it?
The so-called "off season," which is normally classified as the end of the season, is in actuality, the beginning of the next season. Whether the player is on a tee-ball team or advancing to college try-outs, this is the time of year you should begin to improve your skills, mechanically and increase your strength and flexibility. Let's take a quick look at issues which should be addressed during this time period.
A pitcher must have a strong foundation, legs, in order to increase drive off the mound and for endurance. A lot of people believe a pitcher's arm becomes tired the deeper he goes into a game, but in reality, for the most part it's the legs which become fatigued and feel like lead which tires first. This inability to drive off the mound and stay on top of the ball results in a pitcher attempting to over compensate with his arm, which can lead to injury.
A pitcher should adhere to a strenuous training program, which will include a lot of running, leg squats, weight lifting and stretching exercises in order to build up the strength and endurance of the lower foundation. This type of program must progress over a period of time in order to be successful, as a crash course at spring training will do little other than make you sore.
This is time of year a pitcher should concentrate on one, no more than two, specific issues he wants to improve. For instance, he may want to work on developing pin point control of his fastball, or learn to develop his slider with more of a cutting movement.
It's important not to overload a training program. What I mean by that is, a younger pitcher should work on developing pin point control, a mid-aged pitcher may develop a curveball and a high school player, a slider or split finger fastball. You do not set a goal of learning a curveball, a circle change, experiment with a slider and increase velocity. It's impossible to accomplish all of these tasks and you're setting yourself up for failure thinking you can.
As a hitter, the off season is the time to build strength, again in the lower body, the legs and hips. Your regiment should also include lifting weights to increase strength of your arms, especially forearms and your grip. One must remember the adage of "a chain is only as strong as its weakest link." You don't have to have the body of a professional body builder, but your body must be strong in order to utilize the body's entire muscle system to provide speed and power in your swing.
The old saying "use it or lose it," also applies in baseball. The off season should definitely include one, if not more, trips to the batting cage weekly. This is the time to perfect your batting eye, improve your swing, improve your ability to hit to different fields, especially the opposite field and possibly experiment with switch hitting. Muscle memory is important in perfecting our skills and memory comes from constant use.
This is but the tip of the iceberg on matters which need to be addressed in the off season, but I think you get the idea. There is No Off Season in baseball.
Jim Bain, former Minor league baseball player, who since retiring has dedicated his life to teaching baseball to youth, shares his advice on pitching baseball drills on his exciting info packed website: http://www.learn-youth-baseball-coaching.com
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jim_Bain
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