As the saying goes, "Championships are won in the offseason." Now is the time to develop the athleticism, strength, speed and power you need for next year's baseball season. The great thing is you don't need much equipment to build up your overall fitness in a relatively short period of time.
I'm going to list my top three "must-do" exercises and then two additional exercises each for two separate age groups (8-10 & 11-14). Of course, the 11-14 age group can do the additional exercises for 8-10 group. Nothing is ever too basic.
Certainly you are welcome to do additional exercises. But if you do these exercises, and these exercises only, you'll be way ahead of the competition come next season:
Push-up Hold: Simply hold the pushup at the top position (arms extended) for 30 seconds. Try to increase by 5 second each workout. As this gets easier, start bending the elbows and hold there. As you go stronger, you'll be able to hold at the bottom of the push-up position. Focus: Upper Body & Core strength
Medicine Ball Squat Jump: Holding a 2-6 pound medicine ball with both hands at chest, squat down and then, when you are at bottom position jump as high as you can, extending your arms overhead in the process. Land softly and repeat. Focus: Lower Body & Core dynamic strength & power
Medicine Ball Slam: Holding a NON-Bouncing 2-4 pound medicine with both hands, simply slam the ball as hard as you can in the ground just in front of your feet. Focus: Dynamic core strength & power
Here's where we just want to focus on body awareness, control and general movement ability. Strength, speed and power will come along, assuming we take care of the basics. The medicine ball is the absolute best tool to accomplish this for the 8-10 year old group. DO NOT try and use a medicine ball that is too heavy. A 2-4 pounder will be enough. Contrary to popular belief, a med ball that's too heavy will not increase strength, it will hinder development and create bad habits. The key is teaching the body how to move.
Medicine Ball Chest Pass: basic chest pass; feet shoulder width apart. Explosively toss ball straight ahead by pushing off chest. Focus: Upper Body & Core strength & power
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 . Focus: Rotational strength & range of motion
Here's where we can focus a little more on raw strength, while still increasing athleticism.
Pull-up: And oldie, but a goodie. Start with hand shoulder width apart and palms facing towards the body. Extend the arms all the way and pull the body up so the chin goes above the bar. Repeat for as many as you can. If you cannot do a pull-up, start by just doing the negative, lowering your body slowly. Do not be discouraged. At that age I could not do a pull-up. Now I can do hundreds. Focus: Upper Body Strength Bulgarian Squat; in a wide split lunge and place top of back foot on box (roughly 12 -- 18 in height). Shin of lead leg should be perpendicular to ground when in deep Squat position thus emphasizing glute and hams. Squat down till rear knee in near contact to ground and repeat. Focus: Unilateral leg strength & power.
The ball is in your court. Follow the above and you'll be shocking teammates, coaches and opponents alike with your athletic ability & strength!
Jon Doyle MA, CSCS is considered the world's foremost authority on baseball training. His training techniques have been used by over 300 MLB players, 28 MLB teams, 400 NCAA programs and tens of thousands of High School and youth players to gain a significant advantage of their competition. His website, www.BaseballTrainingSecrets.com , is the most visited site of its kind in the world. He is currently offering a FREE subscription to his "Baseball Training Newsletter."