Throw Gas and Hit Dingers
High level performance in Baseball and Softball is highly dependent on rotational power. If you want to throw hard, if you want to drive the ball, you need to be able to rapidly produce force in a rotational manner. If an athlete has at least a base level of strength and knows how to recruit that strength at a high velocity they will produce more power.
The equation for power is: Power=Force x Velocity. Therefore, if an athlete can increase the force produced or the velocity that it is produced, they will be more powerful. Baseball and softball are both power sports, the average play lasts only a few seconds. So in many cases the more powerful athletes are the most successful.
Now remember when I said if an increase force or velocity they are more powerful? Well why only increase one trait? Let’s increase both! By getting stronger you will have more “fuel in the tank” that can be used to produce power. So in the beginning of an offseason we will focus on regaining some lost range of motion from the season, but also focus on making strength gains in an intelligent fashion. We then use a combination of linear and rotational based medicine ball throws to start building power. Throughout the course of the off season these exercises will be progressed to more demanding exercises that will more closely resemble what baseball and softball players do on the field. I would consider medicine ball throws the overhead athlete’s Olympic lifts (not a perfect analogy but it works in my head). These are the exercises that help produce more power in movements biomechanically similar to throwing and swinging.
According Szymanski et al. (2007) medicine ball throwing has been shown to increase angular hip, angular shoulder, and linear bat velocities. This means more throwing
velocity from the mound or the field. It also means more bat speed, which means more extra base hits and home runs. Eric Cressey, one of the most well respected strength coaches in the country, has his athletes make well over 100 medicine ball throws a week in the off season. Anecdotally I have noticed that the pitchers I train also say that they can notice energy leaks easier when using medicine balls compared to when they are pitching. The slightly heavier load tends to exacerbate some mechanical flaws. So not only do they train for more baseball/softball specific power, they can also help clean up mechanics at the same time.
All the evidence is there, so the question is, are you doing everything you can to compete at a high level next season? Let us help you answer that question with a resounding YES!
To learn more about our Baseball and Softball training programs at DNA Sports Center call 513.600.1519 or visit www.dnasportscenter.com