In Season Training for Baseball
With the Major League Baseball season about to get underway, we are nearing the end of baseball's pre-season and about to enter the regular season. For colleges and high schools, they have been in-season for about a month already. This article will discuss the importance of in-season training and how it differs from off-season training.
When athletes are in their off season, they have more time to focus on strength training and conditioning. This is when athletes can focus on making gains in whatever physical area they need to become a better athlete (strength, size, speed, body composition, endurance, etc.) There is more time to spend training. This differs from in-season training in terms of volume, frequency, and training goals.
If off-season training is where we make our gains, in-season training is where we maintain. The overall goal of in-season training is to keep our strength, endurance, and cardiovascular systems pretty much level throughout the season. The focus is on baseball and all the time you spend practicing skills and playing games. However, if we don't continue to train, we will get weaker and fatigue much faster throughout the season. For reference, professional players who play nearly every single day, will train 2-3 times per week in the weight room. Training varies by position. Pitchers train around their pitching schedule. For position players, a mostly consistent training schedule works best to avoid any negative effects like muscular soreness.
Sets and rep schemes may be aimed at promoting both muscular strength and size by using a mid-range of reps (6-10), and moderate intensities (60-85% 1 rep max). If a ballplayer lifts 3 times a week, they may do 1 lower body day, 1 upper body day, and 1 total body day. Maybe that total body day involves some bodyweight exercises and HIIT (high intensity interval training) exercises. Variety is good for an in-season program. Remember, we're no longer focusing on one specific training goal. We just want to push ourselves enough to maintain all the work we did in the offseason. Baseball is a mostly anaerobic sport, so sprint intervals and agility drills are perfect for conditioning. One final piece of advice is to listen to your body and understand when it's a good day to train a little harder, when it's a good time for a rest day, and when it's a day to spend more time in the batting cage!
Michael Metcalfe is an Athletic Trainer at Compete Sports Performance and Rehab in Lake Forest, CA. Michael previously spent five seasons in the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim's Minor League system.