Friday, 6 May 2011

Strength and Conditioning

When playing a sport everyday, your body needs to be in peak physical performance. We maintain this level by following a specific strength and conditioning program. As a pitcher, we run everyday, and are in the weight on days after we pitch. A pitchers running program is as important as their bullpen sessions. When you're in the 5th inning, and your arm starts to feel tired, its your fitness and legs that will carry you into the 7th inning. We have many different running activities we do for conditioning, and what you do depends on when you will be throwing.

Every morning we have light weight drills, a thera band routine and agility drills. We use 1.5kg weights, and they are slow shoulder exercises to get us loose for the day. The thera band routine we do is pretty basic, just working on internal and external rotation of the shoulder and for the agility drills we either do work with ladders and we work on quick feet, or we have hurdles, and work on internal and external hip rotation. We don't actually run and jump over the hurdles, we step over them, just incase anyone was confused.

Here in Extended Spring training we all are pitching on 3 days rest. The day after you pitch, you will do the interval run. The easiest way to explain the interval run is pretend the outfield warning track, is split into 2 with the division being in centerfield. You run to centerfield, and that counts as 1, and then you walk 1, you then run 2, walk 1, run 3, walk 1. run 4, walk 1 and then work your way back down to 1. It's a pretty good workout when you run it hard. Also on the day after you pitch, you are required to go into the weight room at the end of the day, and do a leg workout. At the end of the day your legs usually feel like jelly.

Day 2 after you pitch you could do 8 3/4 poles, which is running 3/4 of a pole. If you're unfamiliar with what poles are, its just running from foul pole to foul pole on the warning track. You could also do 100's, when we do these we are being timed. We run from the foul line, and go in a straight line to centerfield and back. We have 1 minute to get there and back, and if we run it in 35 seconds, we will get 25 seconds break. Its one of the tougher runs that we have to do. The last thing you may do on your 2nd days rest is the 4-3-4. It is 4 3/4 poles, 3 100's and 4 90ft sprints. On this day as well you need to go into the weight room, and you need to do an upper body lift. You can choose whether to lift heavy or light, depending on how your arm feels and how much you think it may be able to handle.

Day 3 after you pitch, or the day before you pitch, you will have to do sprints, you will either do 8 120ft sprints, or 10 90ft sprints. These are the easier of all ours runs, but just because its easier doesn't mean you should take it lightly, you should make sure you put in 100% effort in all these sprints.

On the day you pitch, you will have to run after your outing. We always do 6 120ft sprints, followed by 6 3/4 poles. After your outing you may feel very tired, but its important that you get the most out of it and put in.

A lot of people think that all we do is throw the ball, but there is a lot more we do behind the scenes to help make us a better baseball player, and a better athlete.

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