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GET READY FOR BALL SEASON

GET READY FOR BALL SEASON

Tip #1 - Start swinging and throwing early

When it gets closer to ball season, you can get ahead of the competition by starting to throw and swing the bat indoors. If you have access to a batting cage, that’s even better. Throwing is a complex movement that involves shoulder stability and strength. It is important to slowly build up to throwing full strength giving the shoulder time to build strength thru the entire motion.

Tip #2 - Upper body strength

It sure helps to have a strong upper body, but don’t confuse bulk with strength. It’s better to be strong and flexible for baseball/softball than so big you have trouble moving well. You may have to adapt your workout some as you get older, for example the way you exercise your chest. Instead of heavy lifting you should be doing a lot of rotator cuff and other stretches for the shoulders and start lightly with dumbbell bench presses and move forward with strengthening in a slow progression. Besides dumbbell bench presses, other excellent upper body lifts for softball and baseball are pushups, dips, triceps kickbacks and pushdowns, barbell curls, seated rows, front lat pull downs, upright rows and pull-ups.

Tip #3 - Legs, legs, legs

You will often hear retired players say they had to give the game up before they were ready because their legs went out on them; they couldn’t run well anymore. Legs are key for any age in baseball and softball. You have to be able to run well and even the team’s big, heavy power hitter can still help by improving their running. The offseason is the time to work the most on your legs: Stretch well before, after and even a little during the workout. Strengthen your legs by doing squats, leg curls, leg extensions and dead lifts. Build your cardio in the offseason with lots of time on a treadmill and/or elliptical.

Tip #4 - Keep the core strong

Work out your abs and core at least 3-4 times a week and make sure to hit the stomach muscles with different types of crunches, not just straight ahead. Side bends and side twists also work. Improving your core will help with all aspect of the game. It will help your swing and run. A strong core might seem not as important as other aspects, but it will improve your overall game.

Tip #5 - Equipment

Check your gear, including all the stringing and leather on your glove. It’s also important to oil your glove and keep it in good shape. Glove failure is quite annoying but can also be painful if the ball rips through the glove into your body.  When it comes to your bat, remember that as we age we often fatigue easier so going with the heaviest bat isn’t always the right plan. There are so many options today for both baseball and softball. Sometimes you just have to find whatever works best for you.