Professional Baseball Strength & Conditioning

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Professional baseball players span in age from 16 in the Dominican Summer League to 49 at the Major League Level. Because no one strength and conditioning program is appropriate for such a broad age range, Minor and Major League Baseball programs should include Age and Developmental Appropriate progressions and emphases. The purpose of this post is to present an age and developmental model of program phases. The model consists of the following three progressive phases:rangerstrength

  1. Introduction Phase: High School Age/Young Players – e.g. Ages 16-21 years
  2. Peak Athleticism Phase: College Age/Young Adult Players – e.g. Ages 22-27 years
  3. Career Athlete Phase: Established Adult Players – e.g. Ages 28+ years

Introduction Phase

Peak Athleticism Phase

Career Athlete Phase

 

High School/Young Players (Ages 16-21)

Rookie to Low-A

 

 

College/Young Adult Players (Ages 22-27)

Low-A to Double-A

Established Adult Players

(Ages 28+)

Double-A to MLB

 

·  Emphasize weight room technique, training safety, and landing skills (deceleration).

 

·  Improve athleticism with improvements in footwork coordination, running mechanics, first-step quickness, bilateral strength, and stamina.

 

·  Improve core stability, strength and power.

 

·  Educate players on dynamic warm-up, flexibility, SMFR, scapular awareness, basic arm care, hydration, and performance nutrition.

 

·  Educate players about supplement safety, MLB regulations, and NSF Guidelines – What is safe? What to avoid?

 

 

·  Establish competence and consistency with basic exercises menus (menus must first be created and established).

 

·  Emphasize the development of daily routines, such as, arriving at the ballpark on time, pre-game preparation, arm care, lifting techniques, linear speed and acceleration training, pre- and post-game nutrition, recovery techniques, sleep, etc.

 

·  Emphasize power development and speed with strength routines, plyometric drills, resisted and assisted sprints, and lateral speed and agility.

 

·  Address specific SMFR, mobility, and flexibility needs.

 

·  Educate players about smart supplement use – What supplement(s) to take? When to take them?

 

·  Support personalized programs and encourage player to take ownership over routines.

 

·  Adjust training programs according to training history and physical limitations.

 

·  Be proactive in preventing physical breakdown – Volume control, arm care, mobility, core training, and extra stretching.

 

·  Maintain a high fitness level, multi-directional acceleration, speed and agility, first-step quickness, high-tempo / low impact plyometrics, physical work capacity and speed-endurance.

 

·  Emphasize recovery strategies and how to maintain high energy levels with proper nutrition and supplementation.

Note – Age Ranges: Age ranges are provided as guidelines and may vary because of differences in physical development, psychological maturity, athleticism, training background, and/or injury history. Scouting information and test results can be used to provide insight into individual differences. Because differences can occur across all age ranges, practical limitations of this model may occur when young players perform at levels higher than their age and/or maturity suggest. Therefore, coaches at all levels must be familiar with the three program stages and possess an understanding of the desired outcome at the MLB level.

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Eric McMahon, M.Ed., CSCS, RSCC is strength and conditioning coach for the Texas League Frisco Rough Riders (Texas Rangers).

 

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