Understand the movement needed for every position on the field
This is an excerpt from Strength Training for Baseball by NSCA -National Strength & Conditioning Association,A. Eugene Coleman & David J. Szymanski.
By Sean Marohn and Zach Gjestvang
Pitchers (Starter, Middle Relief, Setup, and Closer)
The movements involved in pitching occur primarily in the frontal and transverse planes. In addition to the core resistance training exercises outlined for all athletes, there are variations that are specific to the pitching delivery. Single-leg balance, strength, and stability in a lunge pattern are essential for providing a base from which to transfer power from the ground up through the trunk, shoulder, arm, wrist, and fingers. Resistance training exercises that help pitchers improve the ability to transfer force and power from the ground throughout the kinetic chain include the step-up, single-leg squat, single-leg RDL, lateral and forward lunge variations, balance training on the drive and landing leg, rotational medicine ball throw, and thoracic spine mobility to help increase hip and shoulder separation. The ability to stabilize and protect the elbow and shoulder during repeated throwing is also essential. Variations of exercises designed to stabilize the scapula and strengthen the muscles of the rotator cuff are also essential in a comprehensive resistance training program for a pitcher.
Catchers have a unique set of requirements because most of their time on the field is spent in an isometric squatting position. A major requirement for their success is the ability to produce sufficient ankle and hip mobility to position the body into catching-specific positions. Resistance training exercises that are unique to the position of catcher are the seated and standing calf raise, back squat with wide foot position, and lateral squat. Other exercises, not presented in this book, are the groin squeeze at various angles and hip abduction (monster walks, clamshells).
Each infield position requires a different skill set. The corner infielders (first and third base) are closer to home plate, which makes reactionary explosiveness an important trait. Having the ability to reach and quickly move laterally to a batted ball will improve their success on the field. Corner infielders are also generally expected to hit for power and are often placed in the middle of the batting order, where run production is vital.
The middle infielders (second base and shortstop) must also be able to react quickly and explosively move in lateral and diagonal patterns on the field. Middle infielders, in general, need to be more athletic than corner infielders because they have more ground to cover. They must be able to field the ball, start, stop, set their feet, and position the body to make quick, accurate throws to first base.
All infielders need exercises that improve agility, lateral lower body strength, and power. Resistance training exercises that can help them achieve these needs are lateral lunges, crossover step-ups, and lateral step-ups. Other exercises, not presented in this book, are the band-resisted lateral monster walk, cable-resisted lateral shuffle, and skater jump.
Outfielders, in general, need speed on both offense and defense. The ability to react quickly, accelerate, and achieve maximum or near-maximum speed quickly are essential needs for outfielders. Reactive lower body power exercises are essential for outfielders. In addition to the core exercises, the outfield positions require more ballistic and explosive movement patterns to improve rate of force development. Specific resistance training exercises for outfielders are the forward lunge, step-up, step-up with leg lift, and single-leg squat. Other exercises, not presented in this book, are the hill sprint, standing long jump, lateral bound, resisted sprint, and sled pull.
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