PRP Baseball

Impactful training and mentoring through the process of success on and off the field.  PRP provides constant assessment, rigorous training, and an unmatched culture to bring passionate athletes to the next level.

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In-Season Development

Overview

The most overlooked period of year for player development is during season. Game performance is often determined from how prepared you are. Why would we begin training less and expecting to perform better? When in-season, the focus shifts from development and preparation to win games. This must change.

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Why? Why would we want to be so focused on competition that we actually lose performance enhancers such as strength, speed, mobility, and power? What about the risk for injury? If we are in lesser shape, we are more likely to get injured when competing day after day.

The days of running poles, stretching out, and icing in-season are quickly dying, as they should. Learn more below about in-season development and how to properly manage it below.

Shifting the Focus

This blog agrees with shifting the primary focus to game-day preparedness and health. That means we must train to stay in peak shape. Managing the workload to match game-day freshness is where the money is made. Not training to “avoid soreness” or to not get tired is no excuse. The training that you do in-season should rarely make you sore. If it does, you need to get more prepared in the off-season and/or find a new plan to execute.

With the amount of rotation and stability required in baseball, the training should accompany that overloaded stress.

Here are a few ways to reduce rotational injuries and still develop:

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  1. Reduce medicine ball workload. Train movement patterns in low volume with only 5-20 reps a week with high-intensity.

  2. Add anti-rotational exercises and overall volume. These include Palloff Press, Side Planks, Planks with movement, single leg exercises, and partner banded rotations. To maintain health and power with rotation, we must ensure stability in the anti-rotators.

  3. Add more mobility work on hips and low back. These often take the biggest toll in-season, so make sure to include more of it at the key times in-season. Perfect times to add are post-game, days after start, and to the end of every training session.

  4. A yoga session is another good way to promote health, mobility, and stability.

Get Stronger In Season

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Yes. You can. The key is to properly manage workload in the weight room with game performance. Don’t just follow any randomized plan that promotes strength development while in-season. Create a plan that prepares you for game-day.

Volume on lifts should be low reps and low volume of high-intensity work. Example: After warm-up, 3 sets of 3-4 reps at 70-72.5% of max on back squat or deadlift. Lowering the overall rep scheme but keeping the intensity after prolonged warm-up can push your strength levels.

Here are more examples and key aspects to managing workload in-season:

  1. Increase time during warm-ups

  2. Increase time in post-workout “cool downs” with breathing exercises, mobility, and stabilization work.

  3. Don’t add any “new” exercises. This can promote soreness. If you don’t typically do single leg half-bosu RDL’s, then don’t add them in-season!

  4. Execute your reps! Full range of motion with proper breathing and tempo will go a long way to stress management in-season.

  5. Track your progress. Write down weights, sleep, and nutrition. If you see a dip in performance, strength, or recovery times you can then make detailed adjustments in your day to day workload.

  6. Add low-stress cardio. Running poles is one way to keep your cardiovascular endurance up in-season, but they may not be the best way. Riding a bike, interval training (low rest times, high-tempo, low weight circuits), jumping rope, incline walking, and swimming can be better options to build endurance and recover.

  7. As mentioned above, add an instructed yoga session 1-2x per week!

Maintain the Mind!

One major reason I believe in getting after it during the season is the stress relief and confidence building that occurs in the weight room. Players perform best when they are confident and clear-minded. No better way to develop, flush, or reset the mind than training off the field. When athletes struggle, the first thing that goes is the mind.

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Most in-game performance issues come from clouded minds and distracted thoughts. Keeping a consistent training schedule can help players avoid the mental decline during competition.

Add meditation. Give yourself time to relax. The mind needs time to itself. We begin to press when the mind is overloaded. An easy way to do this is to add it at the end of practices or training sessions. Giving 3-10 minutes of time to be quiet both physically and mentally can make a big difference. Athletes, and coaches, must stay in tune with their breath. The best athletes and programs are often quoted with breathing and/or meditation exercises in their regimen.

Listen to Your Body

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The best training plans are ones that can be adjusted. You should train hard in-season. But if the body needs a day to be adjusted, then you adjust it. Coaches and players must be willing to listen to their body in-season. It may mean a day off from swinging, throwing, running, playing in-game, or lifting. While it may mean you lifting on a game day or getting up early to fit that missed workout another day, it may make the difference between healthy and hurt.

Understand the end goal for your season. Championship teams are in the best shape when it matters most. Control what you can control by managing your workout and game schedule the best that you can. There is a difference between toughness and being dumb. Work through the manageable situations. Stop when you need to stop.

Review

Get on a plan. Don’t guess. Plan your training around and inside your game schedule. If the best athletes in the world can lift and train on game days then so can you. This doesn’t mean max out the day of the regional finals. It simply means, don’t make excuses for your development in-season.

If you need help getting on a plan, managing your workload, or have questions about anything player development-please don’t hesitate to e-mail us!

The Correlation between Trap Bar Deadlift and Mound Velocity

The Correlation between Trap Bar Deadlift (1 rep max) & Mound Velocity

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Overview

Developing strength in throwing athletes continues to be a key form of training programs across the nation.  The goal of tracking different tests and assessments is to find out what is the best strategy to building healthy, sustainable velocity in athletes of different levels and capabilities.  

One of the main assessment tools used in this off-season programming was the trap bar deadlift.  It began with an on-ramping phase and teaching the proper way to perform the lift.  After a 4 week on-ramping phase, we assessed trap bar technique and reviewed form.  We tested the 1 rep max the following week.  Several athletes were stopped based on technique in their testing.  In total, 47 athletes went through the consistent programming and assessment process with the trap bar deadlift.

Assessing a 1 rep max can be dangerous and difficult to ask for athletes of different age levels or abilities.  Several athletes made adjustments into a 3 rep max or did not participate in the lift at all due to previous injuries or mobility issues.

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Programming

The next 7 weeks focused on developing strength and technique through variations of weight training and plyometrics.   Exercises included but were not limited to trap bar deadlift, Bulgarian squat, reverse lunges, box jumps, dumbbell bench, TRX exercises, Palloff press, sled push and pulls, lateral lunges, and several different core exercises.  

There were about 20 athletes that had specific deficiencies or previous injuries required altered training programs.  Theses athletes were not in the sample groups.

Several made quick improvements based on better technique and form.  The biggest improvers, some up to 70 pounds, were new to the lift itself and made bigger improvements after consistent training and and workload. 

Results

The post-assessment for Trap Bar Deadlift was in week 9 of the program.  Those testing numbers are shown in the graph above compared to their mound velocity (peak) assessed in week 10.  Overall, the average 1 rep max improved by 21 pounds for over 50 athletes (below).

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Why does the trap bar deadlift assessment show similarities to positional velocity?  Improving muscular strength in hopes of gaining velocity is nothing ground-breaking.  However, assessing athletes, being transparent with their results and deficiencies, and training them accordingly to maximize their ability to throw hard separates this program from others.

The trap bar deadlift provides a movement that develops key muscle groups and while training ground force that provides a stable foundation for throwing.  As seen in the data, our stronger athletes often throw harder on the mound. Those that made big improvements in their trap bar deadlift max also improved more than average in their positional velocity.  There were outliers, but this testing provides an educational piece for both the athlete and the trainer.

Summary

In general, the trap bar deadlift is a very important piece to strength training that provides important feedback on power and force production.  It is a common lift variation for athletes but has not been tracked in a large group of athletes that are all attempting to improve throwing velocity.

These athletes often participate in lifting classes that focus on the “power 3” being squat, bench press, and power clean.  All three are good movements, but the baseball player needs more plane-specific movements that challenge them in similar positions used in baseball.  

When combining the rotational power development of medicine ball training, lower half power output assessment in the broad jump, and physical strength in the trap bar deadlift, you are building the foundation that leads to increased throwing velocity.  

Not one of these tools can answer all of the problems, but combining different assessments and training prescriptions can lead to better results.

For more information on data or training, contact PRPBaseball101@gmail.com

Contact - PRPBaseball101@gmail.com

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