Adult baseball leagues are meant to be fun and competitive while providing a great way to stay in shape. Avoiding any kind of training or physical fitness year-round could put your body at serious risk of injury, though. Smart training can not only keep you healthy, but also make you a better athlete and baseball player. Most importantly, you will earn bragging rights over all of the competitors in your league.
If you want to be the best player in your adult baseball league, you’ve got to train like it. Follow these 5 tips below to maximize your performance on the diamond.
- Stay Active – One of the worst things you can do to prepare yourself is completely avoid any kind of physical activity for the majority of the year and then just show up for your league hoping for the best. Whether you play in the spring, summer, fall or some combination of the 3, you need to be active for the rest of the year. Yes, it is absolutely ok to take time off for vacations or the occasional mental break. But, generally speaking, if you take more than a week or so off, it is going to be harder to get back into it. The more time you take off, the harder it is to get back. Just don’t let the 1 week break turn into 3 months on the couch. You don’t have to push yourself to the limit year-round, but it is a good idea to do a minimum of 3 sessions a week of some kind of weight lifting or conditioning. Your offseason training doesn’t even have to be related to baseball, it just has to be something to keep you moving.
- Warm Up – Seriously. Maybe you got away with just showing up and playing back in the day, but you don’t want to try your luck with that anymore. Warming up dynamically, with exercises such as arm swings, high knees, and butt kicks have shown in some studies to improve performance, Before every game or training session, go for an easy jog followed by dynamic stretches. You’ll usually want to break into a moderate sweat before doing anything too strenuous.
- Get a Partner – Accountability is huge for training, especially if you make this a year-round endeavor. See if a teammate is as serious about staying fit as you are and consider becoming training partners for the year. A partner can help you reach your goals and provide emotional support when you feel like taking too much time off. It doesn’t have to be a baseball teammate, obviously, but it wouldn’t hurt because you can have similar goals and structure your training the proper way. You can also challenge each other and push each other towards being your best.
- Use Variety – Variety is absolutely crucial, both for physical and mental reasons. From the physical aspect, use variety to target different muscles and prevent your progress from stalling. Mentally, variety can break up the monotony of training. You only need to follow a specific program for 2-4 weeks to see results from it. You can then switch to a different program, which helps prevent boredom and can lead to more increases in muscle size and strength. Throughout the year, you can have periods of time where you work on endurance, muscle size, muscle strength, and explosive power. The offseason is a great time to try a new type of fitness or even join a different sports league.
- Get Specific – But didn’t I just say you needed variety? Variety is great for general training, challenging your body, breaking up boredom, and becoming a better all-around athlete, but as baseball season approaches you will want to focus more and more on baseball-specific training and skills. That means things like short sprints and plyometrics to work on you speed and lifts in the weight room that help build explosive hitting power. Exercises such as squats, deadlifts, cleans, and snatches can help improve explosive strength. As your league start date approaches, you’ll also want to start introducing, or increasing the volume of, your baseball-specific work. This includes time in the batting cage, fielding, or other specific skills for your position.
Obviously, you can train (or not) however you want. The main purpose of adult baseball leagues is to have fun while competing with friends and family. You can decide how serious you want to get with it, but following the 5 tips above, at least to some degree, will help you perform and feel better all season long.