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In-Season Baseball Strength and Conditioning: Part 3 – College Baseball

Posted Mar 23 2011 7:47am

This is part 3 of my series on in-season baseball strength and conditioning programs.  In case you missed them, be sure to check out Part 1 and Part 2 .

Today, we’ll be talking about managing the college baseball player in-season.

There are definitely some similarities between how we manage our college and high school guys (described in Part 2 ) – particularly with respect to position players/catchers and starting pitchers on 7-day rotations.  The main difference, though, is that the college baseball schedule is largely based on the weekend (Fri-Sun games) with some mid-week games worked in (usually Tue or Wed), while the high school schedule is a bit more unpredictable.  As a result, the days on which guys tend to lift are probably more set in stone for college baseball players.  Let’s look at things by position.

Position Players/Catchers

I prefer to have our most challenging lift on Monday (after a weekend series), with another lift scheduled for either Wednesday or Thursday.  This enables a coach to give players a full day of rest on either a Tuesday or Friday before a game day, but do so without interfering with the overall training effect.  I’ve also known position players who like to go with a full-body lift on Monday, then a lower body lift and upper body lift back-to-back for Wed-Thu or Thu-Fri.  It really depends on the player’s preferences and how many innings he’s getting on the field.

Pitchers

We manage our college starting pitchers exactly the same as our high school once-a-week starters.  There’s no need to reinvent the wheel here.

Relief pitchers, though, are where many college baseball strength and conditioning coaches want to pull their hair out.  Their schedules are very unpredictable; they might throw Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday – or they might only throw on Saturday and then have six days off.  What to do?

I say that when there is chaos, you give people structure – and that’s exactly how I manage relievers.  I’ve found that most guys appreciate having at least one part of their routine set-in-stone – and scheduling strength training sessions can be just that.  So, assume that every reliever lifts Monday and Thursday – even if he may have to pitch Thursday night (you can just pare back volume in the session) in a random mid-week game.  As long as you aren’t adding in loads of new exercises, you won’t make him sore and interfere with performance.  We have relievers in pro baseball who lift all the time on days that they wind up throwing – and many actually report that they feel better on the mound when they’ve already lifted that day.  You’ll need to do same-day training to get in their movement training, anyway – and nobody has ever complained about sprinting during warm-ups.

Additionally, if a relief pitcher has a particularly long outing and you know he won’t be back to throwing for a few days, treat him just like a starting pitcher and lift within 12 hours after the game; you might find that you can squeeze in an extra strength training session for him during that week.

I’ll be back tomorrow with the final installment of this series on in-season baseball strength and conditioning: professional baseball.

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