The Importance of Strength and Conditioning for High School Baseball Players
Posted Jun 11 2010 5:55am
Yesterday, the Division 1 North Baseball Semi-final here in MA between Lincoln-Sudbury (20-2) and Lawrence (20-2) got rained out - and postponed to today. As many of you know, we deal with over 30 players from the LS high school baseball program, plus several in middle school and multiple graduates who are now playing college baseball.
With no game, local reports were left looking for something about which to write, so an interview with Coach Kirk Fredericks took place - and one of the topics that was brought up was the effect of strength and conditioning on the program. Here’s an excerpt from the article :
Meanwhile, L-S has been on recent offensive tear, which includes putting up 10 and 16 runs in its first two tournament contests, respectively.
As a team, the Warriors have 25 home runs this season and 62 (14, 11, 12, 25) in their last four seasons. In Fredericks’ first five seasons with the team, L-S combined for 19 (5, 1, 5, 2, 6) home runs.
“In the last four years, we’ve been working with Eric Cressey, our personal trainer, and he’s really made a difference,” said Fredericks. “We’ve also played at the same fields and the kids have been dedicated to getting stronger. The numbers don’t lie.”
I moved to Boston in 2006, so this is the fourth season I’ve gone through with the L-S guys - and while I knew power numbers had increased, I didn’t realize that they had virtually quadrupled. I did, however, get my first hint of what was happening when we saw seven pitchers hit 80mph on the radar gun on the first day of tryouts this year. This is a pretty big deal for any high school, and certainly one in Massachusetts that has to compete with nasty winter weather and the draw of lacrosse, track, tennis, golf, and volleyball during the spring season. It’s also significant because the competition in the area has improved quite a bit; L-S actually faces many of the players from other schools that we train - and they’ve gone 85-10 since the start of the 2007 season (when they won the state championship).
Needless to say, it was pretty cool to be able to put some numbers with the trend we’d been observing. And, it serves as a great reminder that - contrary to what a lot of “old school” coaches will try to tell you - a strength and conditioning program is absolutely essential for high school baseball players to not only perform at a higher level, but stay healthy in the process. In this four-year period, LS baseball has had only one arm surgery, and it was in early 2008 on a player who had been misdiagnosed on ulnar nerve issues since middle school. He’s now playing Division 1 baseball. The guys understand that arm care is about more than just some foo-foo rotator cuff exercises.
This is what happens when the players in a program dedicate themselves to something and are consistent with it over the course of several years.