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How to stay ready for baseball during COVID-19
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During summer months, it’s hard to conceive that baseball games may not be played. Everyone is missing those days outside at a ball fields watching their child play. Even though most young baseball players are unable to play their favorite sport or compete with their teammates at this time, there are several activities that can be performed to keep in baseball shape and hopefully prevent injuries when baseball does resume.
- Work on balance and core strength. Every movement in baseball, from pitching to heating, starts from your legs and moves upward. If you want to add speed or power, start by working on your lower body and core. This can be beneficial and easily performed at home. First, it’s important to work on proper technique for all core and strengthening exercises. One way to do this is by performing body squats and then adding weights. Other leg exercises that can be performed are backwards lunges and twists, lateral walks and split squats. Performing different variations of planks can strengthen core and obliques. You should also work on proper balance by performing one leg stance, one leg squats or performing squats off a half Bosu ball. This is important especially for those young catchers.
- You need to keep your arm in throwing shape and work on range of motion. This is a great time to not only to rest your arm from constant throwing, but it is also important to keep it strong and in shape. One way to do this is to set up a throwing schedule and play catch a couple of times per week. It is important to understand that you do not want to be throwing at full capacity, but just playing catch. For pitchers, this is a great time work on a secondary or tertiary pitch. You should also work on command and accuracy. Position players should work on throwing from different angles and set up targets at several distances. Make sure to stretch before and after throwing. Important stretches include the sleeper stretch and cross arm body. Stretching your shoulder will help protect your shoulder and elbow.
- Try to keep your timing and work on your swing. If you are still not able to go to a field or park, try setting up a net at home so that you can hit into it off a tee or take some soft toss. Work on the fundamentals of your swing. If you want to make drills more difficult and fun, try hitting Wiffle balls. You can even make it more challenging by using Wiffle golf balls. You can also play a Wiffle ball game with friends as long as you keep appropriate social distancing. All of these exercises will work on hand-eye coordination and keep your swing in rhythm.
- This is a perfect time to play different sports. You have time to participate in other activities at home such as basketball, bicycling or swimming. Yoga and Pilates are a great way to keep strength and work on flexibility. Performing different exercises or participating in other non-baseball activities will work you muscles differently. This is a great way to help prevent both acute and overuse baseball injuries.
- Learn from the professionals. On social media, Major League Baseball teams and their players have been posting videos of at-home drills to work on specific baseball skills. This is a great opportunity to follow your favorite team or players and learn a thing or two from the professionals.
These are just a few tips to keep yourself in baseball shape. Use this time to make yourself not only a better baseball player but hopefully prevent future injuries, too. Remember to continue to follow the CDC’s COVID-19 related guidelines, but try to make the best of this extra free time and have fun!