There are three main areas to work on when wondering how to get in shape for baseball: fitness, technique, and nutrition. The amount of focus that needs to be given to each area will vary depending on what level of baseball you intend to play.
For now, we’ll assume you want to play at an amateur/semi-pro level. But even if you intend on playing at more competitive levels, these tips can be used as a foundation.
Before we get started, the number one thing you’ll need if you want to get in shape is motivation. Without the proper motivation, this process will be unnecessarily difficult.
Convincing yourself to get up every morning, taking that extra practice session, or avoiding that high-calorie dessert is going to be extremely important. If you don’t form a routine or get into a rhythm, all the motivation and drive in the world won’t be enough to help you achieve your goals.
Now, let’s look at each of the main areas in a little more detail:
Baseball is a unique sport that places emphasis on explosive rotational movements. Players need to move in quick bursts and building up agility and reaction time needs more focus than strength, stamina, or endurance.
Besides basic training like cardio and weights, choosing the right exercises can be the difference between getting in shape for baseball or just getting in shape.
Here are a few that you must include in your workout routine:
Leg Cradle: This exercise helps open up your hips and glutes which are needed for every baseball movement.
Lateral Bound: This helps build power in your legs that will come in handy when on bases or while fielding.
Sprinter Starts: Sprinting can help you get out of the batter’s box quicker, steal bases and get to the ball faster when fielding. It’s quite an underrated skill really.
Mini-Band Lateral Walks: This will make it easier for you to shift your weight. It’s quite an important skill when you’re batting or throwing.
Reach Roll and Lift: This helps stretch out the shoulders and upper back. Keeping these muscles in shape will help prevent injuries.
Medicine Ball Rotational Throw: This will help you use your hips better for storing and releasing energy. Again, a crucial muscle group to develop to improve your swinging and throwing.
Fitness can only get you so far on the field. Beyond a certain point, you’ll need to work on technique if you want to perform or impress. Whether it’s batting, fielding, or pitching, developing your technique will determine how far you can go and if you can make baseball into a career.
Batting: Your feet, hands, and head are the keys to success here. Getting them to work in tandem is key if you want to be hitting balls out of the park. Apart from that, there are some drills that help improve your skills, like the tee drill, dry cut drill, and flip drill.
Fielding: Developing hand-eye coordination is very important if you want to be a good fielder. Also, being able to anticipate where the ball is going to land can be a valuable skill too. After getting the basics right, the next step involves working on plays.
Remember, your objective as a fielder should always be to get all active batters out. Lastly, consider getting a cap and a pair of sunglasses perfect for the outfield or you might find it difficult spotting high balls while looking directly into the sun.
Pitching: This is one of the most important parts of baseball. It’s not just physical technique you need to work on here but mental fortitude as well. Mastering different types of pitches and understanding a batter’s strengths and weaknesses will be the difference between a good pitcher and a great pitcher.
There is a correlation between poor nutrition and poor performance and attitude. Eating a nutritious meal before exercise or competing can be the difference between solid performance and a less-than-ordinary one. Hydration and post-game nutrition should not be ignored either as they’ll have a positive effect on your body in the long run.
As for food, high-quality carbs form an essential part of any baseball diet. They should be your primary source of energy.
But don’t think any random carbs will do; you should stick to foods like quinoa, oats, bananas, oranges, apples, kidney beans, and chickpeas to name a few. Basically, only choose carbs with a high nutrition value. No, that doesn’t include fast food!
Playing baseball is more than walking up to the mound and swinging a bat. If you want to be good at the game or just be fit enough to get through a game without being thoroughly exhausted or worse, getting injured, getting in shape is essential.
So, there you have it. While this may not be a comprehensive guide, it does give you a basic understanding of what you need to do to get in shape for baseball.
Pick up each aspect of this post and expand on it until you have created a complete routine for yourself. From that point on, all you have to do is keep yourself motivated to stay on course.