David Wright (New York Mets):
Baseball is all muscle memory. Everything you practice has to carry over into the game, so when you go out there you really have to go out there with a purpose to work on stuff. If you create bad habits in practice, that'll carry over to the game. So you have to go out there and go game speed all the time. You talk about what you do in the weight room, you want to build up your baseball muscles, but the best way to get in baseball shape is to go play the game.
, take your swings, field your ground balls, because that's where you work the little muscles that are tough to work out in the weight room. Our active warm-up, the main focus is to get a good sweat, a good lather working. It's two things in one; it's a stretching program, an active warm-up that keeps you on the move. You'll do some stretching you'll do some plyometric work, you'll go and make sure you get a good stretch but also stay active where it gets the blood flowing and it gets a nice sweat working.
Taking ground balls is important because for me defensive pitching wins a lot of games. You have to go out there and everybody likes to hit, it's fun to hit, you get a lot of glory from when you hit the homeruns and driving the runs, but defense is where you can help your pitcher out. I do a lot of one-handed drills to try to make my hands as soft as possible, and give with each drill. After I do my one hand drills we'll back up and do some ground balls. Really work on my footwork, make sure that once I catch the ball I can get my momentum going towards first base and make a nice strong throw.
My batting practice starts down at the cage. I hit off the T a little bit, take a little front toss, just to get loosened up and get my hands activated. Then carry that on to the field. I'll really work on my strength going up the middle, staying the other way. The first couple rounds I really work on keeping my hands inside the ball, trying to hit line drives to right center and then the last couple rounds hit the ball where it gets pitched. I really try to let loose and pretend like you're in a game situation. In your mind you're thinking to yourself, "Okay, bottom of the ninth, I need to drive this run in" and really trying to focus each pitch on accomplishing something.
Working on your throwing there's a lot of shoulder exercises that we do but mainly its just long toss and try to strengthen it. You get sore easily earlier in Spring so you try to get on a plan where maybe you long toss two or three times a week and really try to stretch them out and get some air under your ball. From third base it's somewhat of a long throw to begin with so you really have to work on lengthening it out and making sure that, come game time, your shoulder's strong enough to get it across the diamond.
I always knew that I had to outwork my competition because I'm not a guy that has the best tools or the best skills, so I really had to rely on hard work. I think I put a lot more pressure on myself than any other kind of outside influence. I always feel like there is room for improvement, I always feel like I'm not good enough. I think that continues to fuels the fire and makes sure that in the off-season I do whatever I can to put myself in a position to be the best player that I can.