There are a few things college baseball scouts especially look for when watching prospects: throwing speed, baseball hitting coordination and power, and fielding skills. Many baseball players and most coaches think lifting weights increases baseball hitting, which is true, but you must have the correct exercises to get the most benefit.
The following five fundamental exercises, performed during the off-season, will give baseball players the best chance to succeed.
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Fundamental Baseball Exercises
1. Med Ball Rotational Tosses
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It is not brute strength that cranks the ball over the wall, but the ability to quickly generate immense amounts of power. The perfect tandem of power and strength will greatly increase your hitting distance. Med balls are a great tool to help generate power.
The problem with sports training is everyone trains predominantly on a rotational plane. This means if you swing right-handed, coaches focus on rotating to the left, because that is the same direction in which you hit. Perfect balance—not neglecting the opposite side—will help stabilize ballplayers and improve their baseball hitting abilities.
2. Kettlebell Swings
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The Kettlebell Swing may be the best single exercise you can do. Not many exercises besides Olympic lifts can generate both strength and power with such a high demand. The force generated in the posterior chain for the Kettlebell Swing mirrors that for hitting. Increase the amount of Kettlebell Swings in your strength program, and watch your hitting power progress nicely.
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3. Sled Pushes and Pulls
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There are countless lower-body and midsection strength exercises, but maybe the most all-around exercises are Sled Pushes and Pulls. You can use sleds for conditioning tools, but you can also use them for leg strength. Pushing and pulling a loaded sled will dominate an athlete’s legs and promote huge increases in leg strength during the off-season. There is not a great deal of form importance on the sled, which makes it very easy and effective for youth athletes. Sleds and baseball hitting distance go hand-in-hand, because the majority of the baseball swing’s power is generated from the lower body.
4. Hang Clean
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Olympic lifting can be very complex. Shortening the learning curve can help. You can do a Hang Clean with a barbell and not have much competition when it comes to force production and speed. Just like when hitting a baseball, the Hang Clean takes just fractions of a second and tests your coordination and speed. Start light and work on technique, then add plates to the bar and watch your hitting power explode.
5. Front Squats
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When you swing a baseball bat, the vast majority of the force production comes from the front of your body. Your upper body, abdominals, hips and quads generate a great deal of power. The more power and speed produced, the further the baseball travels. Front Squats are a great full-body exercise that increases trunk stability and skyrockets leg strength. Incorporating Front Squats in a strength program for baseball players will lead to further ball travel.
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