Home Baseball Content In-Season Baseball Strength and Conditioning: Part 3 – College Baseball

In-Season Baseball Strength and Conditioning: Part 3 – College Baseball

Written on March 23, 2011 at 5:47 am, by Eric Cressey

This is part 3 of my series on in-season baseball strength and conditioning programs.  In case you missed them, be sure to check out Part 1 and Part 2.

Today, we'll be talking about managing the college baseball player in-season.

There are definitely some similarities between how we manage our college and high school guys (described in Part 2) - particularly with respect to position players/catchers and starting pitchers on 7-day rotations.  The main difference, though, is that the college baseball schedule is largely based on the weekend (Fri-Sun games) with some mid-week games worked in (usually Tue or Wed), while the high school schedule is a bit more unpredictable.  As a result, the days on which guys tend to lift are probably more set in stone for college baseball players.  Let's look at things by position.

Position Players/Catchers

I prefer to have our most challenging lift on Monday (after a weekend series), with another lift scheduled for either Wednesday or Thursday.  This enables a coach to give players a full day of rest on either a Tuesday or Friday before a game day, but do so without interfering with the overall training effect.  I've also known position players who like to go with a full-body lift on Monday, then a lower body lift and upper body lift back-to-back for Wed-Thu or Thu-Fri.  It really depends on the player's preferences and how many innings he's getting on the field.

Pitchers

We manage our college starting pitchers exactly the same as our high school once-a-week starters.  There's no need to reinvent the wheel here.

Relief pitchers, though, are where many college baseball strength and conditioning coaches want to pull their hair out.  Their schedules are very unpredictable; they might throw Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday - or they might only throw on Saturday and then have six days off.  What to do?

I say that when there is chaos, you give people structure - and that's exactly how I manage relievers.  I've found that most guys appreciate having at least one part of their routine set-in-stone - and scheduling strength training sessions can be just that.  So, assume that every reliever lifts Monday and Thursday - even if he may have to pitch Thursday night (you can just pare back volume in the session) in a random mid-week game.  As long as you aren't adding in loads of new exercises, you won't make him sore and interfere with performance.  We have relievers in pro baseball who lift all the time on days that they wind up throwing - and many actually report that they feel better on the mound when they've already lifted that day.  You'll need to do same-day training to get in their movement training, anyway - and nobody has ever complained about sprinting during warm-ups.

Additionally, if a relief pitcher has a particularly long outing and you know he won't be back to throwing for a few days, treat him just like a starting pitcher and lift within 12 hours after the game; you might find that you can squeeze in an extra strength training session for him during that week.

I'll be back tomorrow with the final installment of this series on in-season baseball strength and conditioning: professional baseball.

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  • Daniel F., CSCS

    Eric, just a quick question regarding rest for pitchers. Why is it that you prefer to strength train immediately after their pitching days? Do they not need the recovery time after that much on field work before going into strength training? just a question, not an arugment just trying to learn more about baseball training. Thanks man.

  • Thomas P. Rohling

    I forward all of your baseball newsletters to our players, athletic trainer, and coaching staff. Thanks for the time you put in because you have a very heavy influence on our program design.

  • I forward your newsletters to all our players, athletic trainer, and coaching staff.

  • Pingback: Stuff to Read, 3/23/11 | Driveline Baseball()

  • Great series of posts so far, Eric. I’m happy to see we’re in agreement on most of the concepts when training baseball players in season! It’s a tough nut to crack, and your posts will help the athletes at Driveline Baseball a lot.

  • @Daniel: My feeling is that it’s best to consolidate stress into 24-hour blocks whenever possible. Pitchers undergo an extensive amount of eccentric stress during throwing, so if we can just add some resistance training in there and then give them 48 hours until a subsequent bout, we stand a better chance of bouncing back than if we did something every day.

  • @Thomas and Kyle: thank you!

  • Eric: How do you feel about Olympic Lifts during season? I have never used it for my players with the higher risk for injury and have stayed mostly with the Absolute Strength type of exercises.

  • Bob Huber

    Eric
    Unrelated to the article but your feelings about icing after pitching?

  • Bob,

    I think it is a very individual thing. Not something we should force on pitchers, but not something we should take away if they feel good doing it.


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