Home Baseball Content The Biggest Mistake Pro Baseball Players Make?

The Biggest Mistake Pro Baseball Players Make?

Written on October 4, 2009 at 6:05 pm, by Eric Cressey

The other day, I got to chatting with Tim Collins and Matt Kramer, two of Cressey Performance’s longest tenured pro baseball guys.  These two guys were among my first pro baseball guys to get back from the long season and start up training.  Tim’s notorious for getting back in the gym just a day or two after his season ends!


We were discussing baseball development, and one of them mentioned that one of his teammates had just commented on how he was taking a few weeks off and then was going to start training again.  Keep in mind that this conversation took place on October 1, and just about every minor league baseball team wrapped things up on September 7 (playoffs excluded).  While some guys were called up to play at high levels, and others shipped off to instructionals or the Arizona Fall League, most guys went straight home.

Now, “home” is a big improvement from the typical professional baseball lifestyle, which (as I described here) consists of a lot of late nights, long bus rides, unhealthy food, alcohol, and (specific to the topic at hand) erratic training.


In most cases, the weight rooms aren’t even close to adequate.  And, obviously, you can never have a great training stimulus in-season; guys just do what they can to “get by.”  Yes, they “get by” for almost seven months per year – which obviously makes the other five months incredibly important.

Now, if someone takes an extra month off after the season, he’s only getting 80% of the benefit of the off-season that his teammates are getting.  In a sport where only 3% of draft picks make it to the big leagues, if I’m a prospect, I don’t like my chances if I only have 80% of the preparation of those around me.

Let’s do the math on that for a guy who gets released after three years in the minor leagues.  That’s three months of preparation down the tubes.  Next, consider how many guys who have COMPLETELY OVERHAULED their physiques and performance in preparing for the NFL combine in less than three months.

Last off-season, we put 17 pounds of meat on one of our pitchers (and he got leaner!) between November 11 and February 20. He looked like a completely different person – in just three months and nine days.  His broad jump went up ten inches and vertical jump up 4.3 inches in spite of this big jump in body weight, meaning that he improved in both relative and absolute power.  This is not uncommon at all in the baseball guys with whom I’ve worked, particularly those who were drafted out of high school and never got the benefit of college strength and conditioning.

All that said, in my eyes, guys should be back in the gym as soon as possible after the season ends – even if it’s just a few days per week.  Simply getting the ball rolling on the endocrine, immunological, and rehabilitative benefits of strength training will do wonders in itself.  Getting started on improving soft tissue quality and addressing mobility/stability deficits is also tremendously valuable, as it paves the way for better training as the December-February “crunch time.”  These guys can take a week to gather their thoughts, and then get back to work; otherwise, they’ll have more vacation time when they’re out of work!

Truth be told, it’s one of just a few common mistakes we see, and this could be applied to just about any professional sport; I just chose baseball because it’s what I see the most.  Of course, the guys who probably ought to be reading this are the ones who are probably sitting poolside sipping martinis, or cuddling up in their snuggies and then having Mom’s homemade pancakes for breakfast at 1PM!

(For the record, I worked really hard to resist the temptation to insert the “In a Snuggie Rap” video here.  Search for it on Youtube, if you’re interested.)

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8 Responses to “The Biggest Mistake Pro Baseball Players Make?”

  1. Michael - The Fat Loss Authority Says:

    Well said.

    Please take extra good care of Collins because we’re gonna need all the pitching help we can get when Halladay is traded this off-season.


  2. Jack Says:


    Do you see especially tremendous gains in a short time with such athletes due as much to a significant “rebound” effect when they get back to better habits as to the training itself?

    I noticed you mentioned that some of your guys add quite a bit of lean mass while getting leaner, and since they’re not novices, I’m assuming that a lot of this has to do with the body and situation being ripe for rapid gains when solid training and lifestyle habits are reintroduced.

  3. Dan Says:

    Snuggie looks a bit like the bench shirts they use now.

  4. Dan Says:

    hahahaha… GO the snuggie vids!

  5. Bob Says:

    Does the same hold true for a 16/17 year old – who has decided to work exclusively on baseball (I am not advocating one sport, at all, its the reality of what my son has decided)…or should the younger guys take off some time to let their bodies “rest” ? My son is 6’3″ – 165 on a good day..and I was thinking a month on the couch with Mom’s pancacks might be good for him

  6. Bob Says:

    Does the same hold true for a 16/17 year old – who has decided to work exclusively on baseball …or should the younger guys take off some time to let their bodies “rest” ?

  7. steve Says:

    There’s a difference between total shutdown of all activiites (pancakes) and “active rest”. (Eric thks for your info on RW’s PitchingCoachesBootcamp DVD btw) My 12u son finished baseball tournaments in mid-Nov. (crazy I know). He didn’t touch a baseball, glove or bat for a month (1/3 of off season). But plays hoops, did my P90x workouts w/me and insisted after a weeek or so on throwing the football whenever we could. Now doing agility & RW’s CP routine twice a week. Getting away from baseball was a must. He see’s workouts as a fun challenge. A’s in school, why not?

  8. Dan Gazaway Says:

    Well stated! It’s amazing that some of the professional athletes “get away” with that type of lifestyle, but it truly does catch up to even the best. Fortunately more and more are catching the vision.
    David Wells had to be in some type of pain after he pitched every week. lol
    It makes you wonder how much better these pitchers (those with a natural ability to throw the ball) can be if they focused on basic workouts and nutrition during the season.
    Thank you for the article.

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