The game of baseball requires strength, speed, power, endurance, core strength, agility, balance and coordination (hand/eye and hand/foot). To improve these qualities it is necessary to “build from the ground up”, by developing explosive legs, a strong and stable core (abdomen, low back, and hip girdle), strong back, stable scapula, mobile thoracic spine and strong mobile shoulders and arms. Your body is a 3-link chain; 1) hips and legs, 2) core and 3) shoulders, arms and hands. Forces needed to swing fast and throw hard are initiated in the hips and legs, and then transferred through the core to the shoulders, arms and hands where they are applied to the bat and ball.
Our training program addresses baseball performance on two fronts. First, using the “build from the ground-up” approach, workouts are designed to enhance the transfer of force from the legs to the shoulders and arms during hitting and throwing. Second, we our programs are based on scientific principles and years of experience in professional baseball to help reduce the risk of injury, improve health and maximize performance.
The Texas Rangers’ Strength and Conditioning Staff is committed to providing a comprehensive and professionally implemented performance training program to optimize athletic ability, enhance performance and reduce the risk of injury, through the physical and mental preparation of players at all levels within the organization.
1. Establish a Baseball Routine
- Routine and consistency are the cornerstones of performance. To make progress in fitness and performance, you have to utilize a training routine that simulates the movements and metabolic demands that occur on the field, and engage in a year-around training program. Gains acquired during the off-season are quickly lost if you fail to continue training during the season.
2. Prevent Injury
- A fit player is less likely to be injured, and if injured, will recover more quickly. Improving performance and health requires a comprehensive training approach that emphasizes muscular balance, core strength, joint mobility (without compromising joint integrity), proper nutrition, and adequate recovery. Remember, a team can’t win if its best players are sidelined with an injury and a player can’t improve if he can’t train and/or play because of an injury.
3. Build Work Capacity
- Work capacity is the ability to engage in intense training and then recover enough to perform again at a high level. Work capacity is a trainable quality that requires a systematic progression of training variables (i.e., volume, load, rest, and exercise) in order to improve fitness and delay fatigue.
4, Increase Functional Strength
- Functional strength is the strength used in game situations. Baseball players are not body builders. Body builders don’t have to run, jump or throw. Workouts should focus on movements, not isolated movements or appearance. Efficient movement skills are best developed utilizing multi-joint, multi-plane, ground-based exercises that improve the strength and power needed for successful baseball performance.
- Helping players learn and understand their strengths and weaknesses will help accelerate player development. The staff will provide players with guidance and advice on topics such as training strategies, performance, nutrition, injury prevention and reconditioning to improve performance and help promote a healthy baseball lifestyle.
Minor League Yearly Training Phases
1. Post-Season (Active Rest) – Late-September to October.
- The length of this phase will vary if your team is in the playoffs or you are going to Instructional League. For those on play-off teams or attending Instructional League, your training will continue with the staff. If you are returning home after the season, your goal is active rest. Use this time to heal injuries, recover from the physical and mental stress of the season, evaluate your performance and set goals for the upcoming off-season workouts. Stay just active enough to maintain fitness, but don’t start formal training for at least 3-4 weeks. You need active rest, not couch-potato rest. Don’t stop training completely or you’ll lose the gains made in the previous year. Maintaining a general fitness base will help you make quicker improvements when your off-season conditioning program begins and raise the upper limit on how much you can improve before next spring.
2. Foundation Phase (Train to Train) ‒ November.
- This is the beginning of the off-season program. This Foundation Phase is designed to focus on increasing work capacity to prepare central nervous system for the more intense and specific workouts to follow.
3.Strength Phase (Get Strong)
- The Strength Phase is designed to maximize muscular strength by increasing the intensity of the program. You will be doing fewer exercises, lifting heavier weights, doing more sets and fewer reps each workout.
4. Power Phase (Become Explosive) ‒ Late-January to February
- The Power Phase is designed to maximize power, i.e., your ability to apply force quickly. You will be lifting heavier weights for more sets and fewer reps to teach the body and central nervous system to turn on more fast-twitch fibers so you can be more explosive when you run, jump, hit and throw. Workouts will utilize fewer exercises and focus on explosive movements specific to baseball.
5. Spring Training (Train to Play)‒ Late-February to Early March
- Your goal during spring training is to get ready to start the season by converting sport-specific strength and fitness into baseball-specific strength, speed and power. This is the toughest time of the year in terms of overall work. You will continue to work on building the physical qualities developed in the off-season while sharpening your game skills. Spring Training will include testing in the 300-yard Shuttle, Vertical Jump, 10-yard Burst, and the 5-10-5 Agility Test. You will also be tested for height, weight, and body composition (% body fat).
.6. In-Season Training (Train to Win) ‒ April to September
- .Your primary goal during the season is to always be prepared to play at a level that will help your team win. Workouts are designed to improve performance, reduce the risk of injury and maintain at least 90 percent of the sport-specific strength, speed and power developed previously. The season is too long to be a single training phase. To prevent the build-up of fatigue, the volume of training will decrease as the season progresses and workouts will utilize alternate days of heavier and lighter intensity to maintain strength and power, maximize recovery and minimize the risk of over-training. The staff will taper training workouts during the Championship Season in September. The Major League season is a marathon. Teams play 162 games in approximately 180 days. Activities within the game, however, are a sprint. Most plays are over in less than 5 seconds. In-season workouts will help you develop the ability to give maximum effort on every pitch, play, sprint, swing and throw and recover between plays and games to maximize performance and help your team win. Strength Training will drop off during the Championship Season of September. Keep in mind that you are training for a Major League Season, which may be over 200 games (with Spring Training and the Playoffs)!
“You never rise to the occasion, you merely fall to your level of preparation.”