5 Fatal Mistakes Baseball Players Make

5 Fatal Mistakes Baseball Players Make

1. Running Long Distance

It amazes me that many coaches still believe that long distance running is the key in improving stamina for pitchers. Even worse some coaches make there pitchers run poles after a start or outing. Simply put, there is no science or research to prove that long distance running has a positive effect on stamina or the recovery process.  What is even more staggering is that this myth has been accepted at almost every level of baseball . Baseball is a power sport. It is a game of quick, short, and explosive bursts. Compare this to long distance running which is very slow and controlled, clearly you an see that there is no correlation between the demands of a pitching and the demands of long distance runners.

Another argument is that running after pitching will break up lactic acid. Sure, maybe this would work if lactic acid actually accumulated after pitching but it doesn’t. Instead the soreness a pitcher feels 1-2 days after pitching are micro-tears in the muscles. I could write for days about why long distance running is not the answer for pitchers but hopefully by now you get the idea. If you want to check out a whole article on Why Pitchers Should Not Run Long Distance  click here.

2. Lifting light weights for high reps

Aside from skill, physical strength is the most important attribute an athlete can possess. It is the foundation upon which other athletic skills are built. Speed, agility, flexibility, mobility, power, and explosiveness are components of baseball that can be significantly improved by dramatic increases in strength. Baseball is a ballistic sport that involves quick and explosive movements. In order to increase power and speed, you must have a solid base and foundation to build on. The best athletes have incredible relative body strength. Simply put, strong baseball players who are able to produce forceful contractions will be more successful than weak players who rely on skill only. The combination of skill, power and strength will help baseball players reach their maximum potential.

3. Playing baseball all year around

This is the biggest issue I see in many young baseball players today and a whole article should be written about why young baseball players should not play baseball all year around. In fact, I would go as far and say if you want to become the best baseball player possible, start playing more sports!

Here is a typical high school baseball players year long schedule:

  • March 3rd-High school season starts. Chances are the baseball player has been throwing and hitting in the off season.
  • Mid June- High school season ends and player jumps right into summer baseball.
  • Beginning of August-Summer ball ends (maybe) and baseball players takes 1 month off from throwing or hitting
  • Beginning of September-Fall ball starts up and athlete jumps right back in after doing nothing for the past month OR  a player jumps right back into it after summer ball.
  • Late October– Fall ball ends.

This type of schedule presents a few major problems. First off, where is the skill development? A baseball player cannot work on developing proper hitting, throwing and fielding mechanics if they play game after game. Sure they are getting their reps in, but are they good quality reps? Or are they just reemphasizing a bad motor pattern?

Second, where is the physical development? The biggest mistake a young athlete could make is specializing in one sport at a young age, especially baseball players. The wear and tear of throwing a baseball year roung is detremintal to your body. Ever wonder why so many young kids are getting Tommy John surgery these days or suffer from shoulder injuries?

Of course playing games are important but there needs to be a balance between devleoping the proper skill set and displaying it on the field. Simply put, if you are playing baseball in the Spring, Summer and Fall you will not maximize your baseball potential. If you find yourself in this situation start playing other sports. Pick up a fall sport and make sure you work hard in the off season to develop physically.

4. Performing external rotation stretches

When I use to play college baseball I use to see the athletic trainers stretch my fellow teammates into external rotation. This really ercked the hell out of me. Why the hell would you stretch a baseball player into external rotation when they already have more than they already need? Doing external rotation stretches is a sure fire way to injure your shoulder and in some cases your elbow, please stop doing them immediately.

Do you think Billy Wagner Needs more external rotation

Do you think Billy Wagner Needs more external rotation

Instead, baseball players should work on strengthening the external rotators. Doing so will help to decelerate the arm and improve injury prevention. Also, most baseball players suffer from an internal rotation deficit in their throwing arm so focus on improving range of motion of the internal rotators.

5. Doing “ab circuits”

Ab circuits have been popularized by the coaches who realize the core is important for all baseball function but do not understand what the function of the core is and how to truly improve core stability. Instead, many coaches throw together these mindless ab circuits at the end of workouts which usually consist of some sort of spinal flexion like sit-ups or crunches, some sort of rotation like a Russian twist and a bunch of other garbage exercises.

In baseball terms the main function of the core is to transmit the power generated from the thighs and the hips throughout the body and redirect it to the ball. Without a strong,powerfull and stable core, a baseball player will never be able to maximize throwing velocity or hitting power. Check out Core Training for Baseball Players for what type of core exercises baseball players should be doing.

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Leave A Reply (3 comments so far)

  • Coach B

    I agree that long distance running, like static stretching before practice, is a “leftover” from the “old school” ways of doing things. Now that we are more aware fo the body, it’s “systems” and can train specifically, we need to update our methods of doing things and not be afraid to change.
    I agree that the shoulder is a victim of many wrong choices by athletes and “trainers” alike. this especially saddens me, because it seems to be the single most difficult thing to fully recover from (if it can be fully recovered from). I also concur that core training and strength development is paramont for baseball (softball) success at your utmost. Furthermore, I am in complete agreement that kids these days are encouraged (some forced) into choosing just one sport way too early in life. So much of the general athleticism, positive cross training, fun and strategic planning skills is lost when you specify too early.
    As a collegiat softball coach who doesn’t have the benefit of a full time strength adn conditoning coach, I have been doing lots of “surfing” and researching in the past 4-5 years to develop a year long plan for our program. I wish to give our young ladies the same benefits that the “big dogs” have if at all possible. I have found lots of workouts and programs that all profess to be “the one”. I’ve even purchased your Real Deal Baseball program. the problems I run into is implementing most of the plans with either limited equipment or time. The NCAA restricts the amount of time we are allowed to work with a student-athelte/week. In addition to that, how do I modify the program(s) for summer, pre-fall season, fall season, winter, pre-season spring to in-season spring(championship segment) and transition back to summer?
    Do I need to study and get a degree in strength and conditioning myself? Or, is there a resource for coaches like me?

  • You definitely do not need a strength and conditioning degree. Since you invested in my program, I will personally help you set it up with the equipment you have. Please send me an email at MeglioFitness@gmail.com with what equipment you have so we can modify the Real Deal Baseball Training program.

    BTW, it is nice to see some baseball coaches who get it. Most, have no clue and that is why I wrote this article. It’s time to transcend the baseball community. Thank you for being apart of the movement 🙂 Don’t forget to email me!

    Coach Megz

  • I’ve found that baseball players moving naturally… while challenging the core and balance with controlled resistance can make a difference for speed and strength integration without causing injury. Continue your excellent commitments to the game of baseball!