PPP’s Guide to Fall Training for Frontline Baseball Athletes
The Importance of a Fall Training Strategy
Many players, coaches and parents mark December as the "official baseball preseason training" start date using 12-14 weeks to prepare athletes for the upcoming Spring season. However for many players, Fall can be used as a time to actively recover, improve their pitches or get a head start on training to return even stronger for the next season.
Assistant Director of Pitching, Noah Junis is currently helping lead throwing development at Premier Pitching HQ. He has a passion for applying data to player development. We asked him how he plans to approach the fall season with his athletes,
“Spring and summer throwing workloads for baseball players are extremely heavy. The amount of games played and stress on the body could cause range of motion and strength capacity to decrease.”
Noah emphasizes the importance of fall training as a time for baseball players to actively recover in order to prepare the body for the following season. He advises,
“Fall is a time to give the arm a rest and focus on rebuilding the rest of the body.”
For frontline players, September through November presents a golden opportunity to restore range of motion and enhance baseline strength before ramping up throwing volume and intensity for the upcoming spring season.
3 Reasons You Should Plan Your Fall Training
- Physical & Mental Restoration. The fall follows a physically and mentally demanding six months of competitive play. Therefore, it serves as a vital period to restore movement, practice arm care and sharpen mental focus.
- Strength Gains. With college and high school competitive schedules winding down, the fall becomes a time when baseball activity is at its lowest. This presents a valuable opportunity for athletes to concentrate on strength training in the weight room, allowing them to make substantial gains before the preseason months of December, January and February.
- Athlete Analysis. While we always aim for continuous athlete development in terms of size, strength and speed throughout the year, it's essential to consider the timing of peak training stress versus peak skill development. As strength and conditioning professionals, it is our responsibility to recognize when to adjust the emphasis from specific baseball skill development to more intensive weight room training, and vice versa. Fall can be a great time to evaluate what you need to focus on, especially as a pitcher. We recommend getting a biomechanical pitching assessment to get a better picture of your strengths and weaknesses.
PPP advocates for a well-balanced fall training program to maximize benefits during this recovery period. Here's a comprehensive three-month training plan that covers September, October and November, helping pitchers optimize their performance:
Designing a Baseball Training Program for Fall Off-Season
The fall season presents an ideal opportunity for baseball athletes to focus on their off-season training and lay the groundwork for a successful upcoming season. To maximize their performance, a well-rounded training program that incorporates both speed and agility training and power and strength training is crucial.
Mobility and Muscle Release
Due to the one-sided nature of baseball, players undergo various adaptations throughout the season due to the repetitive movements involved in the sport. It is crucial to address these adaptations before reintroducing skill-specific baseball movements to avoid reinforcing overuse patterns. To achieve this, early fall training may focus more on myofascial release and mobility/corrective exercises. These practices are designed to restore motion to adapted tissues and lay the groundwork for building strength effectively. Here are a few examples of mobility and release techniques you can try:
- Myofascial Release: Using a therapy ball or foam roller focus on your glutes, adductors, lats, traps, infraspinatus/teres minor, pecs, biceps, triceps and forearms
- Mobility Exercises: Band pull-aparts, shoulder rolls, thoracic windmills, doorway slides, serratus slides.
Movement Pattern Adjustments
During the early stages of the fall training program, the emphasis should be on improving movement patterns to enhance various on-field skills. Perform movement pattern training sessions 3-5 times per week as throwing volume is lower. Here are some effective drills:
- Med Ball Throws: Athletes can work on delivery cues and rotational power by performing medicine ball throws with a 4-8lb medicine ball.
- Pummel Ball Delivery Throws: Proper throwing mechanics and rotational power can be honed by performing the pitcher’s delivery without putting stress on the shoulder or elbow when using a 2lb pummel ball while addressing mechanical adjustments.
- Movement Pattern Drills: After addressing the players goals for the offseason there are hundreds of various drills to prescribe. All of these drills can be executed early on in the offseason to reinforce quality movement patterns after a long season and, often times, many repetitions of the improper mechanics.
Power and Strength Training
As the fall training program progresses, athletes should transition into power and strength training to build muscle mass and strength. Here are some recommended exercises for power and strength development:
- Power Training: Include exercises such as box jumps, broad jumps, medicine ball training, kettlebell training or even traditional exercises using a bar speed sensor. Thus shifting the focus from the amount of weight one uses to the speed in which he moves the weight.
- Strength Training: Incorporate exercises like deadlifts, squats, presses, rows, lunges and cable training. Focus on building more muscle mass and strength by completing 4-6 sets of 5-8 repetitions with up to 85% of your 1RM. Allow 3-5 minutes of rest between sets.
As the fall progresses, athletes will have attained sufficient rest and preparation, making it an ideal time to introduce power training into the program. Eventually, strength training can be added to build a solid foundation for the upcoming season.
Looking for a step-by-step fall training guide? Sign up to download PPP's FREE 16-week offseason performance program here.
Up Your Game with Premier Pitching and Performance’s Proven Programs
Fall training provides baseball pitchers with a critical opportunity to rest, restore and rebuild their bodies, setting the foundation for an outstanding performance during the upcoming 2024 season. Premier Pitching and Performance encourages players to follow a well-designed training plan, emphasizing myofascial release, mobility exercises and strength development. By optimizing their offseason training, pitchers can elevate their game and achieve success on the baseball field.
Take the next step in enhancing your skills this fall with Premier Pitching and Performance. Join us at our Wentzville, MO facility just outside of St. Louis, MO for in-person performance training, or take advantage of our remote training options. Let's make this fall a season of growth for your baseball career!