Spring marks the start of a new baseball season. With Youth baseball just beginning to get underway, many of my young ball players are leaving me to focus on their season. Professional baseball players have been gone for 2-4 weeks. High school baseball has been running for around 3 weeks and tough to keep up with, having athletes representing several schools in the Santa Monica and other Los Angeles areas.
I spoke recently about youth hockey development in the Los Angeles area and how training for hockey out here can pose many benefits to training on the hockey crazed east coast. Unfortunately, baseball is a whole different animal. The west coast is a power house at producing baseball players and as a result, many club baseball coaches like to take advantage of the desire parents have for their children to stay competitive by keeping them involved for as long as possible through the year. I’ve heard of some youth baseball players taking as little as 4 weeks a year off from throwing; and people wonder why there’s an epidemic of Tommy John surgeries in baseball and now other sports.
Proper strength training for little league baseball is critical. Proper training programs can help an athlete develop stronger tendons and muscles which can reduce the chance of requiring surgery. Any risks associated with sport performance and baseball in particular, especially, but not limited to shoulder health, are greatly reduced from a well monitored and individualized strength and conditioning program. Throwing strength and sprinting speed go up dramatically, which is vital for pitchers and position players being tested in their 60 yard sprint times.
Youth baseball or club baseball in the Los Angeles region pose its own negatives in an athlete’s health aside from the obvious shoulder and elbow problems it introduces. Just as mentioned in my post about youth hockey, which you can access in the link at the bottom of this entry, playing only one sport can set an athlete up for future failure, reduced athleticism and potential increases in injury due to lack of training other activities and movements. Strength and conditioning from a qualified coach can limit these risks if an athlete has decided to specialize at a younger age.
I have been fortunate to work with several professional baseball players, multiple collegiate, including the entire UCLA baseball program and elite level high school baseball athletes. These range from pitchers to position players, males and females alike. If you have any questions regarding training for your youth athlete, contact me today!