TRYING TO DEVELOP ROTATIONAL POWER FOR BASEBALL?
Ditch the Medballs, and Start Focusing on Specialized Exercises That won’t Jack up your Mechanics…
We know that rotation is an essential piece of the baseball/softball training equation; I mean it doesn’t exactly take a rocket scientist to dissect the importance of rotational exercise for overhead athletes.
But digging a little deeper, and getting a bit more specific to the reasons rotation is important – the reality is Separation from shoulder to hip is essential during throwing and swinging mechanisms. And To accomplish this “stretch/separation” ability, development of the abdominals is critical.
But before we look at how most coaches and athletes are approaching this; lets talk a little more about what “IT” actually is…
This whole idea of separation and stretching the shoulder against the hips really comes down to a combination of two things:
- Passive elasticity of the soft tissue (the ability of soft/connective tissues to stretch and retract) and
- The stretch shortening / reversible muscle action
And it really is essential to the transfer of power during the rotational portions of your swing or your throwing action…
YOU MUST APPROACH SPECIFICITY CAREFULLY
However over specificity plagues this area of “Baseball Training” where the “trainer” or “coach” tries to mimic the throwing actions or swinging actions too closely and combines it with the thought process of overload or adding resistance.
This is often in the form of med-ball throws and rotational actions.
In theory this would be correct, but the problem is that using a heavy med ball for a rotational slam against a wall will very likely cause the athlete to adopt changes in technique timing and coordination during his or her sport action, because the weight of the implements used are dozens of times lighter than what is used during the exercise.
In addition the objects are shaped much differently, and will require a far different movement sequence or “motor pattern” to be adopted to move the object; especially where the positioning and mechanical demands are at their highest – in the arms and the hands.
Think about it: how much different does your body have to move to swing a round 15lb heavy medball to slam into a wall than it would to swing a 33oz bat at a ball?
So what is the answer?
SPECIALIZED EXERCISES FOR ROTATIONAL POWER
They key is in specialized exercises.
What are specialized exercises? Exercises that are designed to specifically target one joint, section of mechanics, muscle group or even joint angle or range of motion.
The trick is to create a movement or exercise that will have a large carry over to the sport action (pitching or hitting) without being too complex or too similar to the actual sport skill itself.
The reason for this is because we need to avoid “neural grooving” or hardwiring the brain to think that the exercise is the sport skill. Instead we drill down to make a change during one part of the mechanical action or skill, and then let the body incorporate the new found ability or capability into it’ already “grooved” mechanics.
Basically – Pick specific parts or portions of the complex technique to strengthen / develop so that the brain doesn’t mis-link the training to the sport mechanic – yet still gains increased ability in that part of the sport skill! .