Picture two different college baseball prospects trying to be recruited. The first player is fundamentally sound but having spent no time on strength and conditioning, he lacks strength. Because of his physical deficiencies, his tools don’t grade out very well. His arm strength limits him to second base, he is a single hitter, and his speed is average. The second player is raw on the field, but has spent time on strength and conditioning and has plenty of functional strength. His arm strength allows him to play multiple infield positions and he has some bat speed that translates to power potential. Which player would you recruit for your college roster?
If you are thinking like a college coach, you would rather recruit the second player. Why? Physicality. He has put in the prep work to gain more strength and handle a college workload that will provide the reps he needs to be a more fundamentally sound player. Player two has increased his potential and allowed recruiters to label him as “projectable”. This example is basic and an adequate description of the two players is difficult to put into writing, but the point remains—if you want to be recruited, building a baseline level of functional strength is incredibly important. Functional strength means strength that is useful to performing baseball specific movements more efficiently. A strength and conditioning program that improves functional strength is the answer to many baseball deficiencies and allows a player to throw and hit harder, run faster, bend and move more efficiently, stay healthy and the list goes on.
So what does this mean for recruits wanting to play baseball in college? Plain and simple, make building functional strength a big part of your development plan. While not everyone develops physically at the same time and not everyone can be 6’3”/205, everyone can add strength and mobility that will help them perform better, stay healthy, and get recruited. Most importantly for development, a quality strength and conditioning program in high school provides the base and preparation necessary to make significant gains in college when your body matures and allows you to make significant physical gains.
So how do you go about finding a quality strength and conditioning program? We discuss some basic exercises you can do in this guest blog, but there are many other people who offer a lot more great strength and conditioning advice specific to baseball for free. Eric Cressey, Driveline Baseball, and Ryan Faer are a few of our favorites resources that are well known in the baseball community. TCU Baseball’s strength and conditioning coach Zach Dechant and Coastal Carolina’s S&C team are two college specific resources that share a wealth of information and are must follow. Their blogs are linked and they are also easy to find on Twitter. That is a great place to start. As always get approval from your parents, doctor, and your school’s strength coach before you start any conditioning program. From there, do your research and adjust your plan based on your goals for the time of year. Summer is a great time to learn about and implement a strength and conditioning play that is right for you and your goals, so get started today!