A few years back, I was very against med ball work in-season.
I was wrong. It’s a must in-season.
The truth is, I was worried about excess stress on the elbow and thought adding additional rotation to an already rotating sport would be a recipe for injury.
When we look at the baseball player, pitchers specifically, a lot can be accomplished through med ball work in-season.
In-Season Baseball Training
In my opinion, the biggest benefit of med ball work during in-season baseball training is creating intent and power that may be lost.
Often, athletes stop training plyometrics, speed, moving weight with a purpose, or any other “max effort” work during the heart of the season.
When the athlete is moving slower or has forgotten how to tap into the next gear, some easy max effort med ball throws may wake up the central nervous system.
A few exercises I program when an athlete is running slow in-season are:
- Med Ball Post Activation Potentiation Slams
- Med Ball Scoop Toss
- Pairing Med Ball Chest Passes w/ a pressing strength pattern
- Med Ball Skaters
- Med Ball Over Head Toss
We still need to be monitoring the workload. Sometimes, we may be overloading the athlete while giving them too much.
We often take a fitness solution to a fatigue problem. Know the athlete and their threshold.
Address mechanical work
Additionally, another reason we use med ball work in season is to address mechanical work without increasing throwing volume.
We are limited to how much we can throw, especially in season.
A few advantages we can gain by using med ball work to address mechanical work are: creating separation from the lower and upper half, creating better timing of the pelvis, creating ground force production from the floor up through proper sequencing, controlling the trunk/thorax position, increasing thoracic rotation/extension, and being able to hold posture.
Athletes can jump on the mound and throw med balls to create intent and address mechanics in-season with little risk or fatigue.
This needs to be done correctly.
A good workload for on-mound work may be 3×3 or 2×3 with a hyper-focus of the goal at hand.
The majority of pitchers’ work should be done on the mound. They need to toe the rubber and feel the slope as much as possible, year-round.
There is no better way to do this than by also doing med ball work on the slope.
Med ball work should never replace the weight room. However, these two areas can complement each other and achieve the goal of in-season baseball training.
There is a place and time for the med ball work.
We do not want to fatigue the system while adding med ball work. The day you choose to add the work needs to be strategically programmed.
The day before a start or before a bullpen session is an optimal time for a pitcher to complete a light med ball routine to get the CNS going.
For position players, the med ball days will be more difficult to add in, due to the fact they are playing every day.
Knowing this, work it in as needed. A way we can add med ball work into a position player’s program is by giving them one exercise twice a week within their lifts.
This will allow the athlete to know what day they are in the weight room, what their goal is for that day, and how they will feel after that specific workout.
Finding power or continuing to develop power can be done in-season.
As with everything, there needs to be a “why” behind the med ball work programming.
Have a plan that will achieve a specific goal, enhance performance, prepare the body, or fix mechanical flaws.
Optimizing time in the weight room in-season is vital, as it is not the number one priority at that time. Development does not stop.
For more information on optimal ways to train in-season, read here.