Baseball players are faced with a decision to make when it comes to making the most out of their summer.
Do they train in the gym all summer and develop their skills or do they play in tournaments or a summer league?
Many gyms will tell you that you need to train regardless of circumstance; this is not always the case as it depends on your goals and where you currently are in your development.
To help athletes decide what’s the best move for their career, let’s walk through potential situations and see the options players should consider when it comes to making a decision for the summer.
Situation 1: High school athlete wants to increase velo
Player A is throwing 81 mph as a junior in high school and wants to play in college. While it is tempting to play in tournaments and showcases to be “seen” by college coaches, the fact is, you will not be recruited to a D1 school throwing that hard.
Player A needs to make an effort to increase his velocity. It would be best for this player to focus on summer baseball development to increase his velocity and focus on a proper strength and throwing/recovery program.
Why? This would set this player up to throw harder in the future and then be a player a school is looking to recruit and offer a scholarship.
Situation 2: High school position player – didn’t play much the previous year
Player B is a high school position player who did not play much as a sophomore and is trying to get ready for his junior season and continue to develop.
For this player, it would be best to get on a team and play in games through the summer, BUT it would also be necessary to take some steps to develop physically to become a better player. There is a lot to be said for getting more in-game experience as a player especially as a younger athlete.
Situation 3: High school athlete committed – going into senior year
Player C is a high school athlete who is committed to a college and heading into his senior year.
He throws 89-91 mph with one good off-speed pitch and he threw 50 innings this past season.
For this player, it would be in their best interest to focus on summer baseball development, unless they are invited to top national scouting events to be seen by professional scouts.
Since this player does not need to be seen by colleges and got plenty of innings during the season, they should continue to develop and take that 89-91 to potentially 92+ by the time the next season rolls around.
This will set this player up to possibly be drafted by a MLB team or to play regularly as a freshman at their college.
Situation 4: College athlete – just finished 1st year
Player D a college player who finished up their freshman year where they played only around five innings because there was an older/more “seasoned” player in front of them at their position.
For this player, it could be beneficial to go play summer ball and get some innings playing against other college players under their belt.
There is so much to be said for experience and gaining those valuable reps that you just can’t reproduce anywhere other than the field.
Does this mean that you can’t work on your body at the same time? Absolutely not.
Keep in mind, if you weren’t playing because your body isn’t where it needed to be, you may need to reassess and focus more on development over games. It always depends on your unique situation.
Situation 5: College athlete looking to earn Prime spot
Player E just finished their sophomore season where they pitched 60 innings in the season and has some work to do to earn the Friday night starting job and that is their main goal.
They know that if they can increase velocity and improve their physical attributes, they will achieve this goal.
For this player, training during the summer and getting their body in top shape to perform at their highest level and increase from where they were last year is key to set them to be successful this next season.
With different players there are different options that should be considered.
Keep in mind, every player would benefit from training and continuing to develop but there is a balance that should be addressed.
Baseball is not a sport where working out in the gym is the only part of development. At the same time, with the extreme demands baseball puts on the body, the game should not be played all day everyday with no consideration to maintaining a healthy body and recovery.
The main takeaway from these various situations is that there are numerous options to consider and the player should do what they believe will set them up best. At the end of the day, it is their baseball career.
Learn more about how to develop this summer at Push and hit your unique goals here.