We spend thousands of dollars each year making sure our kids have the right equipment, instruction and opportunities to help them perform well on the ball field. A new Easton Ghost alone can set you back $450.00. And that’s just for hitting.
Well meaning veteran coaches like to point out that expensive gear doesn’t make a kid a better ballplayer. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “a $500 bat won’t fix a $1 swing” and other “wise old coach” cliches. As much as we don’t want to hear it, (especially when we’re dropping hundreds of dollars on yet another piece of gear), there’s a lot of truth to that sentiment.
We often overlook the items that can really take our kids’ game to the next level in favor of what’s
flashy and cool to show off in the dugout, but won’t improve their skills. Case in point: mobility bands. You’re probably not going to see your kid’s teammates oohing and ahhing over a set of black rubber tubes with handles and wrist straps. But, if they knew that these unassuming looking cords could help them throw more heat, steal more bases and hit balls farther, they might gather ’round to take a look.”
In fact, I didn’t realize until talking to my son’s coaches, that working out with resistance bands can improve more aspects of a player’s performance than any other training tool.
“And what aspects are those?” you might ask.
-throwing velocity, distance and accuracy
-hitting power and distance
-fielding speed and quickness
How did we not know this? (Guess we were too busy shopping for pricey bats and team-colored gloves.)
While they’re considered a form of weight training – like dumbbells – resistance bands are adjustable, versatile and compact. They fit easily into a bat bag…and they can be used anywhere, unlike standard weights.
“Bands and free weights do the same thing but in a different way,” says James Bierlein, pitching coach for RISE Baseball. “Bands offer resistance and free weights offer a set weight to move. I prefer bands over free weights. It’s easy to use good form to make sure you are doing the exercises the correct way as opposed to free weights where there is more room for error, especially in younger players.” (Bierlein says that 10 is a good age for kids to start working with resistance bands. *Make sure exercises are done using correct form.)
Increase Throwing Velocity, Distance and Accuracy
Adding reps with Victorem mobility bands to your pitcher’s warm-up routine will improve his arm’s range of motion, blood flow and muscle endurance. This translates to better performance on the mound, faster recovery afterward and greater overall stamina. In younger players especially, resistance builds strength, which increases pitch velocity. This, as we know, can add more K’s to a hurler’s stats.
“Resistance band exercises are great for getting pitchers ready to throw some heat – activating the arm muscles quicker than warm-up pitches alone” says Dustin Sollars, certified personal trainer, instructor and coach for RISE. “Most kids don’t have proper posture, rotator cuff strength or stability in their shoulder blades. Bands help develop the stability and strength that younger pitchers don’t get elsewhere.”
Click here to see proper throwing mobility workout guidelines.
Increase Base-Running Speed and Quicker Fielding
Baseball and softball are all about explosive movements. “You don’t run
longer distances to become a faster base runner, or better fielder” continues Sollars. “You work on springing into action.” (Picture a cat pouncing on its prey.) “Using resistance bands to increase leg, hip and core strength enables players to dig deeper into the dirt for that burst of power that good base running and fielding is all about.”
Hitting Power and Distance
Core strength and stability is important in all aspects of baseball, but especially at the plate. A player needs a strong core to balance himself and transfer power from the legs to his swing. Lots of core exercises utilize resistance bands.
When pitchers warm up with resistance bands, they increase their flexibility, range of motion, endurance and stamina. All of these combined enable the arm to throw a baseball more easily. Therefore, an outing to the mound won’t be as taxing on the arm, which lowers the risk of injury.
So instead of buying your kid something flashy to show off in the dugout, give them a tool to help them show off on the ball field. To order a set of resistance bands and see band exercise tutorials that will help with pitching, base running and core stability, visit Victoremgear.com