Rotational Med Ball Drills for Pitching and Hitting

Posted: March 29, 2013 in Baseball, Training
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Training programs and goals must change throughout the offseason. At the beginning of the offseason, training is dedicated to improving strength and fixing imbalances incurred during the season. As the season approaches, training programs for baseball players should transition from strength-based to power-based, and more emphasis should be placed on sport-specific movements and drill work. Many younger ballplayers who have not yet reached high school are in the middle of their “pre-season” training phase right now, as outdoor practices have begun and regular season games are right around the corner. This means that they are doing a LOT of explosive drills like medicine ball throws to improve their ability to use the strength they’ve gained over the winter.

One of the most important things my athletes have been working on this offseason is powerful, effective hip rotation. Without good hip rotation, both pitching velocity and hitting power will suffer.  Here’s two medicine ball drills that will help develop pitching and hitting power, while grooving good lower body movement patterns:

1) Step Back Shotput

The most important points of this exercise are to maintain a stiff front leg, and swing the back leg AROUND you rather than bringing it straight forward. If your front leg gets sloppy, you’ll leak power and therefore lose velocity on your throws. And if you’re unable to bring your back leg around you, you won’t be able to recruit your hips properly during the throwing motion. The guy in this video spent a lot of time this offseason building leg and glute strength, and you can see that he does a good job of maintaining front leg stiffness while swinging his back leg.

2) Med Ball Side Toss

A lot of young ballplayers know about this drill, but I’ve seen a lot of them do it with pretty terrible form. Most often, the problem is their follow through. The majority of guys who perform the side toss don’t follow through properly, which teaches them to be quick TO the ball, but not THROUGH the ball. Following through to a high hand position like in this video helps guys get the feeling of swinging through the ball, and ingrains good movement patterns. Other things to watch for are front leg stiffness (just like with throwing), effective weight transfer, and good hip rotation; all of which are showcased in this video.

If you’re a young ballplayer looking to increase your power, try these drills. If you can’t do them with good form, then you are likely in need of some strength training and/or mechanical adjustments.

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