Employing effective recovery protocols in-season, is crucial to optimizing performance on the baseball field. This list of simple recovery methods helped enhance my recovery when I played, and they enhance the recovery of my athletes. Here’s my top 5 recovery methods to use in-season to maximize on-field performance.
1. Mobility Circuits – I’ve found mobility circuits work great in between games and workouts to restore range of motion, mobility, posture, and enhance recovery. My pitchers love using these circuits after their outings because it makes their bodies feel great the next day. A few days ago I put one of my high school pitchers through a mobility circuit to enhance recovery after a few taxing workouts. Click the following link for the full write up and video of the entire workout being performed: Workout of The Week (Week 7) – Mobility Circuits
2. GPP Aerobic Circuits – GPP circuit’s are easy-to-master movements that are cycled through for a given period of time. What you want to do is pick 2-6 movements, keep a running clock of 10-20 minutes, perform each exercise at 60-70% intensity, and try to complete as many rounds as possible in the given time you set before hand. You can use this recovery protocol post game or outing (if you’re a pitcher) in place of running poles as a more effective way to train aerobically to enhance recovery.
Here’s a GPP circuit I did with professional pitcher, Matt Pirro
As you can see I selected two exercises that are more conducive to his sport/position (lateral sled drags and yoga push-ups). Lateral sled drags were chosen to get some work outside the sagittal plane – baseball is played predominately in the frontal and transverse. Yoga Push-Up’s were selected as an arm care exercise to create some scapular movement/upward rotation to maintain good ball and socket congruency.
3. Self Myofascial Release (SMR) – I previously wrote an article that sums up my stance on SMR and why I feel it’s a fantastic option in-season to restore movement quality. My previous article covering Self Myofascial Release: Does Foam Rolling REALLY Improve Performance?
4. Sleep – We’ve all been told sleep enhances recovery and performance but where’s the proof? I came across THIS ARTICLE written by Jorge Ortiz of USA Today that brought forth factual data regarding sleeps effect on performance. The study in Jorge’s article that sparked my attention was, sleeps effect on recovery and performance on 250 minor league baseball players. Here’s some of the findings:
“The most exciting finding was seeing how close recovery correlated with performance,’’ said Will Ahmed, co-founder and CEO of WHOOP. “The higher recovered a pitcher was, the faster their pitch velocity was relative to their average. And we saw the same correlation for exit velocity (on batted balls).’’
This article also talks about various Major League Baseball teams current effort to enhance their players recovery to optimize performance. For example: the San Francisco Giants have made a sleep room in the clubhouse for their players to enhance recovery. They have also consulted with sleep experts to help them choose the least disruptive times to travel during the season and playoffs. Needless to say, more and more professional baseball teams are using many resources to improve sleep as they are now finding out how closely related a good nights sleep is with maximizing on-field performance.
5. Nutrition – Nutrition plays a much larger role in enhancing recovery then you think. If you’re training a few times a week and playing games 3-6 times per week on average your body is going to require a large amount of quality proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Having said that you need to be consuming quality carbohydrates, proteins, and fats multiple times a day to provide your body what it needs to repair broken down muscle tissue. Sorry, hot dogs and pizza won’t cut it! Another important factor with nutrition I’ve seen in players I’ve played with is that they aren’t eating enough in-season. Some guys I’ve played with would go literally 10 plus hours without eating. This is a recipe for disaster as your body needs sometimes twice the amount of nutrients it needed in the off season.
For more nutrition information click the following link: 3 Easy Nutritional Rules to Follow for More Muscle
As an added note I wanted to address post-game icing on your shoulder/arm, contrast baths, and saunas. I believe all of the above come down to personal preference. I iced sporadically over the course of my playing career and I never noticed a considerable difference in recovery from a game. Other players I’ve played with swear by it. I personally felt much better after jumping in the sauna post game, but others I’ve talked to said it does nothing to help recovery. It all comes down what works for you in this regard so I don’t feel comfortable prescribing one or the other.
The baseball season is a marathon not a sprint. Employing effective recovery protocols over the course of the season is a crucial piece to the training puzzle that must not be overlooked. Try some of these recovery protocols in your in-season training today and dominate on the field tomorrow!
VLOG Episode 7 – TOP 5 In-Season Recovery Methods You Should be Using