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Playing year ‘round baseball is a rather new phenomenon. I’m 36 years old, and 20 years ago playing outside of Spring and Summer was not mainstream.
Now, you’d be challenged to find a “travel” team that doesn’t play a fall season and workout during the winter months.
If we consider playing a fall season is a given for most “competitive” teams and players, what should the off-season look like? And by off-season, I mean November through February.
Take Some Time Off
First, it’s really important to take some time off. Don’t take a week off. Take two months off!
Let your body rest, relax, and heal
While younger athletes’ bodies don’t necessarily need as much time to recover than older players, it’s still important to let our bodies heal.
Baseball is particularly tough on joints like shoulders and elbows. Playing March through October can really put a strain on these joints. Take some time (months!) completely off from throwing.
Give your family a break from the grind
We all LOVE spending time on the baseball field. Our family loves the other families we play with. They’re really our big extended family.
But we still need a break from the multi-day baseball commitment each week. Spend some time outside, doing different things, hanging out with different people, and catching up on everything you got behind on since baseball season started.
Work on other sports, and being a better athlete
Besides resting your body, this one is the next most important reason to take time off from baseball.
Young players especially need to do different activities. Play flag football, play basketball, do a non-sports activity, just do something.
Kids need to learn how to compete in other activities. Being exposed to new and different challenges, learning how to compete in a different environment, and experiencing new coaches and teammates will ultimately make them a better baseball player in the long run.
Put in the Work to Get Better
For players under 13 (and maybe even older), I’m a big fan of taking November and December completely off. Once the holidays are over, it’s time to get back to work.
Establish goals and focus on YOU
When the time does come to start back, focus on YOU.
Listen, if you plan to chase the best players at a young age, you’re probably going to be disappointed. Work on what YOU need to work on.
Create specific realistic
goals, and then work towards accomplishing those goals.
If you’re 9 years old and in the bottom third of the pitchers on your team, it’s unrealistic to think you’re going to come back in March as the number one guy.
Focus on throwing strikes, getting comfortable on the mound, learning how to pitch. As your body catches up, you’ll work your way up that ladder. Plus, as you’ll begin to find out quickly, the best pitchers won’t always be the ones that throw the hardest.
Have the right equipment and facility
This is one of those things that really depends on your situation. If you have access to an indoor facility, then great! If not, that’s okay. Make do with what you have.Don’t
use your $400 bat in cold weather. Get an in
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