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Staying in Shape Over the Long Winter

For young baseball and softball players in many parts of the country, the days are now too short and the temperatures too cold to get outside to play much. Even if you live in a location where December brings more snow and gray days than sunshine, there are still lots of things players can do to keep in shape over the winter months.

First and foremost, said coach Jim Greco, founder of Santa Clara, California-based Living Legends Baseball Club, is to try to find a local baseball academy with indoor facilities. Many facilities run camps and offer other opportunities for kids to get playing time when the local fields are better suited for snowshoeing than batting practice.

If there aren’t any good instructional academies around, or just none period, there are still a number of options, Greco said. 

For starters, even when the weather’s not ideal there still might be some days when it’s good enough to set up a pop-up net in the backyard. Set up a tee, grab a bucket of balls and take advantage of the OK — and certainly the good — days when they happen. The same goes for grabbing a parent or a friend and heading to a local park for some long toss. It might even be possible to set up a net in the garage and practice some swings in there (with a parent OK’ing the setup, of course).GA-Staying in Shape in Winter.jpg

Stretching is another thing that helps players during their down time, as does using elastic bands to help strengthen their arms.

“Those are things I preach all the time to my boys that they could be doing even when the weather’s great,” Greco said. “There are still things you can be doing when you’re not playing that are going to help you get better.”

Any conditioning a young player can do during the dead of winter always helps, Greco said. Go to a local sporting goods store and pick up a 2-, 3- or 5-pound weights and even basic arm exercises or sit-ups and push-ups can help build strength. 

“Those are things you have to motivate yourself to do,” he said. “You have to have the internal motivation to do the work versus sitting and playing video games or being on the internet all day. Even adults can get caught up in that, but it’s important to have motivation over the winter.”

One last thing Greco suggested is maintaining good nutrition over the winter months. It’s not that a 12- or 13-year-old should be on a diet, he said, but continuing to eat healthy, nutritious foods during the winter will help make it easier to snap back into game shape when spring arrives.

From GameChanger and Karen Price.

Baseball, Softball, Baseball Player Development, Softball Player Development, Baseball Tips & Drills, Softball Tips & Drills