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Why Training Indoors Can Be Beneficial

It's a simple fact: In some parts of the country, the weather prevents baseball players from practicing outside during the winter offseason. Now more than ever, however, training indoors is not only beneficial, but it also gives players options and advantages that training exclusively outdoors doesn’t provide. So what exactly are those advantages, and what does good indoor training consist of?

Strength, speed training, physical therapy to nurse bumps and bruises, and video work are obvious staples of good offseason work indoors, and oftentimes being indoors is an advantage, as all of those goals can all be accomplished in one spot.

“When you stop here, it’s a one stop shop for our student-athletes,” said Sam Zagorac, the lead baseball instructor at the Diamond Edge Academy, a 59,000 square-foot indoor facility that opened last December in Willowbrook, Illinois.

When indoors, players can pick and choose whatever strength and conditioning programs they want to do based on their physical stature or positions.

“Depending on what the kids’ needs are, we have the ability to do all of it,” said Chuck Van Robays, director of the Varsity Shop Training Center in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. “We can have programs that are all-inclusive and say, ‘You are going to be in here three to four days a week. You are going to learn how to lift. You are going to do a bunch of corrective exercises and periodize your throwing. The biggest advantage with training inside is that you can tailor it to what that person needs.”

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Another vital component to training at indoor facilities — and one not found outdoors — is a player’s ability to learn more about him or herself through video work.

For hitters, taking a break from hitting outside to look at themselves on video is a way to pause and see what they can do better or what glitches they have that they can iron out while games are not being played.

For pitchers, indoor training is also an opportunity to analyze themselves mechanically in order to hone things such as their deliveries, arm slots, pick-off moves, and follow-throughs to the plate.

“This time of the year is a good time of year to make changes,” Van Robays said. “We do a bunch of video analysis. In the season and leading up to the season we don’t want to make too many adjustments because we want to make sure their mental state is good and they are thinking more about game situations. This time of the year, it’s changed to, ‘Let’s tinker with this’ or, ‘Let’s try this.’ That’s probably one of the big advantages.”

Zagorac said while video analysis is an essential part of training at Diamond Edge Academy, he and other instructors have to be careful how they administer such analysis.

With all the technology available, a lot of parents and players have their own videos that they take, so Zagorac said it's on indoor facilities to break that down correctly and without bias.

“If they don’t know what they are doing and how they are doing it, then they are doing more damage than good,” Zagorac said.

From GameChanger and Keith Dunlap.

Baseball, Softball, Baseball Tips & Drills, Softball Tips & Drills

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