In my previous article here, at the Baseball Player Magazine, called In-Season Throwing and Strength Maintenance Program, I first addressed the issues of young pitchers and their lack of an off-season. This is a major problem because I believe it is the primary factor of why arm injuries are increasing even at the youth level. In this article, I will layout the elements of the ultimate off-season and give you more information on the ultimate off-season program for pitchers.
The Elements of the Ultimate Off-Season
This starts the healing process. We do this every night when we sleep, which gives our bodies time to start healing without the stress from the requirements of the day. This sleep is so important every single night to prevent complete system failure. 10-12 hours is ideal but overtime, during an active season, this sleep isn't enough to completely heal the body. This is when an off-season is critical. This gives the pitcher a good 2-3 weeks, before starting an off-season training program, to allow the body to completely heal itself. So to start your off season, you must take 2-3 weeks off from all activity and focus on proper rest.
Proper rest means you must create a sleeping environment that supports deep sleep. This means you must go to bed at a reasonable time and remove all distractions from your bedroom. These distractions include; noise, temperature and light. I recommend you make your room as dark as possible, with no sounds coming from inside or outside the room and set your room at a good temperature to prevent you from overheating at night. This will create the ideal environment to promote good sleep. Ear plugs or white noise will also help a great deal.
This would include nutrition and hydration. Now that you are getting good rest, your body is starving for nutrition. I recommend that once you awake from that proper sleep you immediately drink a 16 ounce glass of water because your body is dehydrated from a full night of no water. The best water you can put into your body is ionized or alkaline water. Here is a good article called, Healing the Pitcher with Water http://topvelocity.net/healing-the-pitcher-with-water/.
Once you fully hydrate yourself then I recommend that you take a whey protein or a good protein supplement to feed your starving system. You also need a carbohydrate for some morning fuel. It is a good rule of thumb to have carbohydrates whenever you take protein. This is to prevent your system from converting protein to fuel. You want your system to use the protein to help you rebuild and recover, not to fuel your system. Great examples of this would be egg and toast or a protein shake and oatmeal or whole grain bread.
The last bit of nutrition your body needs are vitamins and minerals. I would recommend that you do your best to get this from vegetables, grains and more good whole foods, but also supplement this with a good multi-vitamin and mineral. If you need a good recommendation on a multi-vitamin supplement please contact me.
The 2-3 weeks has ended and it is now time to start building your machine. As your body has been resting and recovering, it has also been atrophying. This means it has been breaking down and losing size and strength. This occurs because of the demands that you have put on your body. During rest, the demands on your body are minimal, so your body naturally reduces size and strength to adapt to the new demands. This is the purpose of the rebuilding process. We need to rebuild the machine to be ready for the demands of the season. This is also the opportunity to enhance performance and increase velocity.
This element is in conjunction with the rebuilding processes. Not only do we want to rebuild our size and strength, but we also want to remodel more fast twitch muscle fibers. This means we are not only building size and strength but now speed. Speed and strength equal power. Pitching is a power position, so increasing your body's ability to produce power will benefit you as an athlete/pitcher. If you are going to increase power and remodel more fast twitch muscle fiber, then you must use an off-season program that has been developed specifically for this purpose and also developed for the pitcher and his demands.
The Ultimate Off Season program for Pitchers
This program will include a fusion of exercises, lifts and drills to rebuild and remodel the pitcher for performance enhancement during the off-season. This program will include both a throwing program and a strength and conditioning program. This program must marry the throwing program and strength and conditioning program together to allow the athlete to make the most gains in pitching performance.
I have developed an in depth off-season program using this layout along with my playing and coaching experience and it is called the 3X Pitching Velocity Program. It is a 16 week program to take full advantage of your off-season. It is an intense program to help the pitcher add 5-10mph in the off-season. It takes a high level of commitment and will only benefit the pitcher who has a strong desire to be the best. It also comes with a Beginner's Guide for all ages. For information on the program visit http://TopVelocity.net or contact me at http://Topvelocity.net/Contact. If you are in high school or college and you want to get a little taste of the intense strength and conditioning program in the 3X Pitching Velocity program, then tryout this beginner training routine here at http://topvelocity.net/baseball-pitching-workout-beginner/