Tips

Baseball and Slo-Pitch Training Advice For Older Players

First I want to say if you are over 40 and looking for baseball (or slo-pitch) training information – good on you!

You are going to be the player that will still be playing hard when most players your age will totally slow down or even quit because they can’t handle the speed anymore.

With that said, we need to make sure you are training properly – which is what I want to talk about in this article.

Let me start off with a baseball analogy…

Home Runs vs Base Hits

The home runs are definitely fun to watch, but teams know that they can’t just rely on those big moments to try and string together a successful season. A steady diet of only hoping for home runs will result in a very unfavorable win-loss record if you’re playing competitively.

Strategically speaking, we want to simply get our runners around the bases – and the most reliable and consistent way we can get this done is with base hits.

You don’t need home runs to win an entire series. In fact, it’s not even uncommon to see teams have the lowest number of home runs all season end up reaching the World Series (The Giants did this in 2012 and the Royals did this in 2014).

An underrated play in baseball is when a player looks for a ball he can hit for a base hit and move a base runner up a bag or two. A single might not be as cool as a home run but it often gets the job done.

So why am I talking about baseball strategy in this article?

Well, you can use this base hit strategy successfully in your baseball (or slo-pitch) training program design layout – and it works especially well once you’re over 40 years old.  Let’s get into it…

Progress Demands Strategy

I want you to get away from the days where killing yourself in the gym seemed like mandatory practice – it’s not.

In fact, research is continuing to mount suggesting that less intense exercise and less time-consuming exercise can have comparable benefits to the crazy stuff you thought you “had to do”.

In other words, training like a crazy person only adds minimal benefit, and that minimal benefit will only ever be worth it if you can actually recover from it – and if there’s something I don’t need to tell most folks over 40…it’s the fact that they just know that they don’t recover as quickly as they used to. Even if they have maintained excellent shape.

Constant maximal efforts in your workouts will lead to burnout, especially once you get over 40.

I want you to always remember that working at your optimal intensity is very different than working at your maximal intensity.

At this point in your life, applying workout intensity to your routine is all about subtlety and nuance, and not “Hey I just saw this crazy baseball workout in this magazine, let’s try it out!”

All stressors in your life tap into the same recovery reserves. Meaning:

  • Psychological stress
  • Emotional stress
  • Environmental stress
  • Physical stress

All factor into what is known as your “adaptive reserve” – in other words, a stressed physiology will not adapt, and no adaptation means no results.

This is important to care about because not only do the folks over 40 have more life stressors than the teenagers busting their butt in the gym – but the “physical stress” aspect of your recovery ability gets tapped out much quicker than it used to.

Going for those homerun workouts isn’t realistic anymore on a weekly basis. At least not without feeling exhausted all the time and having sore joints and poor mobility every week.

If you feel the need to go “all out” during your training to keep up with the younger players, or whatever the reason, just know that in the end you may be hurting your baseball or slo-pitch performance out on the field.

Using the Base Hit Strategy

The more stress you have in your life and the busier your days are, the more you should be using the base hit strategy in your baseball or slo-pitch training programming.

The real truth here is that it’s not how hard you workout that matters, it’s how efficiently you workout.

You need to be able to listen to your body and apply the gas pedal only as hard as needed in order to get to your destination.

Do you floor the gas pedal when driving down residential streets?

No, because you don’t need to in order to accomplish your task of driving to your family’s house.

Do you need to floor the gas pedal every time you’re in the gym?

No, because you aren’t a young MLB player and your recovery ability has changed now due to age and life-related busyness/stressors.

The base hit strategy might mean training at a bit of a slower pace or with some lighter loads here and there, it also might mean doing one light day per week – or sometimes having dedicated light weeks instead of just light days.

It’s OK to back off the gas pedal today so that you can still drive tomorrow – it’s the man who is still there at the end of the race who is going to win.

Don’t feel guilty if you back the pace off of your workout a little bit sometimes when you’re not feeling it.

Consistency is always more important than intensity – consistency will allow you to come back tomorrow and get back at it, whereas intensity will just crush you and increase your daily caffeine need.

For the over 40 crowd, going too hard in the gym or at the diamond every week will lead to burnout.

Check-in with yourself regularly and ensure you’re listening to your body every step of the way, it’s trying to tell you important things.

Example Baseball or Slo-Pitch Workout For Older Players

A1: BB front squat: 3 x 8 with 10secs rest
A2: DB reverse lunges with front foot elevated: 3 x 8/leg with 120secs rest

B1: DB incline bench press: 3 x 12 with 10 secs rest
B2: DB Romanian deadlifts: 3 x 12 with 120 secs rest

C1: Y-T-W’s: 3 x 10-20 secs in each position with 10 secs rest
C2: Wide pronated grip lat pulldown: 3 x 15 with 120 secs rest

D : Plate pinchers: 3 x 30 secs with 60 secs rest

*Explanation for supersets: When viewing the above workout, understand that the groupings you see on the left-hand side are “supersets”. For example, you would perform the A1 exercise, rest 10 secs, and then perform the A2 exercise, rest 120 secs, and then go back to A1 until you have completed your programmed amount of sets for those exercises. Do not move on to B1 until you have completed all rounds for the A-series.

Final Thoughts

The base hit strategy is all about training consistently and keeps you in the gym, healthy and happy.

It also relieves you of the pressure of thinking you need to “go all out” and over-achieve in every single baseball or slo-pitch training session.

Stop trying to hit home runs with your training – base hits will get your results and base hits still get the roar of the crowd.

Thinking you’re failing if you’re not going all out is the opposite of a healthy lifestyle, to think otherwise is a complete misrepresentation of health and long-term baseball performance.

If you are working very hard and very consistently and you’re finding yourself in a plateau of progress – I can tell you that “more work” is probably not your answer.

From experience, I can tell you that the athletes who are already busting their butt in the gym find that next leap in development once they finally allow themselves some rest and recuperation.

In this game we love so much, a base hit is going to keep the inning alive and it’s going to keep your offense on the field. A base hit workout, with it’s overall dialed back pace and intensity, keeps you and your program strategically in place to keep going and get the long-term win.

About the author

Dan Garner

Dan Garner is the head strength coach and nutrition specialist at BaseballTraining.com. He has coached baseball players and other athletes at all levels from youth to MLB players. Garner holds many educational credentials and has been mentored by some of the top coaches in the world.

Add Comment

Click here to post a comment