**We just a launched a brand new Youth Baseball Training Program – Click here to learn more**
- Is Youth Baseball Training Safe?
- Youth Baseball Training 101
- The Baseball Youth Training Mistake You Need To Avoid
- Speed, Agility, And Quickness Training for Youth Athletes
- How Young Should Baseball Players Start Lifting?
- Game Day Nutrition for Youth Baseball Players
- Example Youth Baseball Workout
As it currently stands in the baseball strength and conditioning world today there just isn’t near enough quality youth training and nutrition advice on the market as there should be.
If you google baseball training, more often than not you will get a bunch of search results with a bunch of random workouts that are supposed to accomplish single random goals (For example: Baseball Hitting Workout).
These usually come in the form of a single training session or workout with no further guidance on what a full training system should look like for a baseball player or what the training organization should look like throughout the seasons and years of youth development.
On top of this, these workouts are always designed with the professional athlete in mind using extremely advanced techniques, heavy weight loads and gym equipment that the average person or parent doesn’t have access to.
Not to mention, the youth athlete shouldn’t be training like an MLB player anyways. You’ll soon learn why training your youth athlete like a pro-athlete can actually be counterproductive in the long run.
To be taking full advantage of your athletic potential would be running a complete baseball training system that is structured properly on a month to month basis to build the athlete from one phase to the next.
This should be coming in the form of a sport-specific fitness training system created specifically for the in-season or off-season that addresses the common problems baseball players run into during these times.
Problems such as muscular tightness, strength imbalances due to baseball being a unilateral sport (meaning, you only use one side of your body for throwing, and one side of your body for hitting. Repeating these actions can develop strength imbalances from left to right), and baseball-specific mobility.
Completing the program a better, stronger, faster, more explosive baseball player.
Now, what separates youth from this ideology?
Youth athletes can and should be doing additional training outside of their games and practices if they are serious about their athletic development. On top of this, they should also be eating more like athletes as well.
This is where parents or coaches normally start thinking:
“Well, I don’t want my team lifting heavy weights every day after school, or even at all. Isn’t that dangerous?”
“My son is 11 years old! He is not going to eat perfect, that’s impossible!”
You know what?
You’re absolutely right.
But that’s ok, we take this stuff into consideration with the three keys of youth athletic development. They are:
#1: It has to be fun.
#2: It has to be safe.
#3: It has to improve performance.
The magnitude of importance should likely be in that order as well.
Those three have to be in place for it to be effective, fun and good for long term use. The problem I see is too many coaches offer too much of one category, and not enough of the others.
For example, many well-meaning coaches out there in local communities just simply don’t have an understanding of sports physiology and train their teams in inefficient ways, and sometimes completely counterproductive ways.
Offering up long distance running for their baseball teams while being totally oblivious to the fact that long distance aerobic activity does not have much carryover into the game of baseball, and at the same time is making the kids do something they don’t enjoy doing (seriously, who likes jogging!?).
That’s both ineffective for boosting performance and not fun.
Well meaning coach?
Did he/she completely miss the target for properly training their team?
100% of the time.
In another example, you will get some wannabe tough-guy Dad who has decided to coach the team and blitz the athletes with a grueling conditioning system.
More often than not this program design (if you can even call it that) is also structured incorrectly but he will try and make up for that with something along the lines of “no pain, no gain”.
Sure, no pain no gain.
But when these guys run their teams through workouts that haven’t been thought out from a sports physiology perspective, it’s more along the lines of “Lots of pain, no gain”
Additionally, if you’re going to be driving the kids to work hard you had better also be offering nutritional ideas to the parents to support proper recovery between practices and games.
If not, you’re missing a huge part of the performance pie and creating a huge limiting factor in performance development.
It’s not smart to train kids hard, and then not offer the strategies to refuel their bodies with the raw materials required for repair and growth.
Finally, we have the coach that is a little too fun with the design of the practices and/or workout program.
Too many fun games, too much sitting around, no real long-term structure to measure progress, and an overall plateau in physical and baseball development.
Although the kids love this coach, they love him because it’s like recess– performance ultimately suffers.
Now, this might seem like a scenario where you can say “Let them have fun! They’re kids! They can focus on trying harder when they’re older”
That might sound like an ok idea on the surface, but as you will see throughout the content of this article, optimizing movement during youth is probably one of the most effective things you can do for any athlete at any stage of their life.
The central nervous system is being molded like clay during this time period.
How your kid goes about their daily life determines very important long-term abilities in physical qualities such as coordination, balance, kinesthetic awareness and stride frequency.
Absolutely huge components to an athlete’s potential, and are best optimized at a younger age.
You can think about this a little bit like learning a language.
We all learned a language at a younger age and it came naturally to us.
From there, that language is burned into our brain and we don’t have to think about how we are going to communicate when we are about to communicate.
This is a lot like how the nervous system adaptability works in youth athletes.
Train them correctly when they are young and they will be able to have greater athleticism and greater movement efficiency when they’re older.
You almost never see a bad athlete turn into a good athlete when they are older, this is because their nervous system has already been molded and is “locked in”. More on this later.
The best thing you can do for youth athletes is find that fine line between work, fun, and measurable progress.
Doing something correctly doesn’t mean it has to be monotonous and boring. In an ideal scenario it would be fun, safe, and offer performance enhancement in both the short term (youth years) and long term (adolescence and adult years).
You don’t want to be putting your money into something that has no benefit to your kids or your team. But you also don’t want to be putting your money into something that your athletes or kids are going to hate.
Keep in mind, some parents are totally happy with their kids not improving performance at all so long as they have fun.
And I can get that, if that’s not what the kid wants to do with his/her time or if the kid offers resistance before going to every single practice and game, then this article is probably not for them.
This article and the example workouts are for the coach or parent who has a kid or team who genuinely likes spending their time playing baseball and is happily open to incorporating additional training either by themselves, with the team, or with a group of friends in order to get better.
The main objective of this system is to improve baseball performance, but in doing so you also accomplish many other health and fitness based measures.
These “bonus” benefits are all very important to a youth athletes physical and mental health.
Youth training improves:
- Body composition (What your ratio of fat to lean muscle mass is)
- Mental and physical confidence
- Baseball performance
- Health biomarkers
- Relationships and comradery with whom they train with (group, friends, team, parents, coach, etc)
- Short and long term athletic potential
- Decreased body fat levels in overweight children
I will get it out of the way very quickly here that youth athletes running this system are not expected to lift heavy loads or work with much additional resistance at all.
Bodyweight exercises, light dumbbells, and baseball-specific movements provide more than enough progressive resistance in order to make substantial and meaningful progress in a safe and effective way.
But, when it comes to the fear of resistance training youth athletes, people seem to forget that external forces and resistance are applied to the body in a sport setting even more so than when properly resistance training.
In addition to this, it can be applied during awkward physical movement which can put the athlete at a big risk for injury.
That’s why you always hear of athletes getting hurt playing baseball, not training for it.
Think about the idea of resistance training for a moment.
You are applying an external force on the body in order for the body to make positive adaptations in the muscle to that force and come back stronger next time.
Now think of the sport of wrestling.
When you are going for a take down and picking up your opponent or grinding to gain a superior position; that is applying very high levels of force and resistance on the body.
This will cause an identical force-adaptation response in the muscle and cause that muscle to get bigger and stronger just like resistance training would.
These forces happen all the time in sports and do not differ from bodyweight exercises from an adaptation perspective.
Only in the fact that they are less predictable and include the forces of an external unpredictable stimulus (your opponent). Which is precisely what makes them more dangerous to perform than resistance training.
It always blows me away that parents won’t think twice about putting their kids in martial arts, wrestling, football, gymnastics, and baseball all around the year.
But then when it comes to resistance training they immediately think it’s dangerous.
It’s the same types of forces, but in training, you’re able to safely control and monitor them.
Why do you think a kid gets stronger after a year of wrestling?
His body adapted just like it would from resistance training.
The dangers of strength training in youth couldn’t be further from the truth and I actually believe this to be the exact opposite. I think it is more unsafe to put your kids in full-contact sports without having them train.
Training improves the strength of the muscles, tendons and ligaments while also increasing bone density.
All of these positive adaptations contribute to immediately decreasing their susceptibility and potential for injury.
When training is conducted with proper youth program design and performed with good technique– training not only increases performance but also improves health and resistance to injury during competition.
Which means less games, practices, and workouts missed.
All directing to a bigger picture of a better athlete.
It is my objective with this article today that I outline the in’s and out’s of proper youth training and begin to make safe training program design accessible for parents all around the world.
Is Youth Baseball Training Safe?
We often get asked here at Baseball Training whether or not it is safe for younger athletes to do some training in order to become a better baseball player.
To be honest, this is a great question because I can totally get where every parent and coach are coming from because they only want what’s absolutely best for their young ones.
In this section, I want to address this topic head-on so that we can end the conversation surrounding what’s really holding young players back from becoming the best versions of themselves.
The topic of training and safety for youth athletes has been circulating for decades, mostly just within the United States and Canada though as other countries have been routinely training their athletes at a young age for a long time now.
If you’re reading this article, I’m sure you have heard that any form of resistance training is unsafe for the youth demographic.
Some even go as far as saying it is bad for the joints and causes a stunting in growth, yet there is no evidence to support these claims.
In reality, the safety risks of doing controlled track and/or gym-based exercise is far less than with football, hockey, running, baseball, gymnastics, martial arts, and many other popular sports.
The research in the world of biomechanics has clearly demonstrated that activities such as throwing, running, jumping, and hitting all impose much larger forces on the body than weight training ever could.
Beyond this, these activities have also been shown to place a heavier stress on the growth plates of growing bones than weight training does — yet nobody seems to ever mention this and every parent seems to be ok with letting their kid perform all of these activities simultaneously.
I’d like to take a quick moment here and pull a direct quote an excellent review of the scientific literature that is found within the British Journal of Sports Medicine:
“Of note, injury to growth cartilage has not been reported in any prospective youth resistance training study that provided professional guidance and instruction.
Furthermore, there is no evidence that resistance training will negatively impact growth in height during childhood and adolescence.”
That is powerful stuff, and should be incredibly conclusive for you since it is coming from an extremely well-respected medical journal and not just some random person echoing an old myth that needs to die.
Not Only Is It Safe, It’s Healthy!
Studies have shown that youth demographics who weight train have higher bone densities, which is the main contributor to bone strength (and not plate damage!).
Eastern European countries have found that children are significantly healthier when they resistance train at a young age, and both the American Society of Pediatrics and the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine have said that resistance training is positive for health and development.
Provided the program is made by a professional and that the technique is being supervised to ensure the movements are being performed properly in the gym, there seems to be no reason not to train, and a whole lot of reasons to train.
To take the health and baseball performance legitimacy to the next level, i’d like to quote from the position statement that the National Strength and Conditioning Association did after reviewing the totality of research on youth training:
“Despite outdated concerns regarding the safety or effectiveness of youth resistance training, scientific evidence and clinical impressions indicate that youth resistance training has the potential to offer observable health and fitness value to children and adolescents, provided that appropriate training guidelines are followed and qualified instruction is available.
In addition to performance-related benefits, the effects of resistance training on selected health-related measures including bone health, body composition, and sports injury reduction should be recognized by teachers, coaches, parents, and health care providers”
More incredibly powerful stuff from the most scientifically respected strength and conditioning organization in the world.
If you read that correctly, you would know that not only can it help them with their health markers, and their fat loss, and their bone health, and their muscle gain…
But it also leads to less injuries in sports, not more!
Youth Baseball Training 101
The baseball industry is kind of in a funny place right now.
Kids get into baseball at very young ages, but there are so many questions around the idea on whether or not youth athletes can or should be doing some training in addition to their practices and games.
To perpetuate this issue, there really isn’t a lot of rock solid information out there regarding what young baseball athletes should be doing with their training even if they do decide to train.
I first want to tell you that your youth athlete can and should be doing some additional training, beyond this, it is 100% safe for them to do so.
Having said this, there is definitely a right way and a wrong way to do things. Just like adults can get hurt doing stupid training, so can your kids.
The problem here is that, although they mean very well, parents and volunteer coaches more often than not just aren’t up to date on what the scientific literature has to say about youth athletics and the real cost/benefit analysis that you’re looking at when putting your kid on a new exercise regime.
Because it’s normally not real strength and conditioning coaches working with kids at this age, the adults can miss the mark on creating a huge advantage for their kids by choosing the correct training methods to optimize their athletic ability and nervous system capacity.
Youth Baseball Players Cannot Train Like Adults
The training stimulus you apply to a youth athlete is exponentially different than what you would apply to an adolescent or adult.
Meaning, I would have no problem whatsoever programming a teenager or adult to do 7 sets of 3 at 90% of their 1-Rep Max on the deadlift for the first exercise of their workout.
A kid on the other hand, should not be exposed to these advanced training methods just yet as they can make tremendous gains in strength, endurance, speed, and power with incredibly basic bodyweight and/or light weight (DB’s / BB) work.
We back off on the advanced training methods for now because a kid is a kid!
The advanced methods are used once you are approaching your genetic potential and progress is coming at a much slower pace.
As you get closer to your genetic potential you will require new motor unit exposure/stimuli to get over a current plateau in your progression.
The more advanced you are, the more advanced your training needs to be.
An 8 year old doesn’t have any experience in this strength and conditioning world, so any stimulus is a new stimulus to their muscles and will provide a great enough stress is order to make excellent and logical progress from.
You can consider a kid’s musculature a blank canvas, they will continue to make progress on the basics for a long time.
Not to mention, the basics are what is actually going to keep them happy and engaged during these maturing years.
For youth athletes, I cannot articulate into words how important it is that you take care of their psychology just as much (or more) as their physiology.
Meaning, IT HAS TO ACTUALLY BE FUN.
The moment you force your kid to do banded Zercher squats, a daily mobility routine, and hill sprints until they puke is the exact same moment you take the fun out of baseball.
Yes Dad living vicariously through his son, I’m looking at you.
The last thing you want to accomplish with your training is for them to dread it, lose interest in athletic development, and ultimately not care about baseball anymore because it’s “not fun”.
I don’t blame the parents though, there really isn’t any youth specific training out there.
Most of the time people only want to know what the Derek Jeter’s or the Alex Rodriguez’s of the world are doing. Although that’s cool, applying that training to a kid takes the fun out of the game.
What’s funny here is that the people posting what the pros are doing don’t understand that what you do in your youth training is actually what is arguably the most important factor in long term athletic success.
Yes, I meant that. Youth training can make or break athletes.
Training To Set Up Future Success
The science behind that statement revolves around the modelling of the nervous system during the growing years.
On average, up until an athlete hits puberty their nervous system is still very adaptable and can be compared to molding clay.
This is very important to care about because the nervous system is involved in intensely important physical baseball qualities such as total body relative strength, explosiveness, running stride frequency, agility, balance, and overall body awareness/coordination.
In a nutshell, the more different types of movement you can expose a youth athlete to during these crucial years of development, the more of an advantage he/she is going to have in all of the above-mentioned qualities.
By movement exposure, I am referring to everything.
Running, crawling, multiple sports (big hint: do not specialize in year-round baseball too young), resistance training, running backwards, jumping in different directions, punching, kicking, hanging, swinging— essentially anything and everything movement related.
Additionally, the more unique the movement skill learned, the better.
Should Kids Play Other Sports?
This movement variation strategy at a young age will transfer directly to a greater overall athletic ability.
Not just in the short term, but in the long term as well due to the fact that they will carry that nervous system with them for life.
This is why a minimalist’s approach to baseball youth specialization is the best recommendation for adult specialization.
For example, if you took two kids and made one focus and play baseball year-round every year versus another kid who played baseball during the summer but then played hockey in the winter, soccer in the spring, and lacrosse in the fall– he is going to be the better athlete when the time comes for his adolescence + adult years.
Sure, he played less baseball than the other kid, but his nervous system exposure and development before puberty was extremely superior to the first kid who only focused on baseball and therefore he created a much better skillset within stride frequency (one of the biggest factors that determine a baseball players speed), body awareness, total body relative strength, balance, explosiveness, and agility.
To make things more basic, you can simply think about it as movement skill development.
The more moves you know, the greater crossover those moves can all interconnect in your overall athletic prowess.
Not to mention the major point that a kid with a greater exposure/experience in multiple sports would have far less susceptibility to creating any repetitive strain injuries or structural imbalances due to constantly repeating the same movement patterns.
It’s night and day from a sports performance and physiology perspective. You know how often baseball players already get injured, don’t start that at a young age.
Bottom line, when it comes to youth:
Multiple sport exposure > Baseball specialization
I’m not saying a kid should only ever play baseball in the summer either. Kids often love baseball and want to play year-round.
For the kids who want to play it year-round, that’s fine, but I would limit it to once per week or even once bi-weekly during these seasons where his real baseball team isn’t playing.
Limited exposure during these off times are recommended for two major reasons:
#1: More coaches get more eyes on him. If he/she has different coaching throughout the summer and winter, they may pick up areas in which they need to work on their game to reach a higher level.
The more opinions and expertise you have, the better. One of your coaches may be an excellent batting coach, whereas another may be more of a strategist.
In any case, more eyes on you means more development for you.
#2: No exposure “drought”. If your kid goes through a 2-4 month drought with zero baseball time and then is expected to hit the diamond for tryouts out of nowhere he/she will be at a greater disadvantage compared to those who had exposure to the game throughout the year.
In my opinion, just playing around in the backyard isn’t enough.
You want your youth athlete doing skill work and/or scrimmaging once a week or once bi-weekly prior to tryout time.
Stepping away from youth training yearly periodization, I think it’s important to address an agility flaw most coaches fall for when running their youth athletes through certain “agility” drills.
And that is the reality that pre-determined movement patterns have minimal carryover to sports performance in baseball.
Meaning, if you are running around three cones for agility you’re really not training agility.
Because the movement pattern is pre-determined. You already know exactly where you’re going and what you’re going to do about it.
A game situation is never like that.
Not to mention agility is the transfer of absorbing and re-directing force, a quality much more related to relative strength and power then cone drills.
I will be going over this in much greater detail in an upcoming project I’m working on to create a comprehensive program for baseball-specific speed development.
But to offer some practical advice to agility for you today, a kid would both get greater agility development and flat out have a way better time (remember, psychology) playing tag or playing dodgeball with the other kids.
Tag and dodgeball are both completely unpredictable (already beats the cones), more physically demanding, more mentally demanding (think timing/coordination), and way more fun. If you want kids to have some better agility, play a little game at the end of the training session or practice.
They’ll think it’s fun, and you’ll know they’re becoming better athletes.
Youth Baseball Players and Strength Training
Let’s switch gears now to the most commonly referred question for youth athletes, “can my kid strength train? And is it safe?”
Yes, your kid can absolutely strength train. In fact, you could even make the argument that it would be more dangerous for them to not strength train.
It’s first very important to not get strength training confused with what you see on TV, in movies, and in magazines.
Strength training for youth does not mean deadlifting, Olympic lifting, squatting, moving any kinds of heavy loads, chalking up your hands, and listening to death metal (unless they’re going through the goth stage, in which case, I don’t think anybody has advice for you).
When defining strength training it simply means training with some form of resistance to create a positive (and healthy) adaption in the body.
I can’t understand at all when parents will throw their kid into martial arts, football, hockey, gymnastics, or wrestling and then start to think twice when it comes to resistance training.
Completely wrong thinking process.
Force being applied to the body is force being applied to the body, whether it’s a dumbbell or the kid you’re wrestling against. Same thing.
When you safely strength train a youth athlete, it should actually give you (the parent and/or coach) peace of mind as strength training dramatically lowers the risk of injury, is going to make them stronger than their opponents, and will actually make them healthier due to their increased level of fitness.
And no, it’s not going to stunt their growth.
Don’t forget, strength training will also pay huge dividends towards nervous system development. How many exercises do you think are in the book? Thousands?
Ok, and what drives nervous system development?
New movement exposure.
Strength training checks so many important and relevant boxes here for youth baseball players.
But having said all of this, I do have guidelines to follow. I said right out of the gate in this section that it’s not smart to have your kid perform high intensity work.
It’s completely unnecessary both psychologically (not fun) and physiologically (no need for advanced training stimulus due to blank canvas).
Opting for an overall lower intensity training periodization is the smartest and best way to approach this thing long term for your little slugger.
When training youth, the resistance/strength training aspect should primarily come in the form of body weight exercises. The best ones to incorporate being:
- Chin up variations
- Pull up variations
- Dip variations
- Squat variations
- Lunge variations
- Push up variations
- Abdominal circuit variations
- Jump variations
It’s most beneficial to always keep the overall intensity and training volume low with rep ranges anywhere from 10-30 reps per set per exercise; while keeping a close eye on proper technique at all times.
From a non-bodyweight perspective, youth athletes can also safely use light dumbbells, medicine balls, and light sled drags.
What you want to stay away from is directly loading the spine; squats, overhead press, etc. It’s also wise to stay away from barbell movements in general in the beginning, it’s unnecessary at this point in time and to be introduced in later on in adolescence.
From a speed and conditioning perspective, youth athletes can make great progress with both aerobic and anaerobic work.
But for the anaerobic work, opt for no bodyweight loading (For example, no DB farmers walks for timed sets).
Conditioning systems utilizing hill sprints and/or track work is most ideal here.
To wrap things up here, I hope this section was helpful for those looking for some solid information regarding youth athletics and what can actually improve performance vs. what is not worth doing.
Additionally, identifying what the myths are and what the truth is.
Keep a look out in the near future as I will be creating a complete baseball youth development system aimed for the coach or parent who has both their kids’ performance and safety in mind.
This system will include all the information required to give your youth athletes the proper foundation in order to make long term progress from and become the best baseball players they can possibly be.
Major Take Home Points for Parents and Coaches:
- The youth training years are some of the most important years of an athletes entire career
- Youth athletes should not specialize in baseball year round
- Strength training is totally safe when done properly
- Low intensity training should be favoured
- Always ensure proper technique is performed on all exercises. If you aren’t sure, seek a real professional to help you out
- The more sport exposure, the better
- The more movement exposure, the better
- Playing games can be a great way to improve agility
- IT HAS TO BE FUN
The Baseball Youth Training Mistake You Need To Avoid
There’s a trap in young athletics that baseball players need to watch out for. What can happen on a very common basis is one of the following:
A young baseball player doesn’t know how to weight lift, so they find workouts in magazines or at popular websites and try those out.
They train with their friends who seem to know what they’re doing.
They train with the football team because the football team is very serious about their weight training programs.
What’s the common denominator between all of these programs?
They aren’t baseball specific.
If you’re serious about becoming a better baseball player, if you’re serious about long term progress, and you plan and getting as good as you possibly can—you have to train like a baseball player and you have to individualize the process for yourself.
I know it may seem totally harmless to do a workout with your buddies or with the football team, but they do not share your abilities or your goals.
Weightlifting can create dramatically different effects depending on how you train.
Gymnasts, powerlifters, bodybuilders, dancers, bikini models, football players, baseball athletes, and boxers all weight train—do they all look the same and have the same abilities?
Absolutely not, that is because they train differently and train according to their goals.
There are four major reasons why you need to sidestep their invitations for training if you are as serious as possible about developing your baseball performance.
#1: Your Workouts Have To Be Specific To Baseball.
This rule is brutally simple.
The workouts that you do must be able to have an explanation behind them as to why they are going to make you a better baseball player.
Remember, we aren’t in the gym to get better at weightlifting, we are in the gym to become better baseball players.
If you are a baseball player and doing bodybuilding workouts from a magazine on a consistent basis, this is not furthering your physical abilities in baseball.
Don’t get me wrong, you can have fun sometimes with your friends and do a “fun workout”.
Just understand, you need to have the awareness to know that these workouts are just for fun and should not be a habitual thing.
#2: Your Workouts Need To Fit Your Plan
If you are currently in season, you need to be training a lot differently than you would in the offseason.
If you are currently in the middle of an important series, you need to train according to those physical demands that are being placed on you out on the field.
The examples could continue and I’m sure you see where I am going with this.
If your friends at school are doing bodybuilding or football workouts, this doesn’t make much sense at all for your current physical demands.
They don’t have to worry about the series, or batting practice, or games, or speed, or conditioning, or anything else that is demanded of a serious baseball player.
Long story short, your workouts need to have focus and be in alignment with where you are currently at in the season or offseason.
If you are brand new to baseball training, do NOT join the older veteran football linebackers for a 10×10 squat workout.
These types of volume and intensity need to be reserved for when you are physically prepared for them.
Otherwise, you are risking injury which can cut you right out of baseball.
And for what?
To join in on a workout you shouldn’t have been doing in the first place?
Your coach isn’t going to be too happy with that, neither will you.
By going all out too early, you risk accumulating far too much fatigue and will likely reduce your baseball performance, or at the very least, run into overtraining issues too early in your training cycle.
I’m not telling you to train like a wimp, I’m telling you to train for your current status.
When you train for your status, you are keeping baseball performance the true priority.
There is such a thing known as Maximum Recoverable Volume (MRV), this concept represents the maximum amount of training volume that you can effectively perform and still recover from.
If you do a workout with a buddy and it is far less than this, than you are not going to gain any progress from that workout.
Conversely, if you do a workout that exceeds your personal MRV, you are not going to effectively recover.
This means two things.
First is that you still won’t gain progress because you never recovered, second is the fact that you’re going to suck at baseball after this workout.
Ever try and run (or even think) after a brutal leg workout?
Then you know what I mean.
When you are following a training program, it must be baseball specific and you must make it fit your MRV.
Having said all of the four rules above, I promise you I am not Oscar the Grouch.
You can absolutely take inspiration and direction from others and even incorporate “fun workouts” every now and again.
I am not against being a normal person (although I am a little crazy).
What I instead advise you to do is examine why they are doing their workouts and determine if that matches your goals and values.
By looking where they want to be, you can steal certain concepts from them that may be beneficial to you, but certainly stealing the entire training plan is unlikely to make you a better baseball player.
Speed, Agility, and Quickness Training for Youth Athletes
In this modern age of inactivity and specializing too early on in single-sport development, it has become a very common occurrence to find youth athletes severely lacking fundamental movement skills.
The overall lack in movement ability can be attributed to too many video games, too many cell phones, and an overall lack of funding in the physical education departments within our school systems.
You could also include the overall lack in parks, or the time it takes in order to get to the nearest park.
All of this means less play for our children, which immediately increases the need for structured activity in our kid’s lives – such as baseball and any other sport or event. They all help.
From a structural perspective, you could also attack what you want directly by incorporating some intelligently designed youth baseball training workouts.
These workouts can help condition your little athlete by focusing on activities to develop the movement skills necessary to optimize sport performance, minimize injury risk, and improve a specific quality of performance – in this section, I want to improve youth baseball agility.
Speed, Agility, and Quickness
Speed, Agility, and Quickness (SAQ) training became a highly popular term in the 80’s – but these styles of training have been around forever. For the past couple of decades, SAQ training has been kind of the “buzzword” coaches will use to discuss movement skill training and sport-specific conditioning.
You’ve seen these before, the drills typically focus on:
High-velocity direction change
Naturally, these drills are excellent at improving strength, speed, endurance, and overall athletic ability. And specifically in our youth athletes, SAQ training can be excellent at preventing injuries – especially the knees.
We have seen this already in several clinical trials where SAQ drills have improved performance, but also consistently improve joint stability during athletic movement.
This is important to care about because the less time you can spend being injured the more time you can spend developing your skills and becoming a better baseball player.
One of the protective mechanisms of action at play here seem to be that the drills allow athletes to reduce the time it takes for them to reach peak torque within the muscle and also reduce their reaction times.
Basically, the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves all “turn on” before it’s too late and stabilize the knee against the extreme shear and rotational forces of competitive sports.
Therefore, this helps our little baseball athletes not only stay healthy, but improve their own speed, agility, and quickness as well because those shorter reaction times and quicker times to maximal muscle contractions allow for a more explosive athlete. Pretty cool, right?
The Necessary Caveat
Before I give you a workout, I want to first point out that it’s wise to have some base level of strength before ever performing any plyometric/SAQ work.
Having a strength base means different things for different people, and the amount of strength you need to perform SAQ drills properly will depend on a lot of variables.
For the sedentary overweight individual who hasn’t trained or moved with explosiveness in a long time, they will likely need to go through 4-8 week baseball speed program before ever trying SAQ work in order to lose some weight and build up the strength of their connective tissues so that they can handle the high amounts of force needed to perform these workouts.
But, for active kids, I just like them to be on some sort of bodyweight training program at the same time as well. Check out my writings on youth baseball training in the past and you’ll get a great idea on what I mean here.
There are various levels of entry as well when doing your first SAQ program – so I want to point out that proper progression is vital when starting out. Your youth athletes should be progressed based on successful execution of the drills, and NOT by perceived strength level or age.
A beginner can always start with the basics (jumping jacks, easy cone runs, medicine ball throws from a stable position) as they are all lower level exercises that are safe but still highly effective when you’re a beginner.
Then, progress as needed from there – and if you’re ever in doubt, start with the simplest progression first. Even if that’s too easy, you can use it as a warm-up or teaching tool to move on to the next progression. Easy-peasy.
This program will take you about 30-minutes or so if you’re moving at a good pace and if the athlete has already been taught the technical aspects of the movements, and you can have your athlete perform this workout up to three times per week for 4-6 weeks at a time before they would need to move on in their program design.
I want you to perform all drills as fast as possible, but never at the expense of technique and form. We are always after quality over quantity in our training – the last thing you want to do in your SAQ training is promote poor movement patterns, that’s the exact opposite of what we’re trying to teach here.
Take your time with your youth baseball athletes and progress slowly over the 4-6 week period if you need to, this isn’t a race and slower progression is always more productive than progressing an athlete through something that they aren’t ready for yet.
You will see lots of coaches use ladders, boxes, slide boards, and various other equipment to do their SAQ work – you can use this stuff if you know how, but for simplicities sake, I have created a no equipment needed workout for you to run through so that you can do this anytime, anywhere.
Example Baseball Speed, Agility Quickness Workout For Kids
A: Hot coal runs: 3 x 15 yards
B: Butt kicks: 3 x 15 yards
C: Lateral shuffle: 3 x 15 yards/direction
D: Bear walks: 3 x 15 yards
E: Walking lunges: 3 x 15 yards
A: Skater bounds: 5 x 12/leg
B: Power skipping: 3 x 5/leg
C: Modified T-drill*: Perform 6-8 total run-throughs
D: Figure-8 runs**: 5 x 3 run-throughs in both directions
*Set up four cones all 10yds a part in a T formation. Start at the bottom of the T, then execute a forward run to the top-center cone, then carioca left to the left cone, stop, carioca right to the far right cone, stop, carioca back to the center cone, and then do a backwards run to your starting point at the bottom of the T.
**Set up two ten-foot circles side-by-side to look like the number 8. Run a complete figure 8, starting and finishing at the bottom.
Try using these exercises in addition to your current training program – you will see a dramatic improvement in your kid’s speed, agility, and quickness over the course of this training phase.
You should also see some major improvements in their conditioning levels as well.
The best part?
Everyone in the family can do this one!
This gives you the power to make this a “family thing” to keep your youth athlete motivated, and you can all do it together at a local park or even in the backyard.
Friends can come, the whole team can come, the coach can come – whatever it ends up being, you’ll have fun, spend good time together, and improve your baseball performance.
How Young Should Baseball Players Start Weightlifting?
In this section, I want to give you straightforward answers on all of the most common questions we get here at Baseball Training about what parents and coaches should be doing from a training perspective with their youth athletes.
In modern times, we are well aware that the idea of weight lifting programs for youth athletes was somehow bad or dangerous was complete nonsense.
We have more than enough literature now to know that these thought processes were never true and we don’t have to worry about things such as stunted growth or inevitable injuries.
Having said this, the safe and sustainable practice of incorporating weight lifting with our youth baseball athletes is not as straight-forward as it is with adults.
Adults can simply go to the gym, throw plates on the bars, add plates to the machine stack, and start firing away without much consequence.
Within this section, I want to point out some of the guidelines you should follow that will take you a long way in keeping the process safe, sustainable, and effective for your kids.
When Can They Start Lifting Weights?
For weightlifting specifically, the age of 12 is the best place I can recommend starting.
Before this age (ages 6-12), I highly recommend utilizing a more bodyweight exercise programming approach such as the extremely popular Youth Baseball Training Program we have here at Baseball Training.
Before 12 years old, children lack the hormonal development to gain the most they can out of weightlifting, and they also generally do not have the attention span or maturity to learn good technique and respect good technique at all times.
Coordination can sometimes be an issue here as well with the little ones, for these reasons and several others, it is likely best to begin incorporating weightlifting around the age of 12.
But, that’s only if they have 1-2 years of bodyweight-only training already under their belt. If a kid has never trained before and he/she is 12 years old, I wouldn’t put them straight into weight training.
They need to earn their way there and build up the strength of their bones, tendons, ligaments, muscles, and overall technical prowess before they are allowed to step foot in a gym.
Also, don’t think you’re “missing out” by doing bodyweight-only training.
There are PLENTY of gains to be made in the bodyweight-only training world, and since they learn how to better move their body through space it is also excellent for general athletic development.
Bodyweight training is great, and almost all the best athletes and strongest people in the world didn’t start lifting until their mid-high school years (15-16 years old).
So, you don’t need to be super-eager to get in there. But if you are, 12 is a good starting age.
A Note On Engagement
The kids need to enjoy the process, I cannot articulate how important this is for long term development.
If you force a kid to weight train and they don’t enjoy it, you can ingrain psychological tendencies within an athlete to associate training with having a bad time.
Always remember, youth training is not about building the best athlete in the world today—youth training is about building the foundation so that he/she can be the best athlete in the future.
Getting somebody to hate their training is not the smartest way to do that.
Some kids will love lifting, some kids won’t.
Some kids will love it for the first 15mins, some kids may enjoy a full 30min session.
When youth baseball athletes rebel against training, which will inevitably happen, think about how for some practices you have to drag them there even though they enjoy their time once they are there.
There are days where they are just going to rebel against whatever you want them to do.
Kicking, screaming, fits, irrational arguments, the whole works!
Your best bet here is to only do as much weightlifting as they think is fun, and no more after that.
Something is always better than nothing, and we are setting excellent habits now for the future that training and exercise isn’t a chore that they hate.
Youth Baseball Athletes Need Technique
I have mentioned this on several podcasts, in several blogs, and in several training program designs for youth athletes… and I’m going to mention it again right here.
The focus of youth training must emphasize the importance of clean technique.
The technique is going to keep them safe and the technique is going to stick with them into their later stages of life doing off-ice baseball training.
Beyond this, good technique is hard to unlearn… but so is bad technique.
If you pick up bad habits in your youth, they can be tough to change later in life.
Should My Kid Be Maxing Out In The Gym?
Even though it has been demonstrated safe under controlled conditions within the scientific literature on youth training, I do not ever recommend doing a 1-Rep Max strength test with youth athletes.
Beyond this, I don’t even recommend they go to failure on any of their weightlifting or bodyweight training sets.
This means no maxing out, no drop sets, no failing, no forced reps, etc. we want strict technique for sets of 10-15 almost always.
This is an excellent rep range because it will help build muscle, it builds work capacity, and the high number of reps per set really allows you to ingrain that perfect technique into their movement.
How Can I Reward Good Behavior For Added Motivation?
A very simple recommendation here, it is much more positive and effective to reward a youth athlete on their consistency (showing up) and their technique as opposed to rewarding them for how much weight they can lift.
I would even venture to say that the longer you can go without mentioning the weight on the bar, the better.
This is because by the time they turn into teenagers, their egos will rise and they will want to stack weights on the bar.
But, by this time, you will have already ingrained perfect technique into their bodies so they will be much more prepared and will get much more progress out of what they’re doing once they get older add more weight.
Rewarding for consistency and technique wins the long game here and doesn’t alienate the kids who may currently be weaker than the other kids.
When Should I Add More Weight To An Exercise?
If their technique is perfect and they are banging out 15 reps without any issues (it should look like they could complete a set of 20 or more, even though they are stopping at 15), you can increase the weight a very small fraction and go from there.
Children develop very rapidly and you can expect linear strength progression throughout the youth training programs we offer here at Baseball Training, but, add weight very slowly and never compromise technique.
What Exercises are OK for Youth Baseball Players?
All bodyweight exercises, sled push/pull variations, and sprints are excellent options for what would be considered non-weightlifting exercise selection.
But, in the weight room, you want to keep things nice and simple at age 12—this means ONLY the compound basic exercises such as squats, deadlifts, rows, presses, and pull-ups.
Nothing fancy here, but I do want to point out that the less machines you use, the better.
Kids need to learn how to move, they need to build their coordination, and they need to be confident moving their body through full and complete ranges of motion.
You can’t do this stuff when you’re sitting down and just applying force to a machine in a guided pattern.
How Often Should My Kid Weight Train?
1-3 times per week is the recommended range here, with 2-3 likely being best.
This is less-often enough per week to not become boring and repetitive, but often enough to create meaningful progress.
Additionally, these weight lifting sessions should have the goal of being complete in 30mins or less. Then, as they progress into their adolescence (14+) you can bump this up to an hour.
A good measure for you to know how often your kid should train is if they’re sore.
Then don’t train until they’re healed.
We don’t need to be “pushing through the barriers” at this stage, we save this stuff for later when they are ready/willing/able.
How Hard Should We Train?
You’re not training them like Rocky Balboa, they literally have a lifetime to make progress.
Train light, focus on technique, and you shouldn’t be aiming to get your kid overly sore.
If you’re a parent who goes overboard here, you are doing more harm than good.
When Is It Safe to Get Serious?
Ideally, you can start turning up the notch and introduce “adult” style training methods between the ages of 15-16.
The big caveat here though, this depends very largely on the unique context of the athlete in question. To make things simple, your athlete should:
- Look like they are well into puberty
- Be self-motivated to get better at baseball
- Be mature enough to stay focused and don’t do silly things in the gym (A weightlifting gym can be a very dangerous environment if you think things, like tapping on the bar or slapping your friends back while they’re squatting, is funny)
Essentially, chronological age doesn’t always represent biological age (some hit puberty way before others), and chronological age always doesn’t always represent certain levels of mental and emotional maturity.
My advice to you would be… If you look at a kid and you still have your doubts, you should give it some more time instead of testing them out.
I hope the above points helped clarify some of the most pressing questions you had about youth training.
It’s important we have these conversations because unfortunately in modern times marketing is taking priority over real science, coaches are selling programs to youth athletes that look like NHL programs and yet this is the last thing they should be doing at this age to safely and effectively develop into an elite baseball player.
Game Day Nutrition for Youth Baseball Players
What does nutrition look like for young baseball players?
In this section, I want to go over how good nutrition habits can improve baseball performance and recovery for young athletes, and briefly touch upon the health factors it’s going to provide as well.
As I outline in the youth baseball program we have available here at Baseball Training, the nutritional patterns we develop in our youth serve as a foundation for how we are going to eat for life.
The behaviors, relationships, and food we eat shape our brain development, overall health, body composition, metabolism, and ability to repeatedly perform in high-energy sports like baseball.
Within the scientific literature, the top 3 sources of calories children are consuming are:
You probably don’t need me to tell you that this blog is off to a pretty rough start. Not a lean protein, fruit, or vegetable in sight.
This also isn’t mentioning the unknown number of cookies, ice cream, sugar cereals, treats at school, treats after baseball, and random candies they get during every grocery store or mall trip.
The light at the end of the tunnel here is that although this is a very poor foundation to build and perform from, it’s completely unnecessary and even not recommended to go super healthy and try to be the over-controlling parent counting their kids’ calories.
Remember, we are shaping behaviors and patterns for life here. Creating an unhealthy relationship with food where a kid is worried about their calorie intake at such a young age is the exact opposite of what we are trying to accomplish here.
Food is a positive experience that needs to be inhaled throughout life, not shunned. Think about it – whenever we gather with our friends we have tasty food, at every holiday there is a delicious meal, and for birthdays/anniversaries and everything else you can think of—we have some tasty food!
We shouldn’t feel guilty for these actions, especially if we are 8 years old.
Using exact measurement techniques, making kids aware of their body weight, force feeding them to gain weight, underfeeding them to lose weight, punishing them for going “off-track”, and many other poor nutritional strategies for athletic enhancement never work in the long run.
We are not trying to build the best athlete in the world today, we are trying to create a healthy foundation so that they can become the best athlete they can be later in life.
Not to mention, trying to count their calories is an incredibly flawed strategy as you will have no idea what their ideal intake should be during this development stage of their life.
Nutrition will impact:
- Their body fat
- Their total body weight
- Their overall health
- Their brain development
- Their puberty development
- Their hormone status
- Their muscle and bone growth as they grow
Among many, many other things…
So, incorporating some simple healthy habits without counting anything are going to go the longest way for both physical development and behavioral relationships with food.
Keep it simple.
The two things that almost every youth athlete I have worked with that pop up the most are:
- They consume too much sugar
- They consume too little protein
Because of the above two factors, kids are getting more and more overweight as the decades continue to pass on. Excellent research in these areas tells us (all statistic here are from the US):
In 1980, 7% of the kids between 6-11 were obese.
In 2010, this jumped from 7% up to 18% (almost 1 out of every 5 kids)
Now, 33% of kids are classified as obese.
These numbers are always rising and are causing hormonal disturbances and disease states we used to only ever see in middle-aged adults, let alone the obvious negative impact it has on baseball conditioning.
Cutting Back on Sugar
The strategy here is not to eliminate, but instead decrease sugar consumption and avoid your child rebelling by using tactics that make it seem like it was never there:
- Instead of cereal, make them an omelet.
- Instead of cereal, make them a breakfast smoothie.
- Instead of an imitation fruit snack, give them a banana.
- Out of sight is out of mind. Keeping cookies, ice cream, and candy in the house at all times is likely not best for either of you.
- Instead of juice or chocolate milk, opt for more water and white milk
- Instead of white bread, use wheat bread (no, the white bread that says it’s secretly wheat bread is not).
- Instead of hash browns, have a bowl of oatmeal.
- Instead of sugary yogurt, use plain Greek yogurt and add-in real berries.
In many cases, simple switches go unnoticed and become an excellent move for you to reduce the total daily sugar intake of your youth athlete.
This reduction will create more even-keeled energy levels, more even-keeled attention span, and an overall improved health and body composition.
It really just comes down to having your kids eat real food. If it doesn’t have a label or cartoon on it, you’re off to a good start.
Lowering processed foods and sugars are really the only subtractions recommended. If you can cut back processed foods and sugar by a third, you’re doing great. We aren’t looking for wild overnight changes, one small thing at a time is a huge win.
What’s more important for youth athletes is what we add, and not what we subtract.
Protein for Youth Baseball Players
For protein intake, youth athletes should be sticking to roughly 1-2 palm size servings of protein per meal (their palm size, not yours), every meal. Here are some example serving sizes of youth protein for you:
- Palm size serving of lean meat (Chicken breast, turkey breast, fish, bison, wild game)
- Palm size serving of fatty meat (Chicken thighs, steak, ground beef, ground turkey)
- 1-2 whole eggs
- ½ cup egg whites
- 3 slices of turkey bacon
- ½ cup of Greek yogurt
- ½ cup of cottage cheese
- ½ scoop whey protein powder
Ideally, they would take in this type of serving size 3-4 times per day in the form of real food.
Incorporating these foods at this intake will help them burn fat, build muscle, support performance, support recovery, and support a healthy growth process going into their adolescent years.
Not to mention, protein is the most satiating (feelings of fullness) macronutrient in the nutrition world.
So, when we eat protein with every meal, we don’t have room for the “add-ons” that would otherwise be present that are likely not best for our athletes.
Getting Ready for Game Day
Surprisingly, game days don’t differ too much from the everyday eating of a youth athlete, the only areas we investigate for improvement are within:
- Pre-game meal
- Post-game meal
For youth hydration, water, flavored water, and unsweetened tea are some of the best hydrators you can have throughout the day.
It’s highly recommended to eliminate fruit juices (or decrease their frequency) and replace them with whole fruit, and then use primarily water or another one of the above recommended beverages to meet the hydration needs.
Knowing this, how much water should our youth athletes be consuming?
- 1-Hour before exercise: ~5-8oz of water
- 15mins before exercise: ~5-8oz of water
- During exercise: ~5-8oz of water or a sports drink such as Gatorade every 20mins
- Within 2hrs after exercise: ~20-24oz of water or a sports drink
- And as for the total daily intake, youth athletes vary dramatically on their needs due to the many individual variations.
So, to keep things simple and individual, their pee should be clear or slightly yellow throughout the whole day. If they’re peeing 5x throughout the day and 2x after a game, they’re doing great.
This recommendation is simple and takes care of both the intake and individual difference factors in one shot because hydration status is very accurately determined via urine color.
Prior to a game, your primary fuel needs to come from a solid food source.
You need something solid to be in the stomach to balance your blood sugar and food sources that are going to serve to provide your body with the raw materials required for baseball specific energy throughout the entire game.
The last thing you want is to be hungry during a baseball game.
That is going to lead to lower blood sugar levels, decreased focus, decreased attention span, decreased energy, and physical weakness. Or, you know, a kid whining on the bench that he wants to go home.
A youth athlete’s typical pre-game meal should consist of a 1:1, or, 2:1 ratio of carbohydrate to protein 1-3 hours before the game.
Example of a 1:1 ratio of carbs to protein:
- 2-3oz chicken breast
- 1/2 cup of rice
- 1 cup green vegetables
Example of a 2:1 ratio of carbs to protein:
- 2-3oz chicken breast
- 1 cup of rice
- 1 cup green vegetables
The above two examples are recommendations for the average youth athlete.
Keep in mind, these numbers can change for various reasons (big kid, small kid, maybe they haven’t eaten for several hours and need more, etc.), but are a very solid general guideline to eyeball when making the pre-game meal.
If the kid is a big eater or is eating the meal more like 2-3 hours before a game, opt further towards the 2:1 end of the spectrum.
If the kid is a small eater or is eating the meal more like 1-2 hours before a game, opt closer towards the 1:1 end of the spectrum.
The two biggest goals we are trying to accomplish within the post-workout period for youth athletes are glycogen replenishment (getting carbs back into the muscle) and increased protein synthesis (synthesis simply means to “grow” or “add”. Hence, protein synthesis representing adding protein back to your muscle tissue after it has been broken down by physical activity).
How do we accomplish these goals?
And what nutrients do we need to take in?
Well, it ends up looking very similar to our pre-game meal, but, with a little bit more protein and carbohydrates to maximally support recovery.
Starting with protein, what should you have and how much of it should you be having?
This varies from athlete to athlete depending on variables such as your age, total muscle mass, total dietary intake, the length of the game, and current fitness level.
But, a great general guideline to follow would be 10-15g of protein. In real-world measurements, this should be about 2 palm size servings (their palm) of protein post-game.
Ideally, this would be in the form of an animal source of protein as it contains a large amount of the amino acid leucine, which has been linked to maximize this protein synthetic response. Not to mention, animal proteins top the charts of nearly every single scientific protein quality ranking in existence.
Post-game carbohydrate content can vary as well depending on similar variables. Of course, a 2-hour game would yield a greater need for carbohydrates post-game than a 1-hour light practice.
Here, we still want to stick to our real food options (as opposed to processed food) and opt for options such as rice, pasta, quinoa, beans, fruit, or oatmeal as these will all go a long way towards optimal recovery and likely be a superior option post-game than drinking more Gatorade.
Gatorade can be a good thing during games, but let’s back off the consumption of further sports drinks post-game whenever we can.
Game Day Recap
Although nutrition is often overlooked as an important factor for baseball performance, it is, in fact, one of THE most important factors because if you’re not putting the right fuel in the car, you’re not going anywhere, and your engine is going to perform poorly.
For youth, keep things nice and simple:
- Have them eat real food. Avoiding products that are specifically marketed towards kids with cartoons is a great place to start.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables wherever you can for the maintenance of good health but also to get some of the important performance-based vitamins and minerals in their body. 3-5 fist-sized servings per day (their fist size) is the ideal zone you want to be in.
- Supplementing with some Omega-3’s and Whey Protein is recommended for youth baseball athletes
- Cut back on sugars, add in some protein
- Adopt healthy habits yourself. The “do as I say and not as I do” strategy will not work here. If you don’t eat well, why should they? You’re the parent here.
- Incorporate the “adding in” method of food choices as opposed to the “removing out” method of eliminating all their favorites
- On game day, follow the above strategies for optimal performance
Example Youth Baseball Workout
A1: Burpees x 5
A2: Push ups x 10
A3: V-Up x 10
A4: Bodyweight squats x 20
A5: Diamond push up x 5
A6: Reverse lunges x 15 per leg
A7: Bicycle abs x 10 per side
A8: Cossack squat x 5 per side
*Perform all eight exercises back-to-back with no rest in between exercises and 2 minutes rest in between circuits. Repeat for 3-5 rounds.
Video demonstration of workout: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzXeUsnJlb8
Youth Training Conclusion
And that’s a wrap!
Lots of variations and information here for you to work with.
Youth athletes can and should be doing some training throughout the year in order to develop their bodies, minds, and performance to become the best baseball player they can be.
It’s safe, effective, healthy; and when you incorporate the once-at-a-time habit building strategy, it can be a very fun and great way for you to bond with your kid or athlete.
If you’re a baseball parent I highly recommend you pick up our Youth Baseball Training Program to learn more about youth baseball training, including a done-for-you training program that will help make your kid a better baseball player!
Want a step-by-step, done for you baseball training program for youth players 14 and younger? Check out our Youth Baseball Training Program!