In the world of professional baseball the off season is one of the biggest times for developments to happen as a player. The season is so focused on game after game that it's impossible to give your full attention to what you need to adjust, work on, and strengthen. Depending on how hard you're willing to work- you can make big improvements as a player during those 6 months.
I got drafted June 2017 to the Cleveland Indians, which meant I didn't start the season until around early June. The team I played with made the play offs, so we didn't end the season until early September.
My off season looked like a lot of traveling with some big events going on, so my main goal was to do as much as I could in the time I had available. My other big goal was to gain around 5 pounds of muscle through my eating and workouts.
When I got back to South Carolina in September, I left for instructs within a week and a half of being home. Instructs is a camp for some of the newer guys in the system. The camp was in Goodyear, AZ and lasted about two and a half weeks. Here we worked out every day with trainers and hit a lot with the coaches.
The off season is set up so how and when I work out is up to me. The Indians gave me a work out plan but I was not required to follow it. With this being my first off season I kind of learned as I went along. I wanted to do as much as I could to get stronger and to become a better baseball player.
The mixed workout schedule from the Indians looked like this with some variation for different days:
Monday- Hex bar dead lift with kettle bell variations / Front squat with hamstring work/ Dumbbell bench with back work / Core and forearms
Tuesday - Resistance running with different types of sprints: stride, sprint, stride and pushup starts
Wednesday - Hang clean with SPLIT squat medicine ball rotation wall throws / Incline DB bench with back work / Biceps and Triceps
Thursday - L drill / pro agility drill / medicine ball throw and sprint
Friday - Power clean and partner hamstring / Squat and Plate Overhead Lunge / Bar RDL and barbell glute bridge / Dumbbell step ups and shoulder work / core
It was a lot of work and most of the time I couldn't walk up the stairs after.
Before I got a job, a typical week for me looked like this. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I would wake up eat a good breakfast and go lift from 9 - 11 am. Then i would go get food unless I made a lunch. After lunch I would hit or throw for an hour. So all together I finished around 1:30 pm.
On Tuesday and Thursday depending on how I felt I would get speed work in. Then some defensive work, if I could find someone to go with me. Not too bad right?
Now, when you take that schedule and add a four day work week it can become difficult to stay on track. Especially while we were preparing for a wedding.
Lets say, I stayed consistent from September to mid December. Once Christmas rolled around I wasn't able to maintain my routine. We traveled all over the southeast and there were some points where I didn't get a solid workout in for a few days. Caroline and I got married late January too, so I missed a good week of hitting and throwing during the honeymoon.
I would at least get some sort of physical activity in during those down periods as much as I could, though. Some days this would be going to the gym in our apartment and doing a workout with anything available. Other days this looked like playing basketball or going for a run outside.
One new thing I added to my workouts was joining Orange Theory. If you haven't tried it, it's worth it. I gained a greater stamina from that form of cardio and training. If you're looking for something to switch up your routine - give it a shot, it's free your first time too.
As February rolled around, I began to practice with my college team, North Greenville University. There is nothing that can get you in baseball shape more than actually going and practicing. I tried to practice with them as much as I could to get back into baseball form.
The biggest lesson I learned from my first off season is you need to be able to adjust to conflicts and pace yourself. As a baseball player, we are creatures of habit. I could wake up go lift, run, hit and throw, everyday and never complain about doing the same thing. It's what we do as baseball players. It's how we're wired. But most of the time, life doesn't go as plan. We have to figure out a way to make our priorities fit into the day, even if it's way off from our routine.
A big thanks goes to North Greenville Baseball and Landon Powell's Hit House for letting me train with them. Also to Orange Theory Greenville , ASI, and Brit's Brothers Gym for pushing me every workout.