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IMGCA Article - The Mental Game of Baseball


Baseball Season: How to Prepare Your Child

Gabe Mirkin, M.D.

Parents often ask me what their children can do to prepare for their baseball season. Because training is specific, they should be training for baseball 12 months a year. There are very few kids who are so gifted that they can be very good in several sports. Many children start training in one sport when they are about six years old and specialize in that sport for the rest of their competitive careers.

It's hard to get in shape in one month, but there are several rules of training that they should follow. First it's background before peaking. Before you can throw a baseball or hit a baseball hard, you have to throw and hit easy. If you try to throw hard in the beginning, expect to injure yourself. First you do background training by increasing the volume of your workload gradually for several weeks and when you are ready to start peaking, you decrease your work volume and increase your work intensity. So you should go out with your son or daughter and play easy catch each day and let him try to hit the ball is a specific place, rather than trying to hit the ball hard. He also has to jog slowly before he can start running fast. So every day, he should jog slowly for up to 30 minutes.

After a few weeks, he or she is ready to start training. The next rule, he must follow for throwing, hitting and running is stress and recover. On one day he throws harder, hit further and runs faster. On the next day, he should take the day off, or jog slowly, throw easy and hit short. He continues to have easy days for all three specifics until his leg and arm muscles feel fresh. If he is training properly, he should take two days of easy training. Then he throws hard, hits far and runs fast, and this is followed by a couple of easy days again. On his hard days, he may throw every fifth pitch hard, followed by four easy throws, and hit the ball hard once every five hits until his muscle start to feel sore. Then he must stop for the day.

Since baseball players almost never run hard more than 100 yards, his running training should be to run 40 yards fast, rest until he recovers and then run 40 yards again short of all-out and repeat the cycle until his legs start to feel stiff or hurt. If he can do these hard workout days once or twice a week, he can expect to improve dramatically. If he takes easy days every day or just plays baseball each day, his improvement will be minimal. Slow jogging will not prepare him for baseball and trying to run fast more often than twice a week will just injure him. You prepare for all sports by following two rules: "background and peaking," and "stress and recover."

Dr. Gabe Mirkin has been a radio talk show host for 25 years and practicing physician for more than 40 years; he is board certified in four specialties, including sports medicine. Read or listen to hundreds of his fitness and health reports at

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