Athleticism is a large factor in the success of baseball players and is influenced by a variety of variables: explosiveness, speed, vertical leap, agility, body control, flexibility, strength, etc.
Baseball players are always doing something to continually push their mind and body to the edge. Yoga can give you the confidence that your body will do what you want it to do, when you need it to.
When you are trying to stay in front of a hard-hit ball coming at you, you need to be able to change direction in a fraction of a second. Yoga can help you do this by improving mobility in the hips, while also staying lighter on your feet. Yoga also helps professional and amateur athletes deal with the tremendous stress they place on themselves and their bodies.
Here are four key attributes of yoga for baseball players:
1. Injury Prevention
A regular yoga practice can reduce the risk of injury and prepare the body for the rigors of the game: running, sprinting, jumping, stop and go, changing directions, lateral movements, and so forth.
Practicing yoga regularly is similar to an insurance contract or investment hedge on you and your body. Yoga can reduce and prevent common overuse injuries and imbalances caused by the repetitive movement, usually in one direction and one plane of movement.
Yoga works not just in the sagittal plane, but also in the frontal and transverse planes, ensuring well-rounded development.
It’s essential for baseball players to rest, restore, and rejuvenate between workouts so the body can properly repair, rebuild, and strengthen itself. The body will break down without proper recovery techniques and methods such as yoga.
MLB baseball, with 162 games plus spring training and playoffs, does not allow for much rest over the course of eight months or more. Every training program needs to allow some time for growth to occur before a baseball player stresses the body again.
You can’t keep accumulating damaged tissue without degrading your performance. If recovery is not allowed to occur, performance will stagnate, and even decline. Recovery allows for adaptation to occur, leading to an increase in performance.
3. Mental Focus
All the physical abilities in the world are squandered if the baseball player does not have the mindset to execute these abilities in game situations.
Getting into a flow mindset, often described as being “in the zone,” can help baseball players to constantly achieve optimal performance. Extra effort in baseball impedes natural effort and movement, and a baseball player can find themselves getting in their own way.
Baseball players must be able to perform with a mind free of distractions, consequences, and limitations. The mind is the link between having potential and realizing potential, especially for a baseball pitcher being in that exact moment, current pitch vs. previous pitch, or thinking about future batters in the lineup.
No amount of weight training will give a baseball player more strength than constantly holding your own body weight throughout a yoga practice. Yoga can make the weight training better, which in turn makes the baseball better, creating a fully unified mind and body.
Increasing your flexibility will increase your range of motion, which means an increase in strength due to greater muscle recruitment, and more efficient movement patterns within baseball. Yoga tones muscles all over your body to be in balance with each other.
Yoga can, and will, prepare your system for all variables and situations you might see when performing and mastering your craft as a baseball player. You will quickly find where your body’s weaknesses are when you try to hold different yoga poses.
Yoga gives you longevity that weights and running are not going to do. Having in interest in your body helps you take care of your body, rather than relying on trainers and medical professionals. Goodbye, muscle fatigue, symptoms of asthma, ragged breathing, and side stitches, and say hello to more efficient oxygen intake, more compete exhalation, and better muscle function.
When it comes to building a stronger, leaner and more functional body, a regular yoga practice can truly provide next-level results for baseball players.