To compete at the top level, baseball players need to be as strong mentally as they are physically. A positive, constructive mindset on the field can complement any physical skill set. By training both sides of your game, you can help set yourself apart this season.
Baseball pro and all-star right fielder Aaron Judge shares his tips on how to keep your mental and physical game strong. In addition to personal training, Judge also explains how to deal with the game’s inevitable bad breaks.
Baseball is a game of failure, so understanding how to deal with the game’s hardship is a necessity. According to Judge, the best way to handle adversity is to accept that it’s going to happen. There will be days when the ball doesn’t roll your way, but it’s not the end of your career.
“Learning from it, that’s the biggest thing. Learn, ‘Why did I strike out?’ or, ‘Why did I ground out there? What did I do?’ You know, learn from it and then move on,” Judge says. “That’s the biggest thing that helped in my career.”
Another great tip on handling adversity in baseball is having a short memory. Break down your miscues and note what occurred, but don’t carry your past mishaps into your next inning in the field or appearance at the plate. “I just [have to] forget about it and be like, ‘Hey, it’s a new day. We all start at zero. Let’s roll it out there,’” Judge notes.
While having a strong mentality is important on the field, Judge also suggests a few exercises and drills to build the physical side of your player profile.
LONG TOSS AND BAND WORK
To develop pro-level arm strength and throwing mechanics, Judge says long toss and resistance band work can make a big difference. These exercises can help build endurance while also improving strength for when it counts.
In addition to throwing a baseball, Judge also recommends tossing a football around during long toss sessions. “All offseason right now, all I’m doing is playing catch with a football,” Judge notes.
In addition, throwing a football can help with arm strength while also adding some variety to your diamond training. “I like mixing it up … You know, sometimes, you get tired of a baseball,” Judge jokes.
You can also build arm strength through resistance band training before practice. Performing a few exercises before taking the field can help warm up your rotator cuff for a full day’s work. “Even if it’s two minutes, three minutes, five minutes, whatever time you got,” Judge says, “If you bust out just a couple of those to get it loose, that’s going to pay off.”
Working to strengthen your rotator cuff daily through band work can help keep you performing at opening day levels well into your season.
When it comes to taking your play to the next level, remember to keep your mental and physical skills in shape. Follow these quick and helpful Pro Tips to put you above your rivals on both sides of the game.