Velocity Based Training
Balance Hitting considers Eric Cressey’s Absolute Strength to Absolute Speed (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y0ge2TYDllw) training continuum to be the most comprehensive, functional training approach for baseball and softball players. Although there have been others such as Verkhoshansky, Simmons, Mann, and Valle (VBT), Cressey has taken a complex concept and simplified the core of VBT.
Baseball and softball players need both strength and speed and combinations of both to perform at the highest level possible. Verkhoshansky categorizes VBT into:
- Absolute Strength: moving a very high load (weight) at a very low velocity
- 85 – 95% of Max 2 – 3 reps x 2 sets
- Strength Speed: moving a high load (weight) at moderate velocity
- 70 – 85% of Max 2 – 3 reps x 5 – 8 reps
- Speed Strength: moving moderate load (weight) at a very high velocity
- Absolute Speed: moving a light load (weight) at a very high velocity
- 10 – 20% of Max 10 – 14 reps x 3 – 4 sets
The Balance Bat is a perfect tool to help hitters progress through a VBT hitting program. To achieve the goals of a hitter the following VBT program has been designed. The design of the program is perfect for any age or level of player. The age appropriate considers include the number of reps and the level of load.
|Reps||Absolute Strength||Strength / Speed||Speed / Strength||Absolute Speed|
|Medicine Ball||Balance Bat||Game Bat||Speed Bat|
Periodization is most widely used in resistance program design to avoid over-training and to systematically alternate high loads of training with decreased loading phases to improve components of muscular fitness (e.g. strength, strength-speed, and strength-endurance). The concept of periodization for athletics is not a new concept, but its usage is of fundamental importance to anyone looking to make systematic improvements in their training and involve the often-forgotten variable of individualization.
What Does Periodization Mean?
Periodization is defined as the “long-term cyclic structuring of training and practice to maximize performance to coincide with important competitions.”1 Simply, it is the program design strategy that governs planned, systematic variations in training specificity, intensity, and volume. The goal with periodization is to maximize your gains while also reducing your risk of injury and the staleness of the protocol over the long term. It also addresses peak performance for competition or meets. Periodization, if appropriately arranged, can peak the athlete multiple times over a competitive season (Olympic weightlifting, powerlifting, track and field) or optimize an athlete’s performance over an entire competitive season like with soccer or basketball.
Joint – Joint Training
Joint – Joint Training (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pultyctzkmk) involves understanding that there are 360 joints in the body and as a baseball or softball player you activity use all of your joints to hit, throw, field, and run. Each joint has a purpose and that purpose is to protect the body. As you train and preform different movements you create patterns. If the pattern is supported by the joint you are able to maximize your body to perform the pattern at the highest speed possible.
What separates players is not size, but speed. The saying ‘you cannot teach speed’ is false. A better saying is ‘you can train speed’ with the correct approach.
6 Degrees of Freedom
Biomechanical studies the movement patterns and measure body segments that contribute to a body pattern. The pattern incudes joints, muscles, tendons and other tissues. Balance Hitting understands that hitting, throwing, and fielding is done spatially in 6 Degrees of Freedom. Players move in all three planes, sagittal, frontal, and transverse. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wOUme-fNTLE)
A player moves forward / backward, side / side, and up / down during their movement. Each movement is controlled with a pattern that has angular forces applied to the body.
Balance Hitting uses a baseball and softball Kinematic Sequence Model to develop efficient swing and throwing patterns. The best age to begin such development is 5 years old. The patterns that a 5 year old develops will only enhance as they age.