Is yoga for baseball pitchers really helpful? Well, lets figure out in this article. Apart from discussing the matter in details, we would also want to get into details of how yoga can be practiced to get better at the baseball game.
A baseball game begins with the pitcher – he is the one who throws the ball from the pitcher’s mound. He is in charge of the pace of the game and his success will depend on how well he has practiced, how fit he is and how much experienced he is.
Fitness, agility and strength are basic requirements in any sports – baseball pitchers are particularly required to have these qualities in order to play their part successfully. They undergo separate rigorous training which focuses on developing specific skills. Of late, a lot of trainers are incorporating yoga into the daily exercise routine of players. It has proven to be greatly helpful for baseball players as well.
How is Yoga Beneficial to Baseball Pitchers?
Pitchers are constantly putting their bodies to test. Their part involves a lot of strength, concentration and body control. All of these are polished with the help of yoga. Here is how yoga bolsters the fitness of baseball pitchers:
Improving their concentration
Preventing injuries on the ground
Yoga prepares one to complete the hurdles of the game with ease. Pitchers will learn to run, jump, and change directions and so on with smoothness. This happens due to the stretching of the muscles and balance practising techniques that yoga is based on.
Speeding up recovery time
Recovery not only refers to recoveries from accidents or injuries but also muscle recoveries from too much stretching or running, all happening during breaks. Tissue damages are common among sportsmen and unless you practice yoga well, you have no chance of recovering fast and improving your performance in the coming matches.
Improving your strength
Weight training is most successful under yoga training. This, in turn, improves the body balance of a player. His flexibility improves, he is able to handle his movements better and with time, his muscles become stronger.
Yoga Poses Baseball Pitchers Should Try
It is important that a baseball pitcher is able to maintain looseness and at the same time be strong on the field. If his muscles are stiff, he will not be able to give his best performance. Yoga is suggested for pitchers and here are some poses they must definitely try:
Cow Face Pose
This pose focuses on the shoulders. According to expert Gwen Lawrence, this one works on the ‘rotator cuff’ and helps in improving the strength of the back muscles. Now if your back is sturdy, you will be able to throw with greater efficiency.
Sit down with your right knee placed above your bent left knee. Your butt must lay flat on the floor and your hips should be aligned with your spine. Now raise your right arm, bend it from the elbow and put your right palm on your back. Stretch your left arm to the side with your palm facing towards the back and thumb pointing downwards. Now bend your left hand from the elbow and take it towards your back with your palm facing outwards. Try and hook the fingers of both the hands together while lifting the right elbow towards the ceiling.Those who have difficulties in hooking their fingers may hold a towel in between their hands. You need to hold this pose for anything between one and five minutes, after which you can switch sides. Though it may seem difficult at the beginning, your muscles are likely to open up soon, relieving you of the painful stiffness.
This yoga pose concentrates on developing thighs and glutes. Unless your leg muscles are flexible, you won’t be able to throw with force or push off using your legs.
Begin by keeping your knees under your hips and your hands under your shoulders. Now slide your right knee forward and stretch your left leg backwards. Do these till the time your right heel and left hip to come in the same line. Now try to press down using your hands and lift your chest. While looking up, keep your shoulders down and arch backwards. The back of the left leg must remain stretched throughout.
You need to hold this for two to three deep breaths after which you can change the pose and repeat in the opposite side. Those who want to work more on their hip flexor can try to bend their left knee and raise it off the ground while stretching their left hand behind their back and trying to grab the foot with their left hand. A gentle pull will increase the stretch.
The primary body zone of a pitcher which is put to test at every match is their biceps. This pose not only strengthens your biceps but also works on your back.Lie with your back on the floor, bend your knees and keep your feet flat on the floor at a hip-width distance from one another. Your palms should be placed on the floor under your shoulders, behind your hips.
Now try to lift your hips so that your thighs and torso form a straight line while your feet and palms remain straight on the ground. Hold this pose for about three deep breaths and then slowly lower down. Repeat it for a couple of times.
Legs Up the Wall
This is a great pose after a game and helps one to unwind. It is as simple as it sounds. You need to sit close to a wall, lift your legs and rest your heels on the wall. Hold this position for about three minutes. Then maintain this position and split your legs wide as if you were performing splits. Now hold this position again for another three minutes.
These four simple yoga poses take about 15-20 minutes to complete which means they can be easily incorporated into your schedule. You can do them in the morning or after every game to help your muscles relax and recover.Stretching and improving muscle agility is as important as developing strength for pitchers. In fact, stiff muscles are often the reason behind injuries during matches. An expert in the field of health and wellness, Dana Edison says that when she is working with baseball pitchers she focuses on “functional strength training”. She interestingly adds, “ Dont be a Ferarri with brakes of a tempo”, which is why she tries to develop their joints so that injuries are lessened.
The benefits of yoga are being felt globally, in each walk of life and in all professions. Even if one finds difficulties in completing the poses, yoga teaches you to keep trying and pushing yourself through concentration so that you are ultimately able to reach your goal. Yoga for baseball pitchers will teach them to focus their energy on developing their bodies for the long run.