Best Gear of 2023

With the holidays finally coming to a close and a new year is upon us, that means only one thing: BASEBALL SEASON IS ALMOST HERE! Some of the most frequent questions I get from players and parents around this time (aside from what bat or glove is the best this season) is what they should be doing to get ready for the season. For multi-sport athletes who don’t necessarily have a true offseason, some of these may be hard to achieve, but can still be applied, but for others, these tips should be in effect immediately if they haven’t already, but here are my 4 biggest tips to help you prepare for the upcoming season.


  1. Train/Condition.

When you look at any great athlete, the one thing you never see them doing during their off time is doing absolutely nothing – in fact, that might be the single worst thing you can do. For the younger crowd, training with weights may be a little too much, but working on your speed and agility is the way to go to help keep you in-shape and ready to take on the season. For more experience or older ball players, I would say that it is pivotal for you to take on some sort of weight training program as well as a conditioning program. As you progress in baseball, even at the high school varsity level, coaches are expecting you to come back almost game ready, meaning you could take the field tomorrow and perform near 100%. And that expectation is held most definitely held true for college athletes. Once you get back to campus for the Spring semester, you’re starting workouts and practice as soon as you can. Training hard and conditioning not only helps you perform at your peak, but helps you be able to stay healthy for the whole season.


  1. Working on Your Craft.

Aside from the obvious training and conditioning, the next most important task during an offseason is working on your perspective craft, i.e., hitting, throwing, or both. Specifically talking to pitchers first (since I was one!), hopping on a throwing program is key to keeping your arm in shape and healthy. The last thing you want to do is show up to the first day of practice having not thrown and expected to throw a 30-pitch bullpen and be rusty. Not a good look. If you have done a lot of throwing from the previous Spring, Summer, and the Fall, maybe a throwing program isn’t for you, but that doesn’t mean don’t do anything. Work on rehabilitative exercises to strength your arm and keep it healthy. Work with bands, med balls, weighted balls, and do some modified throwing up to 90 feet. There is always work to be done.


For position players, working on your hitting and fielding is crucial fort he same reasons I mentioned above. For my first two years of college before the PO life stole me away, during the Winter months, I was in the cage almost every single day that it was available. It wasn’t anything crazy, but we would take 60-70 hacks and call it day. Keeping your swing on time and int eh zone is as important as anything for hitters. Seeing baseballs from hand through either regular BP, soft toss, or if you have that luxury, live ABs is important. Keep your eyes and mind sharp during your time off. This is the same with fungo – work on taking ground balls and pop ups so your mechanics don’t get rusty. If you live somewhere where you can’t go outside, find a cage or if you’re stuck at home, these are mechanics you can do in your garage with feet work drills. The biggest thing is making sure these skills don’t go dormant during those off months.


  1. Capitalize on Your Specialties, but Work on Your Struggles.

The offseason is a great time to work on your strengths and to make yourself an even better player, but at times, working on those weaknesses can fall to the backburner and those pesky issues and resurface when the season starts back up. If you have an issue pitching late into games as a starter, work on your conditioning and bullpen sessions to keep you in games longer. If you have been having a hard time locating a certain pitch, work on that pitch more than the one you would consider your “go-to”. For hitters – let’s say you hit .300 on pitches middle-in, but when it comes to the outside part of the plate your batting .125. Work on throwing your barrel and getting tee work on the outer half of the plate, as well as drills like soft toss and BP focusing on that part only. If you’ve had more errors than your normally have with routine grounders or have a hard time getting a handle while turning two, those are all things you should work on to be a better overall player. Point is we all have strengths, but on the flip side we all have weaknesses. Don’t ignore them!


  1. Sleep and Recovery

While the break from school is great and we are all taking time off and visiting friends and family, the biggest thing that I have read and researched is how important sleep and true recovery is for athletes. The truth is this, the more you do during the day like working out and putting strain on your body, along with physiological stressors, can ultimately take a toll on your body, thus requiring you to get a good night sleep, eat well, and recover for the next day. During the offseason, it can be very tempting to stay out late, hangout with friends, eat whatever food is available, and just lose track on the goal at hand. Take care of your body, sleep AT LEAST 7-8 hours when you can (I am aware this isn’t always an option), and do everything you can to prime your body and mind for success. If you are looking for more information on sleep and recovery and how important it is for elite athletes, check out this sweet podcast from Todd Anderson and Nick Bare: