Baseball players turn to football-style training

From FOX Sports - February 9, 2018

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP)Carrying their bats and gloves, they leave the weight room and walk the palm tree-lined path past the baseball diamonds to the track.

Weight sleds and tires await the boys of summer for the kind of workouts typically reserved for men who make their living on the gridiron in the fall. At the Coach Tom Shaw Performance camp at Disneys Wide World of Sports Complex, its common to see Carlos Gonzalez, Martin Prado, Ender Inciarte and several other major leaguers working out alongside football players preparing for the NFL combine and doing the same kind of drills.

Players believe these nontraditional winter workouts, a mix of strength- and endurance-training, football cutting drills and some more common baseball moves, make them quicker, more prepared for spring training and better equipped to stay healthy for the 162-game season.

Quickness, footwork, all the stuff you use in baseball he perfectly adapted to our workouts, said Prado, an infielder for the Miami Marlins who has been working out with Shaw since October as part of his ninth year in the program. He tried over the years to combine football workouts with less intensity for baseball players.He mixes it up in a way that you actually feel comfortable working out with football kind of workouts but converting to baseball.

Shaw won three Super Bowls as speed and conditioning coach of the New England Patriots, and his facility is known as a place where Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, potential draftees and other football players come for intense workouts. He had no baseball background prior to nine years ago when Prado and Jordan Schafer were among the first players from that sport to seek out a different kind of offseason training regimen.

Over the better part of the past decade, more players have joined, including Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor, Seattle Mariners infielder Dee Gordon and Milwaukee Brewers utility player Hernan Perez. Gonzalez tried the program after injuries limited him to 70 games in 2014, and he has since rounded back into All-Star form with 79 home runs and 254 RBIs.

What we all do here, we feel ready, Gonzalez said. We feel ready from the get-go, from the first day of spring training. Obviously your bodys going to feel stronger and youre mentally prepared, too.Its a great way to keep us in great shape during the offseason. When you feel that strong and you feel healthy, all youve got to do is just maintain through spring training and the regular season.

There are 31 players of various levels all the way down to high school taking part in Shaws baseball program, which prioritizes explosive speed that players can use in the field and running bases.

Speed changes the game, so all the drills that we do here, they correspond to every sport, said trainer Kelsey Martinez, who runs Shaws baseball program. Whether were doing straight-ahead speed work or side-to-side movementsanything like thatwere trying to gain speed and gain ground in those drills.

One day, that means loading sand bags into tires and first walking and then sprinting down the track. Another day, its cutting like wide receivers or using the sand pit to provide some extra movement resistance.

Sure, theres work in batting cages and on the field, but its not your typical winter wind-up.


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