Baseball Magazine

Train to a Standard, Not a Number

By Meachrm @BaseballBTYard
Train to a standard, not a number

I have had that type of conversation many times with players over the years regarding swings, pitches, ground balls, running, and weight training. My typical answer, "as many as you need to," is usually not satisfactory to the player because most often the player would rather hear a number that guides their training. But as the title says, you should be training to a "standard" and not a "number."

50 swings a day is fine until your body is just too tired on that given day to complete more than 23 effective swings. If you set off to run 3 miles and you feel great, why not make it 3.5 or 4?

Extra swings, grounders, pitches, etc. when your body is just not feeling it tends to create bad habits which can hurt you in the long run. I understand that there is value in pushing yourself beyond what you think you are capable of for the mental benefits but sometimes it's just better to stop if you sense your body is dragging.

Some days we drag and some days we feel like we have endless energy. Dozens of variables contribute to that but the key to training is accepting that reality and to proceed through your training accordingly. There is nothing wrong with cutting a workout or training session short if your body is just not right. On the flip side, there is nothing wrong with extending it if there is room for additional effective reps.

Watch a major leaguer take grounders during batting practice and on one day he may take 38. The next day he may take only 17. The numbers are so different because he is not counting. What he is doing is taking grounders until he has accomplished what he has set out to accomplish. He stops when he has reached whatever standard exists in his mind. When he gets there, he stops regardless of what the number is.

Athletes need to remember that the journey they are on as an athlete is a marathon and not a sprint. Knowing when to push yourself farther and knowing when to dial it back are both essential over the long term.

It's ok to start with a number in your head but have the maturity and self-awareness to adjust that stopping point as you go.

Reaching the standard is what you really want, not the number.

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