I just came back from spending three days in Winter Haven with Tim Maxey and the Cleveland Indians. Tim has done a great job in designing one of the best athlete development program in all of professional baseball. The Indians place a great emphasis on the physical development of every athlete that signs with the organization. This emphasis in physical development is a priority that every staff member takes very seriously, which begins with the General Manager and filters all the way down towards the Latin American Academies.
The thing I was most impressed by, was the seamless understanding of the philosophy between the coordinators, assistants and interns. All athletes work hard and disciplined during the training and conditioning sessions. They are well supervised and every workout card is checked-off prior to the finished workout session. There is very little standing around. Players grab their cards and continue with the workout routines and conditioning responsibilities without wasting time.
The workout routines are total body and place emphasis on the posterior chain and extensor muscles. Lower-body movements include squats, rdl, lunges and Upper-body movements include, rows, pulldowns, incline db press or flat db press. There is some form of forearm work to choose from and shoulder routines are a daily necessity that get incorporated into the end of the workout,post-pitching or bullpen day. There are several core routines that are implemented in every workout. The athletes can choose from body-weight ground based, medicine balls, stability balls or corrective stabilization exercises based on pre-determined screening exercises.
Conditioning work is divided by position or player-specific needs; starters, relievers, position players and remedial conditioning for overweight players. During my time at Spring Training, position players ran 3 full gassers and 3 half gassers and pitchers would run poles at varying distances. All players were encouraged to perform 15-20 minutes of cardio work early in the morning to prep the body for the days activities.
The three days I spent with Tim Maxey at Winter Haven, made me appreciate the hard work and long hours all strength and conditioning coaches in Major and minor league baseball have to endure in getting all organizational players ready for the regular season. Good luck to all of you during the next 7 months.