Yoga can be an incredible addition to a baseball or softball player’s routine when applied sport-specifically and tailored to address an athlete's physical limitations.
When it comes to yoga for baseball and softball athletes, the main focus should be prioritizing mobility over flexibility.
To enhance performance and decrease injury, targeting mobility will increase stable, functional range of motion vs. your typical flexibility-focused “stretch out “ that often only provides temporary relief and fails to address root causes of tension.
Mobility-based yoga exercises can be used in a variety of ways that
1. Don’t require the time commitment of your typical 1-hour yoga class
2. Work with the athletes existing training routine… for example:
During pre-game or practice warmups
As a post-game or practice cooldown
Pre-lift as part of movement prep
During a lift added in as a superset with other exercises
When training athletes transferability is important. How they train off the diamond should be helping them move once it’s time for skill work.
Here are two benefits athletes can unlock by incorporating mobility-based yoga movements into their routines:
1. The Power of the Breath
Yoga is all about connecting your breath with your movements. Becoming aware of how to use your breath to slow yourself down during game time is a superpower. Athletes optimally perform when their breathing is slow and controlled - they’re in “the zone” and playing in an internal flow state where all of the external noise becomes irrelevant.
2. Better Movers are Better Players
It doesn’t take an experienced scouting lens to notice how the standout players on any field tend to possess great body control and have visible ease and fluidity to their movements.
Mobility is a big and often overlooked factor that influences a player’s mechanics. A player cannot get into proper positions or execute smooth transitions when hitting/pitching/throwing/fielding if their body doesn’t physically allow them to.
For example hip mobility in hitting - players need to be able to hinge, load into their back hip, and rotate into the front hip.
Use yoga as a way to train movement flows, transitions, and positions that the player will use in a game.
When implemented with a mobility-focus, yoga can help baseball and softball players learn how to harness the power of the breath, become better movers, and NamaSTAY on the field 🧘🏽♀️