Former Oakland A’s outfielder Danny Putnam creates a CrossFit training plan to keep ball players in top shape all year long.
A new element is affecting baseball culture and the rest of the professional sports world: fitness. While that might seem odd considering the physical nature of most sports, consider that some players get by only on great skill and sport-specific training but actually have glaring fitness deficiencies. Some less-than-fit athletes certainly perform at a very high level, but could they be better if they were fitter?
The purpose of this article is not to lay the foundation for why baseball players or other athletes need to incorporate CrossFit methodology and programming into their training cycles. In addition, it should be made clear that this programming methodology is not attempting to turn professional baseball players into CrossFit Games athletes or even competitive CrossFit athletes. Nor is it meant to replace a player’s sport-specific skill work. CrossFit is not a substitute for time spent working on swing mechanics, fielding and so on.
This model is designed to allow a baseball player to more fully express his skills on a consistent, prolonged basis. In other words, a player’s natural baseball skills will be enhanced with more strength, power, flexibility, stamina, balance, endurance and so on.
The theoretical model outlines a year-long periodization schedule that reflects the demands and challenges unique to a professional player. This is CrossFit applied very deliberately to a sport, and the model accounts for the specific demands of that sport. It provides the structure to improve fitness in the offseason and maintain fitness throughout the grind of the season.
The model is designed to affect three key metrics: injury resistance, overall statistical production and increased productivity in the critical August-September period. The model also sets the pattern for fitness improvements year after year, creating the foundation for a lengthy and successful career.