Why Boxing Workouts May Benefit Hitters

Why Boxing Workouts May Benefit Hitters

An alternate approach to off-season training
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With baseball off-season approaching, many baseball athletes will move from the field to the weight room and indoor facilities for training. Not all baseball programs have the same off-season approach, and not all players prepare the same way. Sometimes, practicing another sport can benefit baseball players in the off-season. One great example is the direct applications boxing offers to baseball hitters.

This idea isn't new. Dodgers first-baseman Adrian Gonzalez trains like a boxer in the off-season. He claims it's a great alternative to weight training and helps strengthen his core, back, and shoulder muscles (Dodger News).

Image from: Dodger Insider

Hitting a baseball requires a relaxed body, eye-hand coordination, quick hands, balance, torque, and a strange combination of reaction and anticipation. All of these principles are reasons why boxing is an ideal off-season training tool for hitters.

Boxing is a sport of skill. Thousands of repetitions are necessary to lay the groundwork for muscle memory. The same is true in hitting. A hitter must perform thousands of reps before he can trust his body to react in a successful manner in a game.

When a boxer enters a fight or sparring session, he must trust his body to react properly according to his preparation. To do this, a boxer must relax his entire body so he can throw his hands with quick speed toward his target. The same is true in hitting. A relaxed body and quick hands are essential to hitting a ball with power and consistency.

Image from: Dodger Blue

Boxing uses hand-eye coordination in mitt drills, bag work, and sparring sessions. Boxers have an approach which combines reaction and anticipation. They study their opponent’s tendencies and strategy, so they will best know how to anticipates his moves. However, while sparring, a boxer needs to react with proper defense and offense in order to be successful. This combination is also true in hitting. A good hitter studies a pitcher’s strategy and pitches. Based on the count, situation, and other factors, a hitter will anticipate a certain pitch. However, this anticipation must give way to proper reaction for him to hit the right pitch.

Throwing a punch requires balance and torque. A boxer must keep an athletic center of gravity while throwing his fist at a target. He cannot be off balance and expect to hit his opponent. Hitting has a similar philosophy. A hitter must be balanced.

When a boxer throws a punch, he rotates his hips and turns his back foot to maximize the power of his punch. In hitting, a hitter throws his hands and rotates his hips in the same motion as a boxer throwing a punch.

Besides these similarities between both sports, boxing also provides excellent cardiovascular endurance for athletes. A productive session working a heavy bag can be just as exhausting and useful as a mile run. It also offers benefits in building core rotation strength necessary to hit a baseball.

If you’re a baseball player and are tired of the same off-season training, consider finding someone who knows boxing and can train you with proper form. After you’ve learned the basics, heavy bag work, mitt drills, and sparring (with supervision, protective headgear, and a mouthpiece) may serve as a fun way to prepare for success on the baseball field.

Cover Image Credit: MLB Blogs

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To The Coach Who Ruined The Game For Me

We can't blame you completely, but no one has ever stood up to you before.
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I know you never gave it a second thought, the idea that you're the reason I and many others, never went any farther in our athletic careers.

I know you didn’t sincerely care about our mental health, as long as we were physically healthy and our bodies were working enough to play. It’s obvious your calling wasn’t coaching and you weren’t meant to work with young adults, some who look to you as a parent figure or a confidant.

I also know that if we were to express our concerns about the empty feeling we began to feel when we stepped onto the court, you wouldn’t have taken the conversation seriously because it wasn’t your problem.

I know we can't blame you completely, no one has ever stood up to you before. No one said anything when girls would spend their time in the locker room crying because of something that was said or when half the team considered quitting because it was just too much.

We can't get mad at the obvious favoritism because that’s how sports are played.

Politics plays a huge role and if you want playing time, you have to know who to befriend. We CAN get mad at the obvious mistreatment, the empty threats, the verbal abuse, “it's not what you say, its how you say it.”

We can get mad because a sport that we loved so deeply and had such passion for, was taken away from us single-handedly by an adult who does not care. I know a paycheck meant more to you than our wellbeing, and I know in a few years you probably won’t even remember who we are, but we will always remember.

We will remember how excited we used to get on game days and how passionate we were when we played. How we wanted to continue on with our athletic careers to the next level when playing was actually fun. We will also always remember the sly remarks, the obvious dislike from the one person who was supposed to support and encourage us.

We will always remember the day things began to change and our love for the game started to fade.

I hope that one day, for the sake of the young athletes who still have a passion for what they do, you change.

I hope those same athletes walk into practice excited for the day, to get better and improve, instead of walking in with anxiety and worrying about how much trouble they would get into that day. I hope those athletes play their game and don’t hold back when doing it, instead of playing safe, too afraid to get pulled and benched the rest of the season.

I hope they form an incredible bond with you, the kind of bond they tell their future children about, “That’s the coach who made a difference for me when I was growing up, she’s the reason I continued to play.”

I don’t blame you for everything that happened, we all made choices. I just hope that one day, you realize that what you're doing isn’t working. I hope you realize that before any more athletes get to the point of hating the game they once loved.

To the coach that ruined the game for me, I hope you change.

Cover Image Credit: Author's photo

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History Of The Sox And Pinstripes Rivalry, The Best Of All Time, And Why It's Back

We have Harry Frazee to thank for this beautiful catastrophe.

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Rivalries come and go in the world of sports, yes. But let me be the first to tell you that none can come remotely close to The Yankees-Red Sox rivalry. It's easily the most well-known and decorated rivalry in Major League Baseball and pretty much all sports for that matter.

This all began before the Yankees were even known as the "Yankees" but instead, The New York Highlanders. The Red Sox were the most elite team in the league for a long stretch before Harry Frazee made a major history-altering decision in 1918. Being in a financial bind, he traded "The Sultan of Swat, The King of Crash, The Colossus of Clout, The Great Bambino" — Babe Ruth.

Ruth was in the midst of transforming from one of the greatest who played the game to an actual living legend before trading his uniform for some Pinstripes. The trade ended up being a paltry sum of $125,000 and Sox fans still have a distraught taste in their mouth because of it.

This "curse" marked a period of unprecedented hollowness because the Red Sox continuously struggled in their quest to win a World Series in the most horrific, soul-crushing ways possible. On the other hand, The Yankees became the most successful baseball franchise of the 20th century, winning a slam-worthy 25 championships between 1923 and 1999.

It wasn't until the turn of the millennium that the rivalry became more balanced. In 2004, the two teams were playing each other for a place in the World Series and The Red Sox finally got their revenge for years of beatings by coming back from a 0-3 deficit to beat New York. This led to Boston sweeping the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series and becoming champions for the first time since the "Curse of the Bambino" emerged.

In 2005, the rivals tied atop the AL East. In 2006, the Yankees buried the Sox with a devastating five-game sweep in August. In 2007, Boston nearly edged New York in the division race and captured another championship. In a sport hailed for its adversity and uncertainty, these two teams and their antipathy toward each other was constant.

Fast forward to 2018, and it's starting to feel like the mid-2000s all over again. If you ask me, it brings me just as much joy as if it were Christmas morning. This is a new era of baseball, and we're all here for it.

A heated division race between archrivals always carries a certain excitement, but the stakes are way higher in the era of MLB's dual-wild-card system which began in 2012.

With different names and different storylines, there's still the same level of intensity and urgency. The Yankees have their baby bombers like Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Luis Severino, Miguel Andujar, Giancarlo Stanton, and Gleyber Torres— with some seasoned veterans like CC Sabathia, Brett Gardner, and Andrew McCutchen.

And on the defending division champions, the Red Sox are led by a core of established players like J.D. Martinez, Mookie Betts, Craig Kimbrel, and Chris Sale.

For the 2018 season, the Red Sox and Yankees have already clashed with this level of intensity resembling the good 'ole glory days. During an April matchup at Fenway Park, Red Sox pitcher, Joe Kelly, sparked commotion when he drilled Yankees first baseman, Tyler Austin, with a 98-mile-per-hour fastball, avenging retribution for Austin's questionable slide into second base a couple innings prior.

Now in the postseason, it all comes down to the best of five games for the ALDS. Going into Game 3, Bronx bound I may add, each team has secured a dub. It's safe to say that the Yankees–Red Sox rivalry is back, and its latest chapter has only just begun.

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