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The Importance of Daily Tests to Enhance Performance

There are some days where we either head to the field or the gym and we just don’t “have it”. What could this possibly come from? There are a host of factors:

  • Lack of sleep
  • Poor nutrition the past 24 hours
  • Lack of hydration
  • Stress levels are high
  • Muscular fatigue
  • Muscle damage
  • Poor reactive ability

When we are at the field and we just don’t have it, we have to mentally lock in and try our best to do our job for the team to win. Maybe this means we extend our warm up, we take extra water and snacks with us to the field, or we get some vision drills in to enhance our alertness.

When we are in the weight room, there are a few quick tests that we can perform that can show us if we are “ready” or not. Perhaps we are scheduled for a heavy complex day, but we just don’t have it today. Rather than trying to “push through it”, us Performance Coaches can determine the best course.

Vertical Jump

The Vertical Jump (VJ) may not be the most specific movement/test for baseball, but it is a great test for showing readiness. Our VJ performance dictates how well our central nervous system (CNS) is firing in that given day, since our CNS capabilities change from day to day!

It is super easy to administer and we can see a direct result from the jump height. Since I see this particular athlete move a lot in the gym, I can see when the movement patterns are just “off”.

Here is a general rule of thumb to follow when we look at VJ performance:

VJ Max% of VJ MaxEquated RPE
34 inches90-1009
34 inches80-908
34 inches70-807
34 inches60-706

Broad Jump

The Broad Jump is all about horizontal force production, which is more specific to sprinting, hitting, and throwing. It is also a great test for measuring readiness! The same concepts will apply like the VJ.

Broad Jump Max% of MaxEquated RPE
100 inches90-1009
100 inches80-908
100 inches70-807
100 inches60-706

Medicine Ball (MB) Throw

I really like this test for measuring fatigue. I completely understand…most hitters want to swing 1000 times a day if they don’t “feel” right, or if they’re in a slump. However, it’s important to remember that you are draining your battery life by taking extra swings. 100-200 swings a day seems to be best based on the research.

The MB throw is a test for power output and fatigue. If there are high levels of fatigue, the power output will be low, and vice versa.

If you don’t have access to a radar gun, that is fine. A throw for distance can still be used, but it must be closely monitored because it is a highly skilled movement that needs to be precise.

Even if you did not perform this test in the early off-season, you can still perform it now that summer is approaching! Now that baseball players won’t be practicing and paying 6 days a week, baseball volume will be a little lower, so this changes what we do in the gym from a programming standpoint.

Here is a table to follow for the MB throw, similar to the jumps highlighted above.

6-lb MB Throw Max % of MaxEquated RPE
26 mph/30 feet90-1009
26 mph/30 feet80-908
26 mph/30 feet70-807
26 mph/30 feet60-706

If you haven’t performed any of these tests before, now is the time to do it in the summer! Since the summer season can really be looked at as a completely new season, we can program accordingly on the performance coaching side of things. Start to continually monitor your vertical jump, broad jump, and med-ball throws to concurrently enhance performance IN-SEASON!

Keep training,

Jarad Vollkommer, CSCS

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