Saturday, January 5, 2013


Many know that, “Championships are won in the off season."  And the Yankees need to make 28 a reality by prepping their physical and mental selves during this off-season.  They actually need to step it up now that February is only six weeks away.  My question is this, “If we need believers and not superstars, how do these believers prep themselves to be winners?”  

I prep a multitude of winning dishes during the holidays and this past holiday was no different.  The feast of the seven fishes has always been my specialty on Christmas Eve.  What I want to know is what are the Yankees’ feast of seven workouts that will support winning a championship during this off season? 

Number 7 Timing-

According to Brett Gardner, part of your off season workout should be dedicated to improving your timing.  As athletes get older, their timing becomes a major focus and something that can’t be taken for granted.

So, hitting workouts, on a regular basis in the off season are necessary to help improve timing. 

Number 6: Endurance-

(In Photo: Rayn Lavarnway)
Red Sox Catcher Ryan Lavarnway suggests that catching 100 games can do a number on you physically.  He believes that endurance training is an important ingredient to being able to perform at a high level in the late months of the season (HERE.)  “Lavarnway focused more on his upper-body workouts last year, and that helped his throwing arm stay strong. But he lightened the load on his lower body in preparation for the grueling season, and that might not have been ideal.”  This year, the catcher will increase his lower body workouts in order to stay strong and be able to perform at his best throughout the season. 

Number 5 Find the Right Trainer-

“Injury prevention has become huge business for everyone: players, teams, and independent trainers. Because of that, there's a ton of research put into how players can better prepare themselves. New information is coming out all the time. What was best a year ago has undoubtedly changed, to some extent,” said Evan Drellich author of the article Like swings, off season workouts evolve with time. In addition, many players look for trainers outside of their hometown and travel states away to make sure they find the right fit for their needs.  According to the article, “Clearing up the term 'athletic trainer,'“ “There are people who do a good job as personal trainers," (Stan) Conte, (head athletic trainer of the LA Dodgers) said. "But professional athletes have to be held to a higher standard. And being a good guy and being able to count from one to 10 may not be the minimum requirement."

Number 4: Diet-

Athletes focus on the eating right, both on and off the field, both during and between seasons.  This is nothing new, but with portion control and fast meals becoming more and more a part of the norm, it gets challenging to eat the right foods at the right time.  According to New York Mets third basemen David Wright, who is known for his rigorous sessions in the gym as well as his dedication to proper nutrition (HERE), “I try to eat 5-6 times during the day. I like to put something in my body as soon as I get up, and then I try to eat every two hours throughout the day. I constantly want to keep my metabolism going. Trainers and strength coaches will tell you it’s good to “stoke that furnace.” It’s good to put sensible and small amounts of food in your body throughout the course of the day.” Sensible snacks are key here as the article in Men’s Fitness on Wright touts. 

Number 3Agility Training-

According to the Livestrong foundation (HERE), “Agility training works fast-twitch fibers, improving quick-burst movements and the ability to reach top speed in less time.”  This is particularly important for infielders. Now to his credit, Alex Rodriguez is a big believer of rigorous agility workout routines.  I have seen some evidence of his agility workouts featured on ESPN and the YES network.  Now, I know he has upcoming hip surgery but surely his agility training has helped him perform and comeback after his devastating injuries throughout his career.  Joe Torre agreed that (HERE), “ARod is in better shape than most “because he's always paid pretty good attention to his body and working out.”

Number 2: Location, location, location-

Like anything else, surrounding yourself with positive people on the same training regiment as you, with the same commitment level as you is so important.  Where you do your workouts and with whom is a big deal.  I know this from personal experience as I trained for my first marathon.  You can’t be with friends who will let you off the hook when you don’t feel like working out.  Same is true for ball players.  Whatever your opinion of Melky Cabrera, he turned is off season workout regiment around despite his admission of steroid use.  He also admitted that he strayed from a proper training regiment after leaving the Yankees according to this season’s Daily News article (HERE) that featured Melky’s “Melk-Man” status reinstated.  “He felt it was going to be better for his career to get in an environment that was conducive to him training six days a week," says (Alex) Rodriguez. "He wanted to get into a nutritional program and do all the right things to elevate his career.”

And topping off at Number 1Staying Healthy-

I guess this one encompasses all the training needs in our “feast of seven”.  Being realistic about getting older, season after season is important.  Switching up the routines just enough to keep the body’s metabolism going is another way and keeping your focus and eye on the game mentally and physically is yet another key ingredient to staying healthy.  According to the recent Sports Illustrated article featuring our newest Yankee Kevin Youkilis, “Youkilis was also a late-bloomer, not establishing himself as a major league starter until his age-27 season, and late-bloomers with bad bodies and old player skills (power and patience without speed and agility) often suffer early declines. “  Staying healthy and making good choices will help all players perform at their best.  Let’s not forget the kind of season Derek Jeter had last season.  Remember, he’s 38, soon to be 39 and he has no plans of stopping even after his ankle injury at the painful end of our 2012 season. 

So friends, this is what ball players do to stay competitive and prep for their 2013 season.  What about you?  What will you do to be healthy in 2013?

Enjoy your Saturday.

--Suzie Pinstripe, BYB Opinion Columnist
Twitter: @suzieprof

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