I have been a resident of Minnesota my entire life, which probably makes me crazy for deciding to be a baseball player. Typically, November to March are off limits for outdoor baseball, making the offseason frustrating. In college this wasn’t a problem, as we had an indoor facility on campus and the Metrodome. As this offseason and the winter months approached, I realized how I took these facilities for granted. How would I workout now?
I knew I would be living in Minnetonka about three days a week and in Rochester about four days a week for most of the offseason and would have to find places to workout in both locations. The high school football field in Minnetonka is domed for the winter and is usually accessible during school hours. Beyond that, my parents have a workout room in their basement that is perfect. I could do everything I needed. Now I had to tackle the other four days of the week.[PRBREAK][/PRBREAK]
I discovered that working out in Rochester was going to be difficult, when a simple Google search for indoor batting cages turned up nothing. I knew I couldn’t take four days off from hitting and throwing each week and expect to get better. I stumbled upon the email address for the baseball coach at the local college. I emailed him on a whim and was offered a volunteer coaching job. I zealously accepted and was given full use of all the facilities they had to offer. I could hit and throw in their fieldhouse and I could lift in their weight room. I had a fellow pro baseball colleague named Brandon Douglas to workout with. He was in AA for the Tigers last year and was very helpful because of his experience.
What I Focused On
Having 6 months to work on baseball was a dream come true. When I left instructs in the middle of October, I knew there were things I needed to improve. Two things I focused on were mental training and getting my body ready for the grind of 150+ games.
I was first introduced to mental training in college. We focused on techniques that guided my four years of play, which I have continued to develop. Recently I became connected with a mental/vision training coach in Minneapolis. Whenever I was in the cities, I worked with him twice a week for an hour. His methods stretched my imagination for how I can grow in vision improvement, bat speed and confidence.
Playing for 6 months straight will be something new for me. In college, the frequency of games isn’t nearly the same as a pro season. I knew I would need to put on weight and increase my flexibility to endure the year. I left the season around 155 pounds, which was the least I had weighed in a while. I hit the weight room hard and was able to add 10 pounds and increase flexibility. My body is now ready to make it through the season without any hiccups (barring another fastball to the nose).
My first offseason of workouts were successful and I am excited to get the 2012 season started!
I will be writing again in about a week to give my initial thoughts about spring training.
Check me out on twitter: @apettersen1