INCREASE YOUR SPEED
Increase your speed? You can with a little work. If your hip flexors are too tight then I know that you are not running at your top speed, you're not swinging your bat as fast as you can, and you are not throwing with the highest velocity possible. In a game like baseball that relies so heavily on how hard you throw, tight hip flexors must be addressed if you want to continue to play at a high level and reach your dream.
So many parents, baseball coaches and scouts will tell the player that they need to get stronger, which maybe the case; however getting stronger will not fix the problem of tight hip flexors, and increase your speed. The only thing that will happen is that the baseball player will get stronger and their hips will get even tighter. This will ultimately limit the players playing ability, and could end up injuring them. None of this will lead you to increase your speed.
So why does this happen you ask? Why do our hip flexors get so tight? Well our hip flexors get tight because we sit so often. As a result of us sitting so much or even being in a crouched ready position (like baseball fielding position) the muscles in the back of our legs (glutes and hamstrings) do not activate or fire properly. Once a muscle gets tight an opposing muscle tries to help out and do the job of the muscle that is not functioning properly, which leads to more fatigue. If this continues long enough an overuse injury generally occurs. How do I fix my tight Hip Flexors to increase my Speed? The first place to start is with a proper warm-up. I like to recommend that the player starts with some striders (a jog or sprint of about 90 feet) at about 60 -70% effort. After completing your striders then perform a dynamic warm-up to prepare your body for the movements of the game of baseball. Once this has been completed, I would do some foam rolling of the hip and stretching.
Foam Rolling the Glutes, Foam Rolling the TFL, and Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch Perform the stretch on both sides of your body, holding the stretch for about 30 seconds. Here is a great piece of advice if you still feel tight, stretch again. You can do this stretch as much as you would like, so get after it. Hey parents this one is not just for your ball player, since at least 92% of all people will have some sort of back pain in their life; this would be a great idea for you to do as well. Don't wait until you are in pain to start stretching. The result of having tight hip flexors puts undue stress on the back; it simply changes the natural mechanics of your back.
Here is the great news about loosening you hip flexors; by loosening those hips all of a sudden you instantly got stronger. Why because now you are able to activate the glutes and hamstrings. As a result, you are now swinging harder and driving the ball, stealing more bases, making plays that before you could only hope to do; and throwing it by hitters. All of this can be accomplished simply by loosening your hip flexors. Is it worth the effort? I'll let you be the judge. So can you increase your speed? I hope you see that you can increase your speed and your power; and as a result improve your game. Stay Fit You'll Feel and Play Better.
By: Jeff Paluseo
Owner and founder of Sports Fitness Solutions. He played professional hockey , was the Head strength and conditioning coach for the Houston Astros double A affiliate the Corpus Christi Hooks and the Head Strength and conditioning Coach for Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi, and currently Head Strength and Conditioning coach for the Corpus Christi Ice Rays or the Central Hockey League.