The Ultimate Guide to Post-Game Recovery in Baseball

Post-Game Recovery in Baseball

Baseball is a physically demanding sport that requires explosive movements such as running, hitting, and throwing. These movements cause stress, resulting in muscle soreness and fatigue. When your muscles are sore and fatigued, you are more prone to injuries and a decline in performance. This is why baseball players need to understand the importance of post-game recovery to strengthen their career and playing ability.

The information I am sharing has been learned throughout my professional baseball career. In professional baseball, all players are highly encouraged to engage in post-game recovery. When I say “highly encouraged” I mean it is mandatory. Players who avoid post-game recovery are strictly informed by medical trainers that they need to be participating.

Having a medical trainer does make post-game recovery easier, but the information I cover can be implemented by baseball players across any level. Please note, as a player, I have had the privilege of working with licensed medical trainers and have learned valuable information from them. However, I am not a licensed medical trainer myself. The tips and advice provided in this blog are based on my personal experiences and knowledge gained from working with trainers in professional baseball.

This page contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Click here for full disclosure.

What is The Best Way to Recover From Baseball?

A “baseball recovery routine” needs to be developed by a player to properly recover. Baseball recovery routines can be implemented after any form of baseball activity, whether it is a game or practice. A recovery routine involves a combination of proper active recovery, arm care, modalities, nutrition, and sleep. By practicing an appropriate recovery routine, baseball players can enhance the probability of their body’s readiness to compete.

Every baseball player will have a different recovery routine. What works for one player, might not be beneficial to others. Ballplayers will learn through experience what they need to do to maximize their recovery. This will not only come from trial and error but also from understanding your body as you develop over the years.

What is The Importance of a Baseball Recovery Routine?

A recovery routine is crucial for helping baseball players prepare for their next baseball activity. This could be a game the following day, or a practice at the end of the week. Whatever the case may be, your goal is to have your body physically and mentally prepared to achieve your best performance.

When your body feels sore or fatigued, chances are you will not be as explosive or powerful as you would like. Our mind tends to take preventative measures when our body does not feel “good.” This is what can hurt our baseball performance. A recovery routine is the best way to avoid this from occurring and have you feeling great on the field at all times.

Remember, baseball players who can perform great once and a while are not considered the best. The players who can perform great every single day are the ones who thrive and can make baseball a long career.

If you were to ask any professional baseball player what their recovery routine looks like, they can give you a detailed plan for everything they do. Professional baseball players are conditioned to practice consistency. A consistent recovery routine allows players to know what necessary precautions must be taken to help them succeed. This means you are not wasting time and performing activities that are counterproductive to your recovery process.

My goal is to share my knowledge of baseball recovery throughout professional baseball and help lead players in the right direction. I do not want this guide to be a set-in-stone way to recover but to be used as a tool for opening your mind and learning new techniques. I hope to give baseball players a better understanding of post-game recovery with this blog.

Post-Game Recovery Tips:

Follow these tips to properly structure a post-game recovery routine. This will be a learning process in your baseball career and can take time to fully grasp. As long as you are aware of these factors, you will eventually make adjustments as see fit.

#1. Evaluate Workload and Soreness

Before you begin any post-game recovery, you need to evaluate how much work you put in and how your body feels. These are the two important factors to use when determining a recovery plan. Generally speaking, heavy workloads and high soreness will correlate to more post-game recovery demands.

Every baseball player will have a different workload during the game. Did you pitch 7 innings and throw 100 pitches? Or did you play half of the game in the outfield? A higher workload will put more stress and strain on the body, leading to more muscle fatigue and soreness.

It’s important to note that every player’s body will respond differently to their workload. One player might be more sore even though they played less than another player. There are even some players that will not feel their soreness until the next day.

As you mature in your baseball career, you will begin to develop a better understanding of your body’s soreness. This is important to monitor for learning how your body responds to different workloads. Ultimately, you will use both workload and soreness as a gauge for your post-game recovery needs.

#2. Be Mindful of Your Baseball Schedule

As you work your way up in baseball levels, the schedule becomes more demanding. For example, minor league baseball players are playing every single day, except for one off day during the week. This can alter your recovery routine because too much recovery can result in soreness. A player needs to have an idea of when they expect to compete again to decide what recovery is logical to perform.

For instance, the pitcher who threw 7 innings may have more time for full recovery since they likely won’t be playing in the next game. However, an outfielder who plays only half of the game and maybe plays the next day will have to be more mindful of their recovery to avoid overdoing it and risking soreness. It’s all about finding the right balance and tailoring your recovery routine to your individual needs.

#3. Be Logical

A very wise professional baseball medical trainer once told me, “Less is more.” These words have always stuck with me, and continue to help me each day as I monitor my post-game recovery duties. Baseball players do not always need to follow a post-game recovery program to a tee. Take an arm-care program for example, if the exercise instructs you to perform 3×10 (3 sets/10 reps), but you feel a good burn/fatigue after two sets, then stop there.

You want to prioritize quality over quantity to avoid causing more stress to your body. There is no need to be a hero when performing post-game recovery in baseball. I want players to use their judgment and listen to their bodies when determining “how much” of an exercise they should do. So please be smart and do not base your recovery on someone else, you know what your body needs.

Healthy Post-Game Recovery Techniques

1. Hydrate

Hydrating should be one of your top priorities after a baseball game, regardless of how much you play. A lot of the time baseball players do not realize how much we sweat during a game. The fluids we lose through sweating need to be replaced, so hydration is a must post-game.

To ensure adequate hydration after a strenuous baseball activity, it is recommended to consume fluids containing essential electrolytes, such as sodium, potassium, and magnesium. Electrolytes are lost through sweat and are crucial for maintaining proper hydration. Drinking water alone may not suffice to replenish the lost electrolytes, therefore it is important to consume sports drinks or other beverages that contain these vital minerals.

It’s also important to drink enough fluids to replenish what has been lost. A good rule of thumb is to drink enough fluids to produce clear or pale yellow urine. Dark yellow urine may indicate dehydration and a need for more fluids. It’s also important to begin hydrating immediately after the workload and continue to drink fluids throughout the day.

DripDrops are widely used in professional baseball because they serve as an efficient way to get electrolytes fast. I personally love to drink them after my baseball outing instead of Gatorade or Powerade. They are simple, small, and easy to pack in your baseball bag.

DripDrop Hydration

DripDrop Hydration Bold Variety Pack - Electrolyte Drink Mix Single-Serve

2. Active Recovery

Active recovery is important after a heavy baseball workload because it helps increase blood flow to the muscles, which can speed up the removal of waste products and reduce soreness. It also promotes the delivery of nutrients and oxygen to the muscles, which can help with the repair and rebuilding process. Additionally, active recovery can help prevent stiffness and improve range of motion.

Active recovery does not need to be complex. Baseball players are too familiar with high-intent sprints or long poles after a baseball game, but that is not sustainable. The goal of active recovery is not to fatigue your already tired muscles. We want to promote blood flow by engaging in low to medium-intensity exercises.

I prefer active recovery that makes my body feel flushed, but not fatigued. Exercises such as stationary biking, jump rope, or mobility circuits are great for that. Any exercise that involves low impact and increases blood flow should be performed as active recovery. Again, we are not trying to kill our bodies, so anywhere from 10-15 minutes is substantial.

3. Arm Care Exercises

Arm care is essential for baseball players post-game because throwing a baseball places significant stress on the arm muscles and joints, particularly the shoulder, elbow, and forearm. Over time, this stress can lead to injuries such as tendinitis, rotator cuff tears, and ligament damage. Arm care exercises can help prevent these injuries by strengthening the muscles and promoting proper shoulder and elbow mechanics. Additionally, these exercises can aid in the recovery process by increasing blood flow to the affected areas and reducing muscle soreness.

Arm care exercises are predominantly done by baseball pitchers, but position players should incorporate them into their recovery routine as well. Arm care exercises are recommended to be done at least twice a week by professional baseball players.

Pitchers will have a better idea of when to do their arm care since they are less likely to pitch back-to-back games. When I was in the minor leagues, pitchers who played were strongly encouraged to perform arm care exercises right after the game.

Position players will have a more difficult time timing up their arm care exercises depending on their baseball schedule. If you are a younger baseball player who is not playing every day, then you will have no issue. Position players with a more tedious baseball schedule will need to refer to the tips I mentioned: be mindful and logical.

Check out my recent blog, “Professional Approved: 11 Best Arm-Strengthening Products for Baseball Players” for a better idea of what to be using. I recommend at least using baseball bands for scapular strengthening or cuff weights for I, T, and Y’s.

  1. I’s: Lie face down on a mat or bench with your arms extended straight in front of you, thumbs up. Slowly lift your arms and hold them at shoulder level for 2-3 seconds. Lower your arms back down and repeat for 10-12 reps.
  2. T’s: Lie face down on a mat or bench with your arms extended straight out to your sides, thumbs up, forming a “T” shape. Slowly lift your arms and hold them at shoulder level for 2-3 seconds. Lower your arms back down and repeat for 10-12 reps.
  3. Y’s: Lie face down on a mat or bench with your arms extended out in front of you at a 45-degree angle, thumbs up, forming a “Y” shape. Slowly lift your arms and hold them at shoulder level for 2-3 seconds. Lower your arms back down and repeat for 10-12 reps.

Jaegar Bands Resistance Bands

Jaeger Sports Baseball/Softball Exercise JBands - Junior

The Cuff Weights (2-Pounds)

The Deluxe Cuff Ankle and Wrist Weight - 2 lb

4. Modalities

Modalities are commonly used in professional baseball for post-game treatment. Utilizing modalities like heat therapy, compression therapy, and electrical stimulation can be advantageous for baseball players after a game. Heat therapy can enhance blood circulation and facilitate healing, compression therapy can diminish inflammation and assist in muscle recovery, and electrical stimulation can help promote blood flow and alleviate muscle soreness.

Modalities are great because they can be used practically every day regardless of your baseball workload. They are not going to make you more sore, so staying on top of them is a must. I recommend using modalities as frequently as possible after any baseball activity. Check out my blog, “Professional Approved: 11 Best Baseball Recovery Products” for more information.

The most common modality used in professional baseball is the Marc Pro. The Marc Pro is a type of electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) device that uses a low-level current to stimulate the muscles and promote recovery. The one thing I like the most about the Marc Pro is that you can target specific muscle groups with ease. The device is small and compact and can be used multiple times throughout the day.

Another popular modality in professional baseball is the NormaTec. NormaTec is a type of compression therapy device that uses pneumatic compression to improve circulation and accelerate recovery. The NormaTec has different attachments including, legs, hips, and arms. If you are feeling sore in any of these areas, you simply put the correct NormaTec attachment on and let the unit go to work. The best way to describe what the NormaTec does is that it will fill with air and get very tight on the area you are targeting. This will increase your blood flow and ultimately improve recovery.

Marc Pro

Marc Pro Plus

NormaTec

NormaTec Pulse 2.0 Full Body Recovery System Standard Size for

5. Fuel Up

Proper nutrition is crucial for baseball players post-game as it helps with muscle recovery, replenishes energy stores, and promotes overall health. After a game, baseball players need to consume foods that are rich in protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats to help repair muscle tissue and replenish glycogen stores. In addition, adequate hydration is essential to prevent dehydration and maintain proper bodily functions. Without proper nutrition, baseball players may experience fatigue, decreased performance, and increased risk of injury. Including proper supplements in your diet can also aid in recovery; check out my blog, “Professional Approved: 13 Best Supplements for Baseball Players” for more information.

My favorite baseball strength coach of all time used to tell us this after our lift, “Eat your face off.” I believe this applies to any situation after a heavy workload. If you do not consume enough calories after a game, your body may start to break down muscle mass to provide energy and nutrients for recovery. As baseball players, we do not want to lose muscle mass because that can lead to decreased endurance, slower recovery, and increased risk of injury.

If you want more assistance with proper nutrition for baseball players, check out my FREE Baseball Nutrition Guide, where I cover everything I learned in professional baseball on eating right.

6. Sleep

I know this can be difficult after a baseball game especially if the adrenaline is still pumping. The body can be restless after a game and getting comfortable is tough to do. Try your best to relax and get a full night of rest. I recommend turning the tv off and putting the phone up to eliminate distractions.

Proper sleep is crucial for the body’s recovery and regeneration after a baseball game. It’s during this time that the body releases hormones like growth hormone, necessary for muscle repair and building. Adequate sleep also helps regulate the immune system, reduce inflammation, and enhance mental focus and performance. Inadequate sleep can lead to slower recovery times, a higher risk of injury, and reduced on-field performance for baseball players.

A great investment for baseball players is a WHOOP. The WHOOP is highly used by professional baseball players because of the valuable data provided. The WHOOP is a wearable fitness tracker that provides insights into an athlete’s sleep, recovery, and performance. Using the WHOOP can help baseball players track their sleep patterns and ensure they are getting the necessary rest to optimize their physical and mental recovery.

WHOOP 4.0 Wearable Health

WHOOP 4.0 with 12 Month Subscription – Wearable Health, Fitness

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *