Fitness Testing for Baseball

Baseball is a sport in which skill plays a significant part, however a high level of fitness is required to perform at the elite level. There are several components of fitness that are important for success for all players, such as speed and power, though there are positional differences in the requirements for fitness. See also the Baseball SPARQ fitness testing rating system which uses a different battery of tests.

Aerobic Fitness

Aerobic fitness is an important component of fitness for baseball, so that players can reduce the effect of fatigue during long periods of play. Fitter players will cope with the heat stress of playing all day in the sun. 

The aerobic test performed may depend on the starting fitness level of the players. A submaximal test of aerobic fitness may be suitable, such as a cycle test (Astrand test, Trilevel, PWC170), or the Cooper 12 minute run. For players used to some conditioning exercise, the maximum effort shuttle run (beep) test would be more appropriate. You can find information on many aerobic tests from here.

Flexibility

The flexibility tests conducted on baseball players should be specific to the actions of their sport. Being flexible enables a greater range of movement in the execution of striking or throwing the ball, and may reduce injury in the long term.

The sit and reach test can be done for lower back and hamstring flexibility. Other flexibility tests should also be performed that are relevant for specific playing positions.

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Strength & Power

Strength and power tests should also be done to determine initial levels and to monitor changes in conjunction with training programs. Upper body strength is particularly important. Core stability and abdominal function are important in the controlling of movement and execution of skills.

Maximal strength tests for specific exercises should be conducted. Abdominal muscle function should also be tested, for example using an abdominal strength or endurance test. A handgrip strength testis also suitable. There is also Baseball Ball Throw Test for testing throwing power and technique.

Speed and agility

Running speed, acceleration, and agility are very important in baseball for moving between the bases and in fielding. The 60 yard dash is commonly used for testing baseball players, also sprint time over 30 yards, with a split time for the first 10 yards is appropriate.

You may also want to do a baseball specific test, sprinting over the actual distance between home and first base, and also possibly incorporating a turn.

Body Fat

Excess body fat would affect the baseballer's ability to move freely around the field, and it would also increase fatigue during training and game play as the excess weight does not benefit the sport. Skinfold measures should be performed to determine body fat levels. See more about anthropometry and baseball.

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