Whether it’s a myriad of injuries or poor mental focus at the plate, something always seems to plague the Colorado Rockies. With all the advanced scouting and day-to-day grind, the 162 game season can be downright exhausting.
I spoke with Matthew Repplinger, CEO/Visionary of Pro Positive Yoga about the advantages of the Rockies implementing a yoga program to help keep the players healthy and focused. With the culture change happening over at 20th and Blake, introducing yoga to the Rockies to stay focused and healthy couldn’t hurt.
Players such as Evan Longoria, Cole Hamels and Clayton Kershaw have been using yoga their entire careers. It’s now become common practice for players. It’s primary advantages are for strengthening the muscles that connect to all the major muscle groups, to help prevent those oblique and those pesky 15 day DL injury stints.
The other advantage being a better overall mental focus, quieting the mind is the best way to get the most out of your training and increasing your performance on the field.
“Yoga is modern-day steroids”
In 2014 the Rockies placed a player on the DL twenty-five different times, not including players transferred from 15 day to 60 DL. To magnify the injury issues, six of the eight opening day starters spent some time on the DL. Basically the Rockies fielded as bunch of Kenyon Martins’ last year. Since bubble wrap is out of the question, yoga is the perfect option in aiding the guys in overall physical health.
Since the Rockies don’t currently have yoga in their training, I asked Mr. Repplinger how yoga could help the Rockies avoid injuries.
He said, “The Rockies have been hit by the injury bug more than nearly all other teams in MLB. While there is no bullet-proof defense against injuries the postures practiced in yoga are by their very nature intrinsic to strength building. More importantly the strength that is being built is not just in the large muscle groups but the “core” muscle groups (groin, obliques, intercostals). This is important because if you look at any teams disabled list it’s often the core muscles that continue to land players on the 15 day. Furthermore the big muscles become that much stronger when the muscles that connect them are strengthened. Yoga is modern-day steroids.”
The two muscle groups that stuck out to me are the groin and the intercostals. With injuries to Troy Tulowitzki’s legs and the numerous pitchers to suffer oblique injuries, yoga would be a great preventative exercise in an attempt to lower the injuries. If newly acquired pitcher David Hale hadn’t suffered his oblique injury there’s a good chance we wouldn’t have to sit through the Kyle Kendrick implosion, that itself is worth a try.
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Yogi Berra once said “Baseball is ninety percent mental and the other half is physical.” Today’s player not only has a grueling schedule, he has to deal with social media and “writers” like me always talking about that 2-30 slump he goes through. Take the Rockies plate discipline for example; they rank near the bottom of the league in pitches swung at outside of the strike zone ( O Swing %).
While yoga isn’t the cure-all for fixing the Rockies’ woes, an added attention to mental focus couldn’t hurt. I asked Mr. Repplinger, if the mental aspect of yoga can help the Rockies become better hitters.
“Absolutely without question. A huge part of this whole ‘mind-body’ movement is geared to quite the continuous chatter we hear between the ears. If we can increase the focus of ones attention it only makes sense that this would translate to optimizing player performance at the plate.
at the plate but in the advanced scouts office when watching video or when they go to bed at night to better their own sleep. It’s endless how this can create better results.”
So who should use yoga? Repplinger says, “everyone, one through nine and the manager too. Our local nine’s Skip’s wife happens to be an instructor here for CorePower Yoga. Billy Beane’s wife happens to be an instructor in Oakland too.”
So if yoga can help the guys become better players, can it help make better mascots? So what should be done with Dinger? “Set him up in the kids speed-pitch cage and have the kids have a hay day, just kidding. The purple dino’s grown on me, come practice with him on the field at our 3rd annual Coors Field Yoga Day Saturday August 15th tickets available at www.Rockies.com/yoga.”
May 26, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (2) flips his helmet and bat into the air after striking out in the seventh inning of a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies won 9-0. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
While yoga won’t turn our pitching staff into the 1995 Atlanta Braves or make Corey Dickerson a better baserunner, it would be worth the trouble for the guys to give it a chance. The machismo in baseball may be dying, but don’t expect to see Tulo running around in yoga pants.
Matthew Repplinger (@mlbyogaguru) is the CEO/Visionary of Pro Positive Yoga (www.propositiveyoga.com). He can be found at YogaPod in LODO. He is also the author of Baseball in Denver.