“It’s finger poppin’ time”
Baseball is a game of hand-eye coordination. The use of the hands, and fingers in particular, are key in playing the game with success. It is imperative to develop small motor skills and working with the fingers to insure that a player has the strength and grip to pick up and throw the ball accurately! Also, fingers are essential in hitting and catching!
It is key to be in good physical shape (lungs, legs, arms, CORE, etc) but finger strength is one of the most important areas to develop. Obviously, a person uses his/her fingers every day in many activities. The normal daily use is not enough to develop strong fingers, wrist, and/or hands. Below are listed some ways to strengthen the muscles in the hands/fingers/wrists and prepare the player for the rigors of throwing, catching, and hitting a baseball/softball.
1. Eat with chop sticks: This will empower a player to increase hand-eye and develop strong fingers. Begin with one kernel of corn and work down to one kernel of rice. A good drill is to have a pile of rice (uncooked) and pick each piece up and put it into a jar.
2. Finger Warm up: Begin by touching your thumb of one hand to each finger tip in turn, making sure that each touch makes a perfect O shape. Do this ten times for each finger on both hands.
3. Flipping Coins: Learn to flip coins with each finger. After practicing, try to flip coins into a small container 2-3 feet away. Hard but FUN! Use EVERY finger!
4. Fingertip Push Ups: The best of these is do a conventional fingertip pushup on the floor. Stiffen the fingers and do perfect pushups; 3 reps of ten each. The other fingertip pushup is to use a wall and lean forward with just your hands flat against the wall (distance should be a bit more than arms length). Bend your arms and elbows and lower your upper body toward the wall, use only your fingertips to push your way back to the original position; 3 sets of 10 reps.
5. Buy a large bag of rice (20 pounds or so). Each day (1-3 times) put your hand completely in the bag and open and shut your hand 25-35 times per hand. Also, twist your wrists 30-50 times. Do both hands. Be sure to wash rice before eating!!
6. Roll-ups: Using a bat or rod, hold it straight out chest high and with both hands on it, roll it 20 or 30 revolutions without lowering the bat. Then reverse the roll. You may also make a roll-up device by taking a dowel, drilling a hole in it, and attaching a 24” or so piece of twine with a 1-2 pound weight on it. Do 3 reps of 10 with this and your hands/fingers will “muscle up”.
7. Paper Crunches: Hold a sheet of newspaper between your thumb and forefinger at arm’s length. Then, using ONLY your fingertips, crumple the newspaper into a ball. Repeat with other hand!
8. Tennis Balls or Other Hand Exercisers: You may buy many commercial hand-stretchers and they are all good. A cheaper way is to take an old tennis ball and squeeze it 40-50 times (thumb off the ball) 2-3 times per day with each hand!
There are many other drills and exercises you may do, as well as household chores that will improve your fingertip, wrist, and hand strength. Do something each and every day as well as surprise your parents by helping out!! Win-win!! Remember: Perfect practice makes Perfect! GAGPTH!