Thursday, June 13, 2013

What do Major League players do in the off-season?

How do baseball player spend their time off-season?

So from March to September every year Major League baseball players do nothing but train, eat, sleep and dream baseball. Training has to be kept up, regimes stuck to, team based activities aplenty, but definitely not time for letting off steam.

Doug Glanville, former Major League outfielder for the Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago Cubs and Texas Rangers has spoken about the down times in the offseason. The biggest difference, according to Glanville, is the sheer amount of time players suddenly have - plenty of time in which to think.

During the season there’s no time for anything and then off-season there’s way too much of it. He talks about players making random decisions and spending time doing totally different hobbies, like playing endless late night games of Texas Hold ‘Em and spending hours or days online playing canadian slots.

Boredom can be the enemy for players and they still have to maintain fitness levels so they’re ready to get back into full training come March. it wouldn't do much good to let themselves go entirely. Doug talks about how he used to move to Arizona or some other warm place during the winter and keep up the standard training routine. But even with that, it would leave plenty of time every day to do other things.

These guys have plenty of money, if they have a few years of professional baseball under their belt, so what else could they do with it? Glanville talks about how he learned to dance for a whole off-season one year (that’s about five months in total). He learned all of the dances and managed to stay in shape.

He said: “Everything and anything goes off-season.” He talks about his teammates who have learned to fly fighter jets, hiked up mountains only to get lost, got carried away bodybuilding, travelling a lot, getting married (even though they were already married!). He maintains that there are few crazier athletes out there than baseball players off season.

Of course, they could spend the time exercising their grey matter as well as their bodies. Imagine spending five months solid a year on an intellectual project, writing a book, studying a language, hell, even spending time on brain training games if that’s what you prefer - whatever it takes to get the mind stimulated and the body kept in shape.

After all, baseball at this level is hardly just about brawn and physicality, it’s about working intelligently and keeping focus. Brain training games have been proven to help concentration and focus and have a cumulative effect on the brain, so it could be a way to improve mental agility, even for Major League players who have plenty of experience - everyone can do with a little help.

It must be a really difficult transition between seasons, but the thought of five months off a year while still being paid is definitely one that most people would welcome!

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