It should be noted that training for strength and power, and training for mobility, is not binary. Nearly all athletes would be wise to address both.
However, in the ever confused Charmin ultra soft baseball world, mobility often takes precedent at the expense of training for power. Entire programs consist of little more than extremely light non intense loading, rehab movements, and stretching and mobility.
However, besides these programs providing little to no stimulus to actually improve performance, the problem is that mobility is heavily reliant on strength. Many times athletes are immobile in an area because that area is weak. The body knows joint integrity wise that the surrounding muscles are weak, so the muscles are hypertensive and locked down to protect the joint.
So in many
cases, mobility would be improved simply by getting stronger
I think of this spring when one of our Minor Leaguers came back because of COVID, and he was showing me the “upper tier” mobility exercises his organization had introduced. He said how difficult they were and how few of the athletes could do them. So I of course tried them out, expecting after his intro to find them difficult to do. But even just doing them for the first time I found them ridiculously easy. And of course I am significantly older than him, and with a lot of Marine infantry wear and tear on my tires as well. The difference? Strength...
Sadly, many athletes are wasting their perfectly healthy, prime athletic years on these rehab esque workouts. Instead of training to get fast, powerful, and rocked up, they’re spending their early 20’s slowly stretching and mobilizing, their program indistinguishable from a 67 year old rehabbing a meniscus sprain.
And fans wonder why so many top talents their team drafts fail to fulfill their potential...
Once again, mobility has value. But only in conjunction with a smart strength program...
If you’re playing a hip dominant sport like baseball, failing to build your hips and posterior chain by progressing your squat and deadlift is foolish. In my opinion, if you’re not squatting vertical shin 405, and straight bar pulling 500 with a flat back, doing banded TKE’s and bottoms up kettlebell carries are the last thing you should be worried about. Get powerful, build lean muscle mass, and see if your velocity and mobility don’t respond accordingly. Don’t waste your prime years treating your body like it’s fragile. Continue to perform mobility work, but add hard training, and now you’ll be able to finally start to realize your true potential.