Accumulating a 24-2 record in high school baseball is no easy feat, especially when your team is part of the state’s highest concentration of elite prep baseball players.
So far this season, the No. 7 Tomball (Texas) Cougars have consistently proved they can handle whatever’s thrown their way.
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In a game against Fort Bend Willowridge (Houston) on April 5, Tomball trumped the Eagles, 15-0. Four days later, the Cougars repeated their dominating 15-0 performance, walking away with the victory against Houston’s Spring Woods. And earlier this season, Tomball crushed Caney Creek, 25-3, during the New Caney Tournament.
Backing the Cougars’ consistency is their focus and preparedness, cultivated in the weight room three days a week during the season. Coach Doug Rush gives away a few keys to the team’s success.
What resources help shape how your athletes train?
Rush: We look at college programs, and we’ve also looked at Texas Sports Med — a lot of pros train there. We don’t pattern [our training] from any one specific program though. We’ve also picked up some things at clinics.
What’s one training bit you’ve learned and integrated into your program?
Rush: The decline pushup off a bosu ball. It involves a whole lot of your core in addition to your chest muscles. It’s a total-body exercise, and it’s pretty challenging.
Shoulder strength is a must for baseball. What’s part of the Cougars’ routine?
Rush: We train with weights, but nothing heavy. We try to maintain during the season, which starts late January and ends, hopefully, late June. So it’s real important that we maintain strength. We do a lot of work with band exercises and light dumbbells to strengthen the inner shoulder.
What’s another important training area your athletes target in the weight room?
Rush: Abs. Baseball is very rotational, so players definitely have to have a strong core. We do a lot of balancing on balls, and we also use sledgehammers and tires to work the core.
Tell us how your players keep their legs strong.
Rush: Leg strength, especially for pitchers, is really valuable. Everything players do starts with the legs. We do a lot of plyometrics and squats and lunges on a bosu ball. In the fall, our players squat heavy. We also do a lot of sprint training. My pitchers run foul poles — they’ll jog, then sprint, then jog — up to 15 times a day. Position players get their sprint work in by running bases.