Doubleheaders are common in Kansas, where the weather dictates that the high school season doesn’t start until late March.
The condensed schedule can take a physical toll on some teams, but Maize (Maize, Kan.) prepares with an offseason training regimen that helps it maintain its strength throughout the season.
Under the guidance of trainer JJ Milanovich, Maize focuses on increasing flexibility and cardiovascular conditioning. In the weightroom, the team performs exercises that target the muscles responsible for decelerating the arm after a throw.
In addition to helping prevent injuries, these exercises can improve performance. Junior pitcher Lucas Schauer says he's noticed the difference.
While Maize coach Rocky Helm doesn’t employ a team-wide lifting program during the season, some players take it upon themselves to hit the gym. Catcher Braxon Byfield is one such player.
In addition to weightlifting, Byfield is a big proponent of yoga. Byfield says the benefits of the pigeon pose are felt on a 90-degree day, especially when Maize has a doubleheader.