Baseball Star Adds Yoga To Game Plan
" Martin hopes addition of yoga to off-season regimen ends late-year slides "
3 days ago
Russell Martin, the hard-nosed catcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers, has taken up yoga.
That's right, the native of Chelsea, Que., best known for his dogged blue-collar work ethic and play-through-all-pain intensity, has made yoga an integral part of his off-season workout regimen for the first time this winter.
"I've never felt better," he said.
Fear not baseball fans, the soon-to-be 26-year-old isn't planning to trade in the tools of ignorance behind the plate to pursue the ultimate goal of unifying the body, mind and spirit into oneness.
Rather, the two-time all-star is searching for new ways to keep his body healthy and strong throughout the 2009 season, eager to avoid the late-month swoons he's experienced in each of his first three big-league seasons.
"Last year, I remember all the way through spring training and the beginning of the season even, my body was tight," Martin recalled last weekend at Baseball Canada's annual awards banquet. "When you're a baseball player, you have to feel loose and that's kind of like prehabilitation, that's what my dad calls it.
"That was my main goal, to do some yoga, still do my explosive movement type stuff, because that's all it is in baseball, reaction-type stuff, and flexibility. All those things, with a consistent work plan during the season, instead of seeing my numbers drop towards the end, hopefully I'll see more of a stability and a consistency. That's what I'm looking for."
The off-season adjustments represent a new way of thinking for Martin, who used to be adamant about playing virtually every day - not the best idea given the gruelling physical and mental demands of catching - and about grinding through all his aches and pains.
Whereas he once would shun various treatments, he's open to them now, partly because the youthful feeling of invincibility is starting to ebb from him. The fact that he's a career .298 hitter through the first four months of the season but bats .262 after that no doubt helped sway him, too.
"The window, it's not very big, so you want to try and feel good for as long as possible and that's really taking care of myself off the field as much as possible, too," said Martin. "Those are things I really didn't do that much of in the past, just because of my attitude, hard-nosed, I don't need anybody's help. ...
"I'm realizing that if I do put on ice, and do contrast hot and cold after a game, I might feel a bit better the next day, or I might feel a little bit better in August, or maybe 10 years from now. Who knows? I'm just trying to be a little bit smarter now."