Training Rotational Power in High School Athletes



By Ryan Ketchum


baseball swing, rotational power


Rotational Power

In almost every single sport that I can think of the more powerful athlete will win almost any battle within a competition. It is also no secret that our athletes are not moving in a linear direction for the majority of the time they are playing their sports. We need to be able to change direction and quickly accelerate in multiple directions under differing situations with multiple stimuli.


You might be asking "Why in the heck is this guy talking about change of direction and acceleration in a rotational power article?"


The point that I am trying to make is that often times we train our athletes for change of direction drills for speed and agility, but we focus on linear power development. You perform the Olympic lifts daily, you throw medicine balls forward, you jump, and the list goes on and on.


Don’t get me wrong, I love the Olympic lifts for power development. The Olympic lifts are the best way to develop pure power for most of our athletes. In fact, if you come into Force Fitness/AR Bloomington on any given afternoon you will see dozens, upon dozens of athletes performing multiple variations of the Olympic lifts.


We often times lack developing rotational power in our athletes. We restrict our training to typical in the box methods and forget to add in the rotational power. We can use multiple tools and movements to develop rotational power in our athletes. The tools that come to mind first when I think of rotational power are medicine balls, sandbags, and a fun little tool that we have created in our facility using a band, PVC pipe, and a clip to attach the two together.


Using a medicine ball as your rotational power developing tool of choice is one of the easiest ways to begin working this into your training programs. You can easily progress athletes from stable to less stable positions, lighter to heavier medicine balls and more complex throws. We love starting our athletes in the half kneel position and teaching them to create power from their core and removing the lower body from the equation. We will then progress to tall kneeling, standing, split stance and then dynamic throws.


Here is a great progression:


1/2 Kneeling Side Throws

Tall Kneeling Side Throw

Standing Side Throw

Split Stance Side Throw

Dynamic One Step Side Throw

Lateral Bound Dynamic Side Throw


This is just one of many progressions! That is six full progressions that you can use before ever moving up in a weight for the medicine ball.


Sandbags can be a fun tool that will develop rotational power. You can do so many variations of the Olympic lifts that include a rotational component with this tool that the options are limitless. You can do rotational push presses, rotational cleans, rotational snatches, rotational shouldering to lunges, and much more. The sandbag itself will require some core stability due to the changes and shifting of weight but adding the rotational component with athletic based movements will create monsters for you on the field or court.


The final tool that we will cover is one of the simplest yet effective tools that we use for creating rotation power in our athletes. The basic set up is to take a 45” piece of 1” PVC pipe, drill a hole in one end and attach a band to a carabineer and the pipe. The forces that are applied to one side of the band when performing movements with this tool are great for stability and power development. This was popularized some time ago by Dave “The Band Man” Schmitz and we will call this the band core trainer.


One of the greatest features of the band core trainer is the ability to use this tool almost anywhere and the ability to use it in a dynamic fashion to create rotational power. This tool can be used to mimic almost any sports movement, can easily be progressed and regressed, and involves training from the ground up with change of direction possibilities built into the progressions.


Presses, rows, slap shots, overhead throws, differing angles and multiple planes are all possibilities when using the band core trainer. This has quickly become one of our most valuable tools in our athletic training programs to help develop core strength and power.


The key to developing rotational power that can be used on the field or court and that will create better athletes is using proper progressions and training the power in dynamic movements with multiple stimuli. Much like you would use a CHAOS training method for change of direction and use differing cues for increased carry over to their sport we will do the same with rotational power.


Don’t let your athletes fall behind in training by neglecting rotational power development. Include 1-2 of these movements in your training programs each session and watch your athletes become more powerful and dominate the competition.




Ryan Ketchum is the Co Owner of Force Fitness and Performance and Athletic Revolution Bloomington. Not only does Ryan work in the trenches with athletes, but also other coaches helping them build their businesses and achieve great success. Ryan is a proud members of the IYCA and honored to be on the Board of Experts.



6 Responses

  1. Jeff says:

    Can we get a video of the band core trainer in action? Not able to visualize it from the description.
    Thanks for the progression on the medball throws.


  2. I would love to see a video of the progression.
    Thank you for all the info.
    Roger B.

  3. Cory says:

    Great article. Built my own “knockoff” version as well. Also, Pat if you read this, exclusive content only on Facebook? What about those of us not on the network who would love that info?

  4. Bobby says:

    I would love to see a video of the workouts.

  5. Anthony M says:

    Great info. Thanks for the progressions ideas.
    I have an idea what the band core trainer would look like and how it could be used but I would live to see a short clip or photos of it in action. Thank you. Anthony M.

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