What 4 Months of Off-Season Strength Training Did for This Baseball Program

Results and data speak for themselves.

In this article, I will be breaking down the results of 8 baseball teams ranging from 13u to 18u which we had the pleasure of working with this off-season and winter here at Champion Physical Therapy and Performance. I will provide examples and how to’s of several exercises as well! See how this baseball program increased power, strength, and performance!

If you are not a subscriber to Esposito Strength Club, make sure you click here to subscribe so you don’t miss out! You will also get access to all my Free Online Baseball Courses!

 

Why We Tested Our Athletes

First off, we like to test and collect data for many reasons. The main priority for us is knowing whether our program was successful or not successful.

I am a true believer in assessing myself as a strength coach and if something was implemented that did not achieve the results I would want or expect, I definitely don’t want to continue to make the same mistake the next year! As a coach, we also have to progress and develop our programs and coaching abilities.

 

What Data?

This is an area which I don’t know why many programs or coaches do not implement.

It’s all about your athletes getting better right? A huge game changer for us once the off-season ended was handing out progress reports of starting and ending data for each athlete. We held team meetings where we discussed results, goals and much more.

What’s even more important is the kids continued to train even after their “program” ended. This is awesome as many kids just simply stop training during the season.

Don’t make that mistake of not training! For more on that Click here for 5 Mistakes Baseball Players Make in-Season 

I believe there are two main excuses as to why most don’t test their athletes…those are:

  1. You don’t have (make) time.
  2. You are afraid you and your coaching philosophies will be proven wrong.

 

Look, I get it from a time perspective, but you are in full control of the practice plan and strength program. You make the time!

If you are afraid of being shown your training program really wasn’t as effective as your marketing led that to be…well either grow and make changes or stop coaching.

 

The Other End of the Spectrum

While testing can be a great thing, I do need to touch on the other end of the spectrum: over analyzing or collecting data just to say you collected it.

I have seen it before. I have seen some of the most unnecessary tests and assessments performed. I don’t know who actually cares to measure or needs to know the hand size of a 10-year-old baseball player but I’ve seen it done.

Sick, your 11 now and your hand grew 1/8 of an inch, our training is so good

Was it the training that caused that? Probably not as much as the sun going up and down a whole bunch.

Look, that even happened in our off-season tests. We measured the athletes’ height…but I did not include it on the final reports, many kids are in puberty and maturing…that’s a VERY big variable for me to say had nothing to do with getting taller.

If you are going to collect data, use it! Find out what went right, what went wrong, and how to make adjustments to help the athletes next season!

 

What We Tested

As we entered the off-season training, we needed to make a list of tests and measurements that were:

  • Applicable to the athletes
  • Made sense for baseball players
  • Able to be consistently replicated
  • Take 3 Sessions to perform
    • We did not want to lose too many training days

 

Our Training Parameters

I wanted to break this down a bit more for the coaches and parents who run baseball programs. I am sure some of you have a similar layout to roster structure.

  • 8 Total Rosters
  • 120 Total Athletes
  • 3 days a week of Strength Training
  • 1 Hour Per Training Session
  • 4 Total Months
  • 48 Total Workout Sessions
  • 6 of those sessions were allocated to testing, goal setting, and result breakdown and exit meeting

 

What We Tested

During the first week (November) and last week (February/March 15) of the strength program, we measured the following:

  • Body Weight
  • Grip Strength on Right and Left Hand
  • 60 Yard and 10 Yard Sprints (weather permitting)
  • 300 Meter (weather permitting)
  • 5-10-5 Pro Agility Test
  • Broad Jump
  • Lateral Bound on Left and Right Foot
  • Vertical Jump Height
  • Med Ball Stepping Overhead Throw

 

We used the GFlight to measure jump height. I absolutely love the GFlight. It’s portable, convenient, and consistent with its data and performance. Here’s a recent post for more and my review. Want a GFlight? Pick one up here and use code ESPOSTRENGTH for savings!

For velocity readings for the Med Ball Throws, we used Pocket Radar. Similar to the GFlight, it was easy to use, portable, and consistent. Here’s a great post from Mike Reinold on 3 Ways Pitcher’s can use radar to enhance performance…and check out the flame-throwing lefty in his videos…

Some of the goals of the baseball program were to simply get bigger and stronger. We only had an hour with the teams, and one of the areas we chose to not allocate much time to was speed and agility. As a strength coach, I do know many of these kids are multi-sport athletes, so that was not a major concern for me. Playing basketball, hockey or other sports gives plenty of agility and footwork.

We also know there is a high carryover when you perform strength lifting and plyometrics that translate into force production of sprinting and change of direction.

We chose several power development markers (broad jumps, lateral bounds, vertical, med ball) to track. We know these have a very strong correlation to baseball players performance and development.

 

Estimated 1 Rep Max

For our older athletes (15u, 16u, 17u, 18u) we used an estimated 1 Rep Max (e1RM) to safely find working weights for athletes. This also lets us have a better idea of appropriate weight selection for athletes, without the risk of performing a true 1 rep max test.

Every phase of the off-season for the older teams was specific in regard to developing strength and power and then using the new found strength to become explosive. This helps translate to on-field performance!

We had 3 main exercises we chose to track e1RM. Those were pushups, squats, and deadlifts.

Want to know your estimated 1 rep max…bookmark this link and use this 1 Rep Max Calculator

 

Here are some videos of the testing we performed this off-season!

 

The Results

These kids absolutely crushed their lifts. We were very clear from the beginning that the results would not happen overnight. Showing up consistently, lifting with good form, and properly increasing their weights was a great start.

While we had great results across all of the testing data, some of the areas that stood out were the power development of the Broad Jump, Vertical, and Lateral Bounds. On top of that, we created very good symmetry in the body from Right to Left on both Lateral Bounds and Grip Strength

We had a 42.98% increase in Right Leg Lateral Bound. For right-handed hitters and throwers, that is HUGE. More force to generate with will translate into higher velocity, and more power when hitting!

One of the other benefits to note is many athletes gained body weight during the off-season. While we gained weight, we also increased all power metrics…AND our running numbers either stayed at the baseline or improved. Even though we gained weight, our running did not get slower!

See the charts below for a full breakdown by age group!

 

 

 

 

 

 

How We Got Results

#1 Item that helped with results: showing up! That was something that was awesome this off-season. Almost all of these athletes were committed to coming to the gym and 100% bought into their personal development!

With that set, setting the foundations for this year and long term success was our top priority for these athletes. The programs were designed to hit the major areas for youth and developing athletes:

  • Strength and Power
  • Stability
  • Proprioception
  • Force Acceptance
  • Force Development
  • Med Ball Work
  • Plyometrics

 

We focused on what I call the pillars of strength: push, pull, hinge, squat, carry, core, balance. All of our workouts incorporated some type of movement or skill associated with those pillars.

 

Program Design for 13u and 14u Players

For our youth athletes, we always focus or the learning and mastering the basics. For a vast majority of this age group, it was their first time lifting or following a sports performance program.

This age group sets the tone and prepares them for heavier loads at older ages. You will be way ahead of everyone when you get into your 15 and older range from a strength development perspective.

We kept our rep ranges in the 8-12 for most of the exercises and focused on quality over quantity. Our progressions were designed to maintain their focus during the entire lift to be self-aware of their movement and patterns. For example, using 1 weight in a contralateral hold challenges your lateral flexion while performing a reverse lunge. This is a great progression for a standard reverse lunge.

 

Program Design for 15u, 16u, 17u, 18u Players

We had 4 significant phases for this age range during the off-season.

  • Phase 1 was re-acclimating to the gym after time off, as well as ensuring the lifting movements were ideal!
  • Phase 2 was continuing on our linear progression and added in some Isometric holds, and preparing the body to accept heavier loads.
  • Phase 3 was our heaviest load phase. We reduced the number of reps and increased the number of sets. This allows to safely get under heavier loads all within a linear progressive training approach!
  • Phase 4 was our speed phase. We take the muscle and strength we gained during the previous 12 weeks, and we teach it to become explosive and powerful. We reduce the weight as well to provide the proper stimulus for training, and prepare for tryouts and the season!

 

Just a note, we did not progress the athlete to the next phase just because the program called for it. This was where we would individualize for the athlete. If they required more time to master a movement, we simply allowed them that additional time.

 

How to Videos

Here are some great demos and how to videos of some of the exercises we used through the off-season training program. Many of these were crucial to power development as the data shows!

 

Final Thoughts

This was a great off-season for these athletes as the data shows. It was awesome seeing the progress from start to finish. Thanks to everyone at Champion (Kiefer, Diwesh, Kristy) for being a huge part of the success of these athletes!

We were very excited to show all the athletes at the end of the year meeting their results. It was great to see the kids talk about their goals and seeing their faces when they realized how they did not just hit their goal, but absolutely crushed it.

If you are interested in this type of training and results for your teams, send me a message below!

5 Ways to Strengthen Your Adductors

When it comes to your adductors, or groin muscles, stretching is one of the most common go-to interventions to keep you from straining or pulling your groin. Stretching is one of the tools we use, but how do we strengthen your groin and adductor muscles?

This article will breakdown additional ways to help you strengthen and keep your adductors healthy.

If you are not a subscriber to Esposito Strength Club, make sure you click here to subscribe so you don’t miss out! You will also get access to all of my Free Online Baseball Courses!

 

What Are Adductors

The adductor muscles (inner leg) are a group of 5 muscles that attach to the pelvis. The adductor muscles play a crucial role when it comes to performance, especially for baseball players. The adductors assist with back leg drive, separation, and hip extension. This includes explosive movements such as jumping, sprinting, and throwing.

For example, pitching requires the adductors of your stance leg to eccentrically stabilize while you drive towards the plate. Then the stride leg adductors have to stabilize as you drive your stride foot into the ground and transfer energy from the ground up to the pelvis, torso, and arm. Once you release the ball, your adductors must eccentrically slow your body down.

Slowing down one of the most violent movements in sports like throwing a baseball is a total body movement. When an area of the body is compromised, other locations will pick up the slack such as tendons and ligaments.

 

How to Stretch Your Adductors

Groin strains often happen with a sudden lengthening of the groin muscles when they are pushed past their limits of range of motion. This can occur in baseball and rotational sports, as well as other sports that involve cutting, reactive and quick stops and starts. Groin injuries are less frequently studied than upper extremity injuries in baseball, but they are still important to consider when training.

 

Here are a few examples of when this occurs in baseball:

  • Pitchers/thrower strides
  • Hitter’s back leg movement
  • Reaction and drop steps that occur in the field
  • Catcher drop and blocks

 

The Split Stance Adductor is a great stretch for the groin and adductors. This allows the athlete, to find their available range of motion and work within that range. This stretch allows athletes to maintain the length needed in their adductors to keep performing at a high level on the field while reducing injury risk.

 

Improve Rotational Power

The adductors play a huge role when it comes to rotating the hips. Transferring kinetic energy from your lower half to upper half will help lead to more potential velocity and power to your swing.

This shuffle is focused on bringing as much speed and momentum as possible into the Med Ball Scoop.  We still want to stay loaded onto your back hip to allow your adductors to lengthen. This will help create more force into your rotation and get good separation from the upper half and lower half.

This “separation” works together to transfer force between the upper and lower body. This is why you see elite athletes, such as baseball hitters or tennis players, rotate explosively through their hips and torso when making contact with a ball.

This med ball rotation exercise specifically targets your ability to powerfully rotate, which is needed for several sports skills, including hitting, throwing and changing directions.

 

Lateral Force Production

Adding bands to some of your jumps, like lateral bounds are a great way to increase your force production. The lateral bound is a great measure of pure power output in the frontal plane and developing power from your groin and adductors. The lateral bound is often tested inside gyms, combines, and athlete intakes.

If you have cranky knees, the band resisted lateral bound also helps decelerate your body at landing.

Coaching Cues:

  1. Secure a light or thin band to a post, rig, or sturdy surface around waist height.
  2. Toss the band around your waist, step out to the point where there is some tension on the band and set up in an athletic position.
  3. Perform a lateral bound
  4. Walk back to your starting point and repeat.

If you are a beginner, work on your jump mechanics first, and progress into these.

 

Eccentric Strength Development

Baseball players can experience high amounts of eccentric stress in their adductors. This is more than likely due to the amounts of high intent throws, swings and the quick reactions that occur in games and practices.

Your groin and adductor muscles help you absorb force when changing direction laterally. Seeing as baseball is played mostly in the frontal and transverse planes, you are asking a lot from your groin and adductors!

So how do we gain eccentric strength for your adductors and groin?

 

The Copenhagen Plank

For those unfamiliar with the Copenhagen Plank, this plank is no joke! For starters, you are getting a great core exercise but on top of that, your adductors are engaged to hold you in that plank position. There is also research supporting the eccentric strength increase while performing the Copenhagen plank.

See the video below for a great demo and breakdown on how to perform and progress the Copenhagen Plank: [H3]

 

Strengthen Your Adductors

For baseball and rotational athletes, we need to make sure we also have plenty of strength to be able to support the force absorption and production that occur every day in the sport.

The Bottom Hold Lateral Lunge

The bottom hold lateral lunge is a great frontal plane strength exercise you can add into your workouts. I personally like the bottom hold as I feel it allows you to find a good lateral position without trying to wrestle the weight into a goblet. Your arms are allowed to stay long like a deadlift letting you get into a similar hinge position. The bottom hold allows you to load this position more so than a goblet, so the strength aspect is slightly higher in this variation

 

The Set Up:

  • Start by holding the kettlebell or dumbbell underneath you.
  • Step laterally and hinge into your landing leg.
  • Bring the weight toward the inside of your shoe/foot
  • Return back to your starting point and repeat on both sides for the desired reps.

 

Final Thoughts

The adductors play a crucial role in athletic performance and development. Yes, we can stretch them, but that is just one piece of the puzzle.

I hope this post helped you learn additional ways to strengthen and support your adductor muscles to help reduce the chance of a groin strain.

5 Major Mistakes Baseball Players Make In-Season

With baseball season officially upon us, I wanted to break down the 5 mistakes I commonly see baseball players make in season and how you can avoid them. Baseball players often stop working out, and they have poor sleep and nutrition habits. These problems are compounded by poor time management skills. Here are some easy solutions on how to manage your time wisely to maximize your season!

If you are not a subscriber to Esposito Strength Club, make sure you click here to subscribe so you don’t miss out! You will also get access to all of my Free Online Baseball Courses!

 

1. You Stop Working Out

Look, I get it. I was a player and I remember the hectic schedule of school, practice after school, games, travel, lessons…but like a said above, it’s a SCHEDULE. I don’t know of many NCAA or Pro level teams not lifting in season. Making it a point to find 2-3 hours per week to take care of your body is not that much to ask.

Let’s put that in perspective. In a recent survey of time spent playing Fortnite during the week, 29.4% said they played Fortnite 0-5 hours per week while 32.5% played for 6-10 hours per week.

Now, I’m not saying to not play video games because, like many, I like to merk some noobs playing Battlefield 1 on the PS4 from time to time, but I don’t let it impact my training or my job.

 

What are Your Priorities?

Baseball in-season strength training is important for staying healthy and maximizing performance. Remember, some of you have spent months of training to get into the best shape you could be leading to this season. Your off-season was designed to maximize your on-field performance.

That can also be said about your in-season program, not only can you still increase your strength, but you are also maintaining your movement quality. This will have a large impact on your durability throughout the season!

If you stop training altogether, you run the risk of breaking down sooner, especially with an often hectic and busy baseball schedule. For some of you, you will go from 1-2 hours a week of baseball to potentially 15-20 hours!

Other in-season benefits will vary from player to player but include maintaining strength, managing stress placed on tissues during the season, and working to continue your athletic development.

If you are not sure what to do for in-season strength training, make sure you check out the program Mike Reinold and I put together: Champion In-Season Baseball Performance Program.

 

Baseball In-Season Strength and Conditioning Guidelines

I recently put together an In-Season Baseball Strength Training Series. I breakdown common myths, misconceptions, schedules and more! Make sure you check those out below.

In-Season Lifting Part 1: General Guidelines

In-Season Lifting Part 2: Youth Baseball

In Season Lifting Part 3: High School Baseball

 

2. You Don’t Get Enough Sleep

Sleep is by far one of the most common areas that teenagers neglect. I’ve been there myself. On school nights, I used to stay up past midnight watching TV, playing video games (being on your cell phone wasn’t a thing yet in 2000-2004 when I was in high school). I’d wake up at 5:45 am and repeat for the week. Then on the weekends, I’d sleep till 1-2 in the afternoon. I was a SLUG! My grades suffered, and my body recovery was terrible.

 

Why Does Sleep Matter?

Sleep is one of the body’s most important biological functions with roles in performance, cognition, learning, development and mental and physical health.

While there are numerous consequences as a result of inadequate sleep, identifying sleep problems and following the recommended sleep guidelines can help ensure sporting performance is maximized.

 

 

From an academic perspective (don’t forget, STUDENT-athlete), we know having adequate amounts of sleep will increase your performance in the classroom. Not only can your test scores increase, but your cognitive function, thinking, and creativity can see improvements as well.

Now, put yourself in the mind of a college coach and recruiter…the more colleges you qualify for academically, the more you can consider athletically!

 

Sports Performance Benefits

From an athletic perspective, having an adequate amount of sleep has tremendous improvements to your performance.

“Sleep is the most potent performance enhancing activity that we know of.”

– Jeffrey Kahn, Sports Performance Scientist.

In a recent study, student-athletes who get less than 8 hours of sleep per night are 70% more likely to get injured. If you are getting less than 6 hours of sleep, you are reducing your reaction time by 18%.

Baseball is a reaction sport. Hitters are reacting to the pitcher. Fielders are reacting to the hitter. Baserunners are reacting to every pitch and play of the game! 18% is A LOT to lose.

Again, sleep is an obstacle that all athletes have to face. When you get optimal sleep duration (8-10 hours), one night of sleep improves motor learning task speed by 20% and accuracy by 39%. Baseball players improve reaction times by 122 milliseconds. To put that in perspective, a 90-mph fastball takes about 400 milliseconds to travel from the pitcher’s hand to home plate. Improved sleep can also decrease fatigue by 40%. I guess you could say sleep is important.

 

How to Help Your Sleep

  • Turn off the TV
  • Limit blue light use (phones, tablets, laptops, computers) 2-3 hours before bedtime.
  • Read a book
  • Watch caffeine intake during the afternoon
  • Get consistent with your sleep and wake-up schedule
  • Put items that can be a distraction in a different room

 

3. Your Nutrition Is Lacking

The nutrition and food choices you make every day will have a tremendous impact on your energy levels, baseball performance, and your overall health!

Without proper nutrition, you can become lethargic, you can lose the ability to concentrate, and you are missing out on your body’s ability to recover. All of these will have an impact on your academic and sports performance.

You need to remember; your food is your fuel. The quality and quantity of your nutrition matter a whole lot, especially in sports performance.

I really want to make sure you realize that this is not a “diet.” Diets are often restricting, limiting, and often difficult for athletes, especially NCAA, high school and youth athletes to follow. What we want is an abundance of good quality, highly nutritious foods.

 

A mistake many make is looking for a quick fix or a quick solution to what needs a long-term commitment. Sure, adding in nutrients you may be lacking and cutting out junk food will help short term, but you need to remember sports performance is year round.

 

Drink More Water!

Drinking water is something many athletes lack. Water can help maximize your body’s natural functions, as well as help you maintain your energy levels and brain function. Your body is constantly losing water throughout the day, then you go to play games and practice in hot weather.

While sports drinks do have some positives such as electrolytes and good carbs, you are also taking in large amounts of sugar.

 

Taking Control of Your Nutrition

I recommend you track your food and nutrition daily. This will give you a good idea of your eating habits, intake, and nutrient timing. You can use apps on your phone or computer, or the old-fashioned journal works just as well.

Another helpful tip is meal prepping and planning. Planning out your food will allow you to create and stick to a schedule. This will help you make better choices throughout the day. If you are not shopping for yourself, talk with your parents and help out with the grocery list.

Finding a nutrition plan can be hard as it should be unique to the individual. Everyone has different needs based on activity levels, goals, schedules, and personal lifestyles. I would recommend you see a nutritionist for more on that!

 

4. Time and Schedule Management

We touched on this above regarding strength training and finding time to lift. When it comes to time management, everyone can always do a better job. The number 1 excuse I hear from athletes, especially in-season, is they don’t have enough time. I call BS.

Athlete schedules can be all over the place in today’s sports world. There is really no way around that as that has become the norm for playing sports. What changes though are your priorities and your choices. These choices and priorities will impact your sleep, nutrition, and development.

 

What’s Out of Your Control

To begin to work on your time management, you must make a list of necessities or items that just simply won’t change or go away. For example, we know your school schedule really won’t change all that much. From roughly 7:30 till 2:30, you are unavailable.

Once the weather cooperates, typically your baseball games and practices are usually right after school. On average, you can be done by 5 pm. If you don’t get in bed until 10 pm, what are you doing with those 5 hours a day… which equals 25 hours from Monday-Friday?

Well, you have to eat, and family time is huge, don’t forget that. We also know you will have homework. Obviously, that will depend on your school, grade, and course load but that could take up 2-3 hours a day right there.

So that leaves you with potentially 2 hours a day or 10 hours during the weekdays. Those 10 hours can be spent on self-development, strength training, sport skill development, hanging out with friends or personal time.

 

How to Work on Your Time Management

I would highly suggest you make a daily schedule or journal for yourself to see where your free hours are and how you can maximize your time. Keeping a schedule will allow you to take control of your daily routine, start controlling external factors a bit better, and manage some potential stressors.

 

5. You Ignore Recovery

When we put the previous 5 mistakes together, that adds up to a lack of recovery and potentially impacts your baseball performance. Baseball is a very violent sport from a biomechanical standpoint. The demands and forces placed on your body are some of the highest in sports. Taking care of your body is like charging your batteries.

 

 

I recently heard a very good analogy from Cory Schlesinger, a strength coach at Stanford University. Cory discussed an analogy he got from Jordan Shallow and compared the athlete’s injury risks with outside factors.

“Jordan Shallow gave me this metaphor, he was saying this fungus will fill up a pond and it doubles its size every day. So, if it starts off at .2, then the next day is .4, he asked me, if it’s going to fill up a whole pond in 30 days, what’s the day it’s half full. Day 29. That’s how I look at the human body. It’s literally the last thing and then boom. We could’ve had all these interventions from Day 2 to Day 28 or Day 29 even, but it’s that one last straw that breaks the camel’s back.”

 

What does that mean?

There are many factors that go into your athletic development. As athletes, being able to manage your stress, school, sleep, nutrition, time management will lead to an optimized sports performance environment for you to thrive in. All those factors mesh and work together.

For example, many coaches will look for the exact moment of a sore arm, or injury from sport, but will forget to look at all the other factors that could’ve led to that injury. While being injured is not ideal, getting healthy and making sure it doesn’t happen again is key.

 

Final Thoughts

One big takeaway I hope you got from this post is that all of these mistakes can be 100% controlled by you. Your body’s recovery can be impacted by being proactive with your time and schedule management. This will allow you to maximize workout schedule and outside factors and stressors. Your nutrition and sleep will have an impact on your performance on and off the field as well as in and out of the classroom.

All of the mistakes work cohesively together. It’s up to you whether they work for you or against you.

The Baseball Recruiting Process is Failing Us

In the early 2000’s TV series “Who’s Line Is It Anyway” Drew Carey used to open every show by saying, “a show where everything is made up and the points don’t matter.”

Drew Carey’s repetitive opening line could be applied to much of baseball’s recruiting and player development landscape today as majority of it simply doesn’t matter. The structure of the seasonal baseball schedule from youth to college is broken.

Money has been a driving factor in year-round play and “elite” travel teams where winning is placed at the highest importance. Many teams are marketing “developmental programs” where they play 5 plus showcase events through the course of a season.

Though these programs are marketed as developmental, it is the last point of focus for the coach or organization.

Showcases, invite-only tryouts, all-stars, All-American games and rankings are all designed as incentive based reasons to pay more money for a better chance at getting recognized as elite.

In some cases, these opportunities can be useful but majority of the time just as Drew Carey used to state, “everything is made up and the points don’t matter.”

 

It Starts at the Youth Level

Athletes at the youth level today are simply playing too much. It happens from a combination of parents’ desires for their kids to be on elite teams and teams desiring to grow profits or build into organizations with year-round tournament play.

Individuals, leagues, organizations and cities are profiting off the high volume of teams playing in these events, so more are hosted.

Special events are designed to sound like they are more elite such as “All-American games, invitationals, select tournaments or teams… etc.”

These are simply another opportunity to continue to generate revenue for the event hosts and allow the parent or player to feel as if they are continuing in the right direction for future success of the athlete.

Future success of the athlete at the youth level though is built around the development of skill and overall athleticism, not the number of trophies held on a mantle.

As the athlete matures and the lack of focus on skill development continues, many athletes find themselves injured or behind the curve in the recruiting process to reach the next level.

Natural maturity with proper focus of skill development can catapult an athlete’s career once both have been given time to work together. Often, these will be most noticeable within the early years of high school.

 

Showcase/Tournament Marketing

With a continually growing competitive recruiting circuit, college coaches are competing for younger and younger talent. Freshmen in high school for most college coaches are the youngest to receive notice.

Showcases are a place in which an athlete with adequate talent can “show off”. Tournament and showcase organizations claiming you can be seen at events are not lying. College coaches do attend events nation-wide to find unknown players.

However, what these events are not advertising is what it actually takes to receive the interest of a college coach.

For pitchers, it is clear that you must first pass the radar gun test. When a college coach sees a player who may be a “prospect”, the first thing they do is pull out a radar gun to determine if they fit the velocity they look for at the level of their college.

D1 schools look for 90+ mph, D2 schools look for 85+ mph and D3, NAIA will look for 80+ mph. Junior colleges will differ by region.

For example, Florida junior colleges will look for guys who can compete at the D1 level as most of the major D1 transfers will end up at Florida JUCO’s. This is different in northern JUCO’s though where 80 to 85mph may allow you to receive a scholarship.

 

The First Step in Recruiting

The first step in setting a plan to get recruited is determining your current skill level as a player and deciding if your talent level lines up with the caliber school you are looking to be recruited by.

If you are shooting for an SEC or ACC school at the D1 level then you are going to need to be very refined as a pitcher to catch the interest of one of those coaches.

Before wasting your money to attend events in which you hope those schools will be attending, it is best to decide if you are currently someone that coach may be interested in.

First impressions can be everything to many recruiters. Just like a job interview when you first present your skills you want to provide a “wow” factor.

If you are hoping to attend a high level D1 school and you showcase yourself for that coach throwing 75 mph you are likely going to be passed over or crossed off their list.

It is better to skip these events and spend this time developing your skills and developing yourself physically. Once you have developed the skills needed to provide the “wow” factor for a coach at the level you desire you can take these skills and then begin to showcase them effectively.

 

Showcases Are Not the Only Way to be Recruited

Showcases today look like a herd of livestock. Roaming around a field in the masses, numbered and asked to perform specific tasks in which they are rated for their performance.

Showcases can be an opportunity but in today’s world there are an abundance of opportunities in which a player can drive his name to the top of a coaches recruiting board.

From attending specific school camps (as mentioned previously) to sending schools video of your skills, there are ways aside from showcases in which a player can be recruited.

We recently had a player who added a coach on twitter, messaged him, got a call and received a scholarship offer. You do not have to pay thousands of dollars for an opportunity to receive a scholarship. You simply must understand the level at which your talent aligns and be consistent in your approach to show a school you fit their needs.

To get the most out of the recruiting process, here’s how the baseball community can offer guidance:

  1. Make your time as a youth purposeful in skill and physical development.
  2. Understand what coaches look for at each level and do not buy into the event marketing.
  3. Make your first step as a player to reach the needed skill level of your desired school.
  4. Avoid getting lost in the shuffle of showcases by being practical in your approach with recruitment.

3 Ways Baseball Pitchers Can Use a Radar Gun to Enhance Performance

One of the simplest, yet most effective training aids for any baseball pitcher is a radar gun.

At one point in time, I was actually against having youth baseball pitchers use a radar gun too often and focus on velocity, but I actually think that there are a few great benefits.  And with recent advances in technology of radar guns, people can easily get an affordable pocket-size radar run, like the Pocket Radar, to use at home.

One of the key differentiators I see between amateur and professional baseball pitchers is often just intent.

What I mean is, our pro ball pitchers tend to throw with much more intent than our younger pitchers.  Sure, this could be that pro ball pitchers are older, bigger, and stronger.  But intent isn’t just an output of mass and strength.  It’s also an output of intensity, which is something many youth need to learn.

Even in our sports performance programs at Champion, our early focus with people new to training is developing intent when training.

So while I don’t necessarily want our amateur baseball pitchers focusing solely on velocity, I still think there are a bunch of great uses of a radar gun during training.

Here are my top 3 ways baseball pitchers can use a radar gun to enhance performance.

 

Enhance Power Development

Have you ever used a radar gun to check your velocity?  No matter what your velocity was on the first throw, what did you every time on that second throw?

Try to throw harder, right?  Of course you did, we all do!

In the motor learning world, this is a form of extrinsic feedback referred to as “knowledge of results.”  This can be used to give immediate feedback to the player to enhance technique, but also motivation.  We see this all the time, especially in athletes who are competitive in nature

We know that using external feedback and knowledge of the results in the sports performance world helps increase power output.  For example, in one study using external feedback of results was shown to help improve vertical jump performance.  In a 2014 study the Journal of Human Movement Science, it was shown that using feedback of vertical jump height performance results in an immediate increase in vertical jump performance, as well an 18% improvement in jump height over a 4-week training period.

One way that we apply this knowledge with our baseball players is with medicine ball power drills.  In this video, you can see we are using a radar gun set up to monitor the ball velocity.  The athlete is encouraged to ramp up his intensity on subsequent throws until he reaches his maximum velocity.  We’ll record this and try to improve over the course of his program, just like we would by recorded weights during his lifts.

 

Monitor Throwing Intensity

Another great use of a radar gun for baseball training is to monitor throwing intensity.  This is important for a few situations:

  1. A player returning from an injury that wants to slowly develop load to healing tissue
  2. A player preparing for a season that wants to slowly build capacity of the arm to handle stress
  3. A player inseason that wants to manage his workload more specifically

Monitoring the number of throws performed or pitch counts during a game is important, and something that we have shown to correlate to predicting both injury and performance.  However, using the quantity of throws on its own is too simplistic.  Overuse is more of a combination of quantity and intensity.

Compare one player playing light catch for 30 throws versus another long tossing for 30 throws.  Which one do you think was more stressful on the body?

By using a radar gun, you can document and build gradual progressions more appropriately.  Distance becomes less of a factor, and intensity becomes more specific.

Here’s an example of how we use a radar gun to ramp up a throwing session.  In this video you can see a few throws that slowly ramp up to the max intensity that we want that day.  The athlete then does his best to remain right around that velocity to get his work in for the day.

 

Improve Pitching Velocity

Using a radar gun to help improve pitching velocity is probably the most obvious.  When it comes to actually training to enhance pitching velocity, it has been shown that if pitchers know the speed of their pitch during their training, the have a larger increase in velocity.

In a recent study in the Journal of Human Kinetics, it was shown that if players were able to see their throwing velocity, the players were able to enhance their velocity by 4x more than if they did not know their speed.  That’s pretty amazing to me, and based off the same mechanisms of motor learning discussed above.

Another past study compared the throwing velocity of youth when instructed to “throw the ball hard” vs the same instruction with radar gun results.  Again the study showed that simply instructing the athlete to throw the ball hard does not increase velocity as much as when they can visually see the results.

In another interesting study in tennis players, it was shown that training for 6-weeks with feedback of serve velocity had a significantly greater improvement in velocity than a group that did not know their results.  But what is most interesting, is that this same group stopped training with external feedback of their velocity and still showed that the velocity improvements were retained 6 weeks after the program.

What this could mean is that training with the knowledge of your velocity not only helps motivate you to throw harder, but perhaps also trains you to continue to do this even when external feedback is removed.

So while I don’t think amateurs players should always be focusing on enhancing their velocity, I do think there are a few good reasons why the should focus on knowing their velocity.  Just like anything else, is the focus is on what is more important, a radar gun can not only be helpful to enhance performance, but also to control and monitor workload.

 

What Radar Gun Should You Use?

There are a few options when looking at purchasing a radar gun.  As you can see from the above examples, I value the convenience of having one on me.  So I value one that is portable and easy to use.  I’ve personally been using the Pocket Radar and think it’s perfect.  We’ve compared it to the more expensive guns, and it’s always just as accurate, but so much easier to use.

The new Smart Coach model is awesome, it can connect to an app on your phone or tablet via bluetooth, or even an external display.  This is what we’ve been using at Champion and everyone has loved it.

 

 

3 Keys to Building Mental Toughness on the Baseball Field

The underdog is often times one of the most exciting parts of sporting events to this day. We all want to root for the guy or girl who is not the favorite because as human beings we are wired to love the upset. Each one of us has an inner dog within us that comes out in the most drastic of times. When our backs against the wall, how are you going to respond?

Ray McIntire has battled the uphill battle that all underdogs must face to get to where they want to be. As an 18-year-old kid, Ray was told that he was number 36 out of 35 baseball players at the University of Nevada, Reno. Shocked with his back against the wall, his future was over. All his hopes of becoming a college baseball player, winning a national championship, and suiting up as a member of the Wolfpack were shattered.

“Coach Powers called me into his office and told me ya know Ray, you battled your butt off all fall but I’m sorry to tell you that you’re the 36th guy on our list.” Ray was stunned when he was informed by Hall of Fame Coach Gary Powers that he did not make the team. Most guys would have quit. They would have thrown in the towel, waved the white flag, and surrendered to adversity as the common athlete would. But Ray is different. He looked at this as an opportunity to work on his craft. Ray worked his tail off to come back the next year and make the team.

“That coaching staff gave me a shot and I’ll forever be grateful for that.”

One year after being told he wasn’t good enough to play division 1 baseball Ray McIntire was informed that he indeed had made the team and will be competing for a starting spot. The underdog rose to the occasion and stared adversity in its face, conquering the moment.

This displays incredible perseverance. The ability to come back after being told you are not good enough defines mental toughness. Ray’s work ethic is incredible as I was able to witness this for 4 years; 2 as a player and 2 as a coach. To say he is a “gym rat” is an understatement. This guy lived and died at the field and put every ounce of energy into achieving his dreams, hopes of playing collegiate baseball.

Mental toughness is something we preach at Major League University because we believe it’s what separates the average from the good and the good from the great. So let’s dive into a little bit about what we mean by “mental toughness.”

 

Control The Controllables

Controlling the controllables is a frequently used term in the athletic world. Coaches and peak performance experts often say to their athletes “control the controllables!”

But what does this actually mean?

Controlling what you can control, such as your emotions, body language, work ethic, and response to success and failure.

Are you the guy who sits in the corner of the dugout after you make an error or are you the guy always on the dugout rail supporting your teammates? These are easy actions to control.

Each day we have a new opportunity to contribute to our team. Don’t be mistaken; helping the team doesn’t always come from a grand slam home run. We can help our team win games by being a good teammate, making a play in the field, or driving in a big run late in the game.

 

Attitude

Our attitude ultimately determines how we perform on and off the field, not vice versa. But often athletes allow their attitude to impact their performance on the field. We always have control over our attitude.

We dictate our attitude, not the other way around.

Carrying a positive attitude not only looks good in the coach’s eyes but in the eyes of your teammates. Understand that only you are in control of your attitude when you show up to the field. Leave yesterday in the past, and do not worry about the future. Stay in the present moment, be where your feet are, and make the most out of the day in front of you!

 

Be a Good Teammate

“Building a culture isn’t an overnight thing,” Ray McIntire said in our previous podcast.

What does he mean by this?

Culture is an interesting subject because it ties into being a good teammate. As a team, we want to focus our attention on the common goal: winning a championship. In order to win a championship, we must do the little things on a day-to-day basis that are going to help get us to that point.

Just like culture is not an overnight deal, neither is winning a championship.

Championship teams begin the process of competing from the very beginning of fall ball. We have the opportunity every single day to push the guys next to us to become better than they were the previous day. This is something to take pride in because being a good teammate is not a hard thing to do if we put our focus on the team aspect. The more you help the guys around you, the better the culture will be, resulting in more success for everyone!

All good teams have great people in the organization. Look at the New England Patriots. They have a solid foundation and a game plan that sticks to their strengths. As ballplayers, we should understand what makes us GREAT and how we can help the team win a ball game.

Mental toughness is not an overnight deal, just like culture is not an overnight success. But if we focus on what we can do on a daily basis to make the team better, we will ultimately be rewarded with more success personally and collectively!

Check out the full podcast episode below with University of San Diego’s assistant coach Ray McIntire. Be sure to subscribe, like, and share with your friends so we can bring you more amazing wisdom from the best in the game!

 

Byler Bombs – The Dog Within

www.soundcloud.com/bylerbombs/the-dog-within

Two Pitch-Calling Mistakes that Cause High Pitch Counts

Many young pitchers struggle to get deep into games, instead racking up high pitch counts on long at-bats caused by ineffective pitch-calling strategy. In this article, we’ll discuss common pitch-calling mistakes that cause pitch-counts to inflate too quickly.

 

Mistake #1: Pursuing Strikeouts on Every Two-Strike Count

The 0-2 count is the right time to pursue a strikeout, as a pitcher is way ahead and eliminates all unlucky outcomes when he strikes a hitter out. On all other counts, however, pitchers should pitch to contact knowing that when they do, strikeouts will still happen–but they’ll end at-bats more quickly and keep pitch-counts low.

Amateur pitchers tend to pitch to unhittable locations when they get into any two-strike count. What often happens is 0-2 becomes 1-2, 1-2 becomes 2-2, and 2-2 becomes 3-2 as a pitcher misses repeatedly. Attempting to throw the perfect strikeout pitch ends up creating long at-bats that become more favorable to hitters over time.

The reality is that hitters aren’t that good, and pitchers fall into the mindset of not wanting to throw a pitch in the strike zone when in a two-strike count. Hitters swing and miss on pitches on the white of the plate all the time, especially at the amateur level.

Watch the video below for an explanation of how curveball locations change in different counts.

 

Do This Instead: Pitch to Thirds of the Plate on 1-2 and 2-2

A simple solution is sticking with thirds of the plate on 1-2 for all hitters, and 2-2 if the hitter is good enough to warrant it. A pitch located on the outer or inner third is not easy to hit yet still gives a pitcher enough margin for error to throw more strikes and force hitters to swing and put the ball in play.

 

Mistake #2: Failing to Utilize Halves of the Plate

Most youth pitchers only pitch to two main lateral locations:

– The middle of the plate

– The corners of the plate

 

Pro and even Major League pitchers slice the plate up into four lateral locations:

– Middle

– Halves

– Thirds

– Corners

 

The easiest way to use each slice of the plate is by assigning it to common sets of counts:

Middle: first pitch or behind

Halves: even counts like 1-1, 2-2, 3-2

Thirds: 0-1 and 1-2

– Corners: 0-2

 

Jumping straight from the middle to the corners of the plate leaves the pitchers who are least in command of the baseball (amateurs) with the smallest margin for error. Pitching to the corners of the plate will yield many more well-located pitches that fall just off the plate for balls. Youth pitchers especially need to take aim at more of the white of the plate than the black, giving themselves a better chance of missing their spots yet still getting effective strike calls.

 

Do This Instead: Utilize the Halves of the Plate Early and Often

Watch the video below for a deeper explanation of how high-level pitchers use the halves of the plate effectively to set themselves up for success later on in the at-bat.

 

Keep Pitch Counts Low and Earn More Innings

Starters need low pitch counts to get deep into games, and relievers need quick, thrifty innings to bounce back quickly for the next outing. No matter a pitcher’s role, utilizing smart pitch-calling strategies will help him get contribute stronger, longer, more effective outings for his team.

 

Read Coach Dan’s New Book

If you enjoyed this article, check out a sample chapter of Dan’s upcoming book, Dear Baseball Gods: A Memoir.

Dear Baseball Gods is the true story of how Dan Blewett grew up from a walk-on at a small school to a successful pro pitcher. Two Tommy John surgeries couldn’t keep him from growing into a Two-Time All-Star pitcher. Available in paperback, ebook, and audiobook on April 9th.

EBook readers can save on the cover price now, with a limited-time pre-order price.

Four Exercises to Increase Power for Baseball Players

Power is the rate of doing work or the ability to be explosive. When it comes to being successful in sports, performance is closely linked with power.

In baseball, power can impact your throwing, hitting, base stealing, and fielding.

When you combine a strength base and move effectively, you are more likely to fully tap into your power potential. Just like increasing strength, there are many ways to increase power…

 

Here Are 4 of My Favorite Exercises to Increase Power for Baseball Players

 

Kettlebell Swings

Kettlebell swings are a great exercise that takes the power of the jump and uses that to propel a weight.

The swing is a total body movement that builds strength, while also requiring power, speed, and endurance.

 

Band Resisted Broad Jumps

Adding bands to some of your jumps, like broad jumps, are a great way to increase your force production.

The broad jump is a great measure of pure power output and is often tested inside gyms, combines, and athlete intake.

 

Trap Bar Jumps

Trap bar jumps are generally performed with low weight so that peak power can be achieved.

With too much load, the velocity will drop, which defeats the purpose of the lift. With the trap bar, the weight is now closer to your center of mass, with the arms down by the sides in a neutral position. Similar to a squat jumps, kettlebell swing, or broad jumps.

 

Weighted Seated Vertical Jumps

Similar to trap bar jumps, you want to choose a weight that will not make you too slow.

When you start seated on a box, you are eliminating the eccentric (lowering) aspect of the jump. You will not have the rubber band effect to help you.

You must provide all the power on the way up.

 

If you are adding these types of exercises into your training program, make sure your takeoffs and landings are optimal.

I typically program these types of exercises after a full warmup, but before your main lifts.

Stay in the 2-4 set range of 3-5 reps.

Focus on one rep at a time, similar to one pitch at a time, one swing at a time mindset. Make that specific rep the best you can.

4 Steps to Building a Winning Mindset for Baseball Players

We have all heard that we need to build from the ground up.  If we try to build a pyramid from the top first, it would not be sustainable.  The pyramid will collapse and you will have to restart from scratch.  This concept holds true for building a winning mindset.  As a player, we can have all the tools we need physically, but if we do not have the right mindset, it will be very tough to reach our ultimate goal.

There are many components that go into a winning mindset, but there are four that stick out the most.  Having played baseball for 20+ years, from tee ball to affiliated ball, it is interesting to see who makes it and who does not.  There are many players that seem destined to become a big leaguer from the time they were 12 years old, and there are many players that looked like they had no chance of playing past high school.

If the game were based on skill alone, it would be fairly easy to see who would make it to the “Big League” and who would not.  As we all know, that is not the case.  A ballplayer’s mindset becomes the separator between the best and the average.

Luckily, our mind is like a muscle.  We can work on it just as we would any other muscle group.  Developing a winning mindset takes the same amount of time and effort that you would put into working on perfecting your swing or your pitching.  Here are a few tips to build your winning mindset:

 

Always Looking to Learn and Grow

You are never too old to learn.  It does not matter if you are in Little League or in the Big League, every great player understands that they must grow.  There is an abundance of resources out there now, which makes learning much easier.  Those who take advantage of that are the ones who will move onto the next level of the game.  They make it because once they learn something new, they implement it into their game and become a better player.  Every ballplayer must understand that if they are not trying to grow, other players will catch up and surpass them, potentially stealing their starting role or their spot on the team.

 

Having Drive

Having drive means that you are willing to do what it takes to reach your dreams.  If you want to be a big leaguer, you will do everything in your power to accomplish them.  One thing that separates the best from the average is the drive and the player’s willingness to do what is necessary regardless of how they feel.  The best players build discipline into their daily lives so that if they do not feel like getting in the cage or the weight room, they do it anyway.  Their drive keeps them going and does not allow them to relax.

 

Develop Confidence

Confidence is one of the biggest key components that every successful athlete has.  Without confidence, especially in baseball, chances of success are very slim.  Confidence is believing in yourself and your abilities and trusting that it is more than enough to get the job done.  You know you are confident when you are completely relaxed in any given situation including a “high pressure” situation.

Knowing that your abilities are more than good enough to compete relieves the anxiety and self-doubts.  We all face self-doubts and have negative thoughts, but we are in control of those thoughts.  We can counter them by saying something positive to replace the negative thought.  This, along with finding other ways to create belief in yourself, breeds confidence.

 

Self-Awareness

Self-awareness is knowing the details of what is going on in yourself and your environment.  The more details you can pick up, the more self-aware you are.  The reason self-awareness is so important is that you can now make the necessary adjustments to get better in any aspect.

Mentally, being aware of your thoughts can be extremely powerful.  We have control over our thoughts.  Everyone experiences negative thoughts, but if we are not aware of them, there is no way to fix them.  Also, if we are aware of our positive thoughts, we can now intentionally have them more often.

Physically, being aware of the small details along with the larger ones will help tremendously.  Breaking a situation down into smaller details helps us to gain the edge on our opponent.  Baseball is a game of inches.

Let’s use base running as an example. If you round first base by stepping on the middle of the base versus the inside corner of the base, that could be the difference between being out or safe.  If you are an important run, now that hurts your team instead of helping them.

All components together make up a winning mindset.  Every single player has the ability to develop this and it will help them to succeed in their baseball career and in life.

In-Season Training Metrics for the Baseball Player

The high school season is closing in! This was truly a remarkable off-season for me personally. We’ve had multiple athletes put on 15-20 pounds while simultaneously moving better and getting a lot stronger, and we’ve had athletes lose a few pounds while accomplishing the same things.

We said “see ya later” to our professional pitchers Joe Palumbo (Texas Rangers), Anthony Kay (New York Mets), Ben Brown (Philadelphia Phillies), Mike O’Reilly (St. Louis Cardinals), Kyle McGowin (Washington Nationals), and Bruce Kern (Lamingo Monkeys, Taiwan) and we are super excited to see the stellar season they are all going to have!

We also said “hello” to multiple high school athletes who are getting their names on the radar, and have some young men who might hear their name called in June for the 2019 MLB Amateur Draft.

With that being said, none of this will matter if training is put to a halt once March hits.

Fortunately, the official high school season start date was pushed back 2 weeks to accommodate for the brutal northeast weather. This means 2 more weeks of pre-season development!

The entire focus of in-season training is completely different from off-season and pre-season training, and I would like to highlight those differences in this post.

 

Injury Prevention

The baseball player’s workload volume increases a TON once practice starts. Throwing and swinging 5/6 times a week coupled with cold weather really do not mix well from an injury prevention standpoint.

Overuse injuries are real, and they could be hiding beneath the surface. One aspect of in-season training is maintenance of joint health. Here’s what gets abused repeatedly in the game of baseball:

  • The left ankle gets over worked when performing multiple base running drills, leaving the other muscles on the same side to become overworked, and leaving the other side of the body exposed
  • The pelvis tends to get dumped into an anterior tilt during the swing as well as an overactive quadratus lumborum from lateral tilt, which can lead to low back pain and stiffness during rotation
  • Hamstrings get tired and over worked from changing surfaces of sprinting: turf in the off-season to hard dirt with cleats during practice
  • The posterior shoulder takes a beating from both throwing and swinging a bat
  • The medial elbow also takes a beating from both throwing and swinging a bat
  • The thoracic spine (the mid back) gets out of whack and shows muscle imbalances from swinging, which can also lead to altered muscle firing patterns
  • The cervical spine (the neck) gets over worked from looking over one shoulder for multiple at bats

 

To prevent any injury from occurring, we must do 4 things religiously well:

  1. Mobilize/desensitize the overactive joints, which will be very common among most of the population
  2. Activate the problem areas associated with baseball movement patterns
  3. Learn how to reset the body and find peace of mind with relaxation techniques/breathing drills
  4. continue to get stronger, develop, and preserve your power stores

 

There is some great research from the American Sports Medicine Institute discussing movement of the shoulder and elbow and the risk of injury. See here and here.

  • Pitchers should have within 5 degrees of total rotational motionof both shoulders. If your throwing shoulder is significantly less than your other shoulder, you are 2.6 times more likely to sustain an injury.
  • Pitchers should have at least 5 degrees more external rotation in their throwing shoulder when compared to their nonthrowing shoulder. Pitchers with less than a 5 degree difference are 2 times more likely to sustain an injury.
  • Pitchers with a deficit of 5 degrees in shoulder flexion are 2.8 times more likely to sustain an elbow injury.

 

Performance Enhancement

“If you don’t use it, you lose it”. 

This is the biggest concept to understand when training in-season. You spent all winter developing your strength and power to get ready for the long season.

For every week taken off from training, will be lost, dependent on training age. For the entire high school season being at least 12 weeks, that is at least 36% of your strength gains out the window.

You could train ONCE a week during the season and further maintain and improve your strength numbers to keep your strength around. Easy fix.

However, speed on the other hand tends to be lost a lot quicker. You will be displaying your speed multiple times throughout the week from base running and getting to balls over your head, but if you’re not training your speed at some point then you are limiting yourself as a baseball player.

On the other hand, let’s just think about the aggressive action of the upper body during the throwing motion. Repeated eccentric stress will result in a loss of strength and mobility in some joints. To prevent this loss from being chronic, you need to strengthen these areas and try to get as close to your “baseline” as possible.

I’m a big believer in auto-regulation ever since I got my hands on the research in college. I saw first-hand a group of trainees get stronger and put on even MORE muscle by following an auto-regulated training model as compared to a fixed periodization scheme.

To put it in the simplest terms, auto-regulation can be thought as listening to your body. You are the only one who knows your body better than anyone else. Rather than chasing the numbers on the bar, or the percentages of your 1-RM, try chasing your rate of perceived exertion (RPE) during the season.

Not only will you further enhance your strength and power, but you will also reduce the likelihood of being fatigued from your lift. Get in and get out!

 

Recovery Management

At Infiniti Sports Performance, we like to use restorative techniques and modalities in our popular recovery room during the season, taking “arm care” to a whole other level. These techniques include, but are not limited to:

  • Myofascial massaging
  • Foam rolling and lacrosse ball trigger point release
  • Cupping
  • Voodoo wrapping
  • Vibration massage
  • Marc Pro systems
  • Mobility training

 

There are a ton of modalities that we can use to promote recovery for the baseball player, and we usually recommend a recovery session within 48 hours of your last pitch.

While the body should be doing most of the work itself when it comes to recovery, we assist in the process with the techniques and tools listed above.

However, since there are many ways to instill “recovery” work with the baseball player, we do not want them to get married to these concepts. Here is why.

Our body craves adaptation, and it also can get habituated to the same stimulus. Just like how we periodize and vary our strength programs, the same concept goes for recovery work.

 

Conclusion

Every baseball player needs to take advantage of in-season training. To sum it up, here is why:

  1. Overuse injuries are real, and they could be hiding beneath the surface. One aspect of in-season training is maintenance of joint health
  2. Learn how to reset your body in conjunction with getting stronger and more resilient
  3. Loss of range of motion in the throwing shoulder can lead to an increased injury risk of up to 2.8 times greater than pitchers without motion loss.
  4. For every week taken off from training, usually 3-5% of your strength gains will be lost, dependent on training age.
  5. Following an auto-regulated training model allows the player to still develop while minimizing fatigue