The game of baseball is a highly technical and unique sport that places stressful demands on the body. The hard, repetitive, overhand throwing motion alone is one of the most shearing forces in all of sports (with the shoulder rotating upwards of 7,000 degrees per second in elite players). Combine this with extreme rotation of the upper and lower body in opposite directions and you have the potential for some negative physical outcomes.
Baseball challenges the world of sports performance. Because of the high skill and technical demand, no all performance training transfers over to the game. It’s hard to get it right.
What we’re going to do is put the nuts and bolts of science and practical application into action. It’s our jobs to connect what we know increases performance and make it happen for your athletes.
We’ll get him into an athletic position. We’ll explain how to ‘push the turf away’ when running. We’ll show proper arm drive for the quickest acceleration. We’ll coach exercises to make his body powerful and explosive. We’ll teach ‘ribcage down’ for optimal core tension and strength. We’ll put him in positions to challenge balance. And, we’ll boost his confidence, keep him interested, keep him FOCUS(ed).
THIS IS WHAT YOU WANT, RIGHT?
Coaches, parents, and athletes want their players to be faster, more athletic, explosive, stronger, confident. They want to see a player with great running form on their way to first base. Pitchers throwing strikes and hitters getting on base. Infielders getting to the ball, staying with it, and making the out. Outfielders who can run down the line drive, get their glove down, and accurately get the ball back in play. Every athlete staying healthy not just to play, but to play a role in the team’s success.
What it all boils down to is providing athletes the opportunity to be their best, be successful, and have a ton of fun along the way.
There’s a lot to offering a comprehensive Player Development Program. Work you way down the page. Think, question, and learn.
WHY A PLAYER DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM?
There is no shortage of ‘speed & agility classes’ or sport specific branded programs for ‘jumping higher’ or ‘rotational power’. Five years ago I had to explain what performance training entails with the goal of justifying the need to coaches and players.
Today it’s different. Parents, sport & skill coaches know off-field training works. The hard part now is sifting through the hype of businesses promoting similar services.
If training for sport is a 100 chapter book, where chapter 1 is the first day you step on the field, and chapter 100 is a full collegiate scholarship, chapter 60 is sets, reps, exercises, etc. Chapter 60 is where most sports organizations want to start performance training and believe that’s where it fits.
We don’t. We start at chapter 1 because it’s the beginning chapters that make the difference.
A Player Development Program is much more than throwing down an agility ladder and running through cones. It’s more than just getting bigger and stronger. It’s goes beyond your coach telling you to work hard, hit the weights, and run faster. A developmental program assess your current skill level on a technical and tactical level, uncovers physical strengths and areas of improvements, and paints the complete picture. The difference is the ability to question why or why not, find an answer, and establish a workable plan.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?
Here’s the difference in real world terms..
What commonly happens:
Parent calls FOCUS.
“We’re looking for some speed and agility training for my son. He plays center field and is a middle order hitter. His travel coach says he needs to get faster, quicker, more powerful. He’s a great player and really wants this so we’re trying to provide every opportunity we can. What exercises should he be doing? Are the things he’s doing on his own right? Safe?”
It’s left to me to assess the player in our facility, using our methods, to find the athlete’s current strengths and areas of improvement. This is a great start and prime scenario for this athlete to sign up for our base Strength, Speed, and Conditioning Program (which is awesome in it’s own right).
But, I don’t know exactly where our main focus should be placed to enhance his on-field play. He’ll undoubtably get better, but are we maximizing the opportunity?
How our Player Development Program differs:
Parent calls FOCUS.
“We’re looking for some speed and agility training for my son. He plays center field and is a middle order hitter. His travel coach says he needs to get faster, quicker, more powerful. He’s a great player and really wants this so we’re trying to provide every opportunity we can. Here’s the name and contact number of his coach and guy he takes hitting lessons from. They know you’ll be calling and are open to speaking with you.. plus they’re curious to see how this works.”
I call or visit the coaches and go to work. Ask tons of questions and listen. Take notes. Through our detailed athlete profiling process the coaches are able to explain exactly what we’re dealing with.
“He’s a great player with a ton of heart. I’ve known this kid for about three years. If he wants to move on, he needs to get better range in the outfield. We’re trying to get him reps but something is holding him back, especially when he has to move left or right quickly. He can barrel the ball awesome, but the power.. the consistent pop isn’t there. His hitting lessons always start off strong but fade quickly. I know he says he does some lifting on his own but not sure it’s helping like it should.
I’ve told him over and over lifting weights is great but this is baseball and not football. He needs something for baseball. We do a ton of agility drills and he does pretty good, but I think he needs something else. What do you thing is keeping him slow? Why does he seem out of shape?”
Now, combine all the information from the coach with our methods for assessing performance, plus identifying and ranking his talent.
Which approach do you think is gonna have more impact?
Vague generalized statements never get to the heart of the underlying need, especially when coming from independent sources. The athlete needs to get faster, but what about stronger? How do you know? How is it being assessed and measured? What would happen if the athlete gets stronger? Then what? What can we expect with the added speed? How do we go about not only getting stronger, but stronger in ways that directly transfers to the area of weakness?
Training programs need to be specific to the athlete. Stage of maturity, experience, age, mental ability, and the all important drive to get better has to be factored.
A THREE PART PROCESS. THE PROOF.
None of this works without proof. Proof beyond words and opinions. Our Player Development Program is a three part process comprised of Talent Identification, Talent Management, and Player Placement. The underlying key for success is Total Program Integration.