The game of softball is a highly technical 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.
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 her 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 her legs and core stronger. We’ll put her in positions to challenge balance. And, we’ll boost her confidence, keep her FOCUS(ed), and help her smile.
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.
The bigger picture paints girls being truly interested in something constructive, that’s safe, challenging, developmental in nature, and ultimately FUN. Big smiles, high fives, and anticipation for what’s next.
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. My daughter plays 2nd base and her coach says she needs to get faster, quicker. She’s a great player and really wants this so we’re trying to provide every opportunity we can. What exercises should she do?”
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 her on-field play. She’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. My daughter plays 2nd base and her coach says she needs to get faster, quicker. She’s a great player and really wants this so we’re trying to provide every opportunity we can. Here’s the name on contact number of her coach. He knows you’ll be calling and is open to speaking with you.. plus he’s very excited to see how this works.”
I call or visit the coach and go to work. Ask tons of questions and listen. Take notes. Through our detailed athlete profiling process the coach is able to tell exactly what we’re dealing with.
“She is a great player with a ton of heart. If she wants to move on, she needs to get better range at 2nd base. We’re trying to get her reps but something is holding her back, especially on her non-glove side. She can attack downhill but if we get a hard grounder in the gap on her right side we’re all holding our breath. It seems like she can’t get into an athletic position or something.. she’s so stiff.
I’ve told her over and over she needs to stretch more but it doesn’t seem to be helping. We do a ton of agility drills and she does pretty good, but I think she needs something else. What do you thing is keeping her slow?”
Now, combine all the information from the coach with our methods for assessing performance, plus identifying and ranking her 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. Her 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.