Home 2020 July

New Cardinal Red CSP Elite Baseball Development Shirts

We're excited to announce a new color - cardinal red - with our popular Cressey Sports Performance Elite Baseball Development t-shirts (powered by New Balance Baseball). Here's the design:

These shirts are insanely comfortable and run true to size.

Each shirt is $24.99 + S&H. Click the links below to add shirts to your cart:

Small

Medium

Large

Extra Large

XXL

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CSP Elite Baseball Development Podcast: Tom Koehler

We're excited to welcome recently retired MLB pitcher Tom Koehler to this week's podcast. Tom shares some great stories from his playing career, reflecting on how he developed - and how up-and-coming players and their parents and coaches can learn from his path.

A special thanks to this show's sponsor, Athletic Greens. Head to http://www.athleticgreens.com/cressey and you'll receive a free 20-pack of Athletic Greens travel packets with your first order.

Show Outline

  • How growing up playing football and being raised in a blue collar family gave Tom an edge early in the game of baseball
  • How Tom became an 18th round draft pick out of Stony Brook
  • How Tom worked to make such a strong initial impression in pro ball and what adjustments he had to make to ascend through the ranks of minor league baseball
  • Why the biggest initial adjustment for Tom in professional baseball was throwing on a 5-day rotation and how finding a routine transformed the direction of his career
  • How entering affiliated baseball and throwing to wood bats impacted Tom’s outcomes
  • Why Tom reworked his off speed as he developed through pro ball and how he transformed two blending breaking balls into a hard slider and sharp curveball
  • How Tom eventually learned to throw a true slider
  • What grip and mental cues Tom used to continue to remain consistently nasty with these two different breaking pitches
  • How each of Tom’s pitches fit into his game plan on the mound and what specific counts and scenarios he looks to use each pitch
  • What level Tom found to be the toughest promotion in the minors and how the game changes as players progress to show ball
  • How Tom consistently made his starts every 5 days for nearly 8 years (2008-2017) and how finding a routine and having a bulldog mentality gave him 30+ starts in 3 of those 8 years (2014-2016)
  • Why Tom’s greatest attribute was his consistency and durability
  • Why the IL was more detrimental to Tom than other professional players and how Tom fought to never miss a start even on days he wasn’t 100%
  • How a shoulder capsule issue developed into a career ending injury and how Tom believes currently technology could have impact the derailing of his career
  • What TK’s Pitching Policy is and how your sweet spot on the mound is the balance between what your nastiest stuff is and what you can execute consistently
  • What value Tom finds in the new analytical side of baseball and how these numbers should be used to support your strengths as opposed to causing confusion in your ability
  • What Tom loves and hates about the direction the game of baseball is heading
  • How coaches can also learn to be more adaptable in their tactics and interventions and learn to recognize each player’s unique needs
  • You can follow Tom on Twitter at @TKRefresh22 and Instagram at @TKRefresh22.

Sponsor Reminder

This episode is brought to you by Athletic Greens. It’s an all-in-one superfood supplement with 75 whole-food sourced ingredients designed to support your body’s nutrition needs across 5 critical areas of health: 1) energy, 2) immunity, 3) gut health, 4) hormonal support, and 5) healthy aging. Head to www.AthleticGreens.com/cressey and claim my special offer today - 20 FREE travel packs (valued at $79) - with your first purchase. I use this product daily myself and highly recommend it to our athletes as well. I'd encourage you to give it a shot, too - especially with this great offer.

Podcast Feedback

If you like what you hear, we'd be thrilled if you'd consider subscribing to the podcast and leaving us an iTunes review. You can do so HERE.

And, we welcome your suggestions for future guests and questions. Just email elitebaseballpodcast@gmail.com.

Thank you for your continued support!

Sign-up Today for our FREE Baseball Newsletter and Receive Instant Access to a 47-minute Presentation from Eric Cressey on Individualizing the Management of Overhead Athletes!

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Understanding and Managing Ulnar Nerve Hypermobility

After an Instagram post of mine last week generated quite a few inquiries on how to manage ulnar nerve hypermobility, I thought I'd record a follow-up video to dig in a bit deeper on the topic.

If you're looking to learn a bit more about the structure and function of the elbow (particularly throwing elbows), my presentation, Everything Elbow, would also be worth checking out.

Sign-up Today for our FREE Baseball Newsletter and Receive Instant Access to a 47-minute Presentation from Eric Cressey on Individualizing the Management of Overhead Athletes!

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Exercise of the Week: Bottoms-up Kettlebell Arm Bar

Today's guest post comes from Cressey Sports Performance - Florida coach Derek Kambour.

The Kettlebell Arm Bar is an exercise you will commonly see performed in facilities across the country. Admittedly, it was an activity that we stayed away from for a period, mostly because of the population that we work with and the vulnerable position it could put them in. Many of the high-level pitchers that come to us have experienced anterior shoulder pain. Obviously, these symptoms could be present for a number of reasons, including a loose anterior capsule, labral tear, cranky biceps tendon, nerve-related issues, rotator cuff issues, or a most of other challenges. Regardless of what is causing the symptoms, one of our jobs as performance specialists is to make sure that we are making appropriate exercise selections and not provoking any of these symptoms. What we have found over time with the Kettlebell Arm Bar is that – when executed in a specific manner, at the right time, with appropriate loads – it gives us a lot of return on investment and has not provoked any of these symptoms with any of our athletes.

Many coaches utilize this exercise with their athletes for reflexive shoulder stability (irradiation) and rotary core stability benefits, which can be useful reasons to include them in a program. However, we can also use this activity to accomplish other important training outcomes if it is performed the way that is shown in the video below:

As physical therapist Bill Hartman has done a great job of demonstrating (and be sure to check his stuff out), when we can use internal forces (air pressure, fluid volumes, etc.,) to our advantage in order to help reshape the ribcage and improve scapulothoracic mechanics, that is where we can potentially restore shoulder range of motion without working directly on the joint. Certainly, there are manual interventions that may be necessary, but if we can assist in re-establishing normal joint mechanics with movement alone, I think that is extremely valuable. While many of our throwing athletes possess plenty of external rotation on their throwing shoulder (though we do sometimes see those who have limitations here as well), most will possess very limited internal rotation, especially after a long season. With this movement paired with specific breathing sequences, you can potentially improve shoulder motion in both directions. Traditionally, this movement was thought of as purely a “stability” exercise, but it just goes to show that how you implement or coach the exercise matters.

You may be wondering how heavy this exercise needs to be loaded. My simple answer to this is that if you struggle to breathe during the exercise, there is a good chance it’s too heavy. In that case, keep the goal the goal, and go down in weight. The kettlebell can be held in the normal position (bell is sitting on the outside of your wrists) or, as seen in the video, you can utilize the bottoms-up position to challenge the movement further. We typically like to use the KB Arm Bar in either the warm-up, or paired with medicine ball work for 2-3 sets of 4-6 reps/side.

About the Author

​Derek Kambour serves as a Strength and Conditioning Coach. Prior to joining the staff, Derek completed an internship at CSP-FL in the fall of 2018. Prior to joining the CSP-FL team, Derek coached a variety of athletes and clientele at performance facilities in New Jersey. He graduated from Montclair St. University with a degree in Exercise Science and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) through the NSCA. Derek is also a competitive powerlifter. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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CSP Elite Baseball Development Podcast: Tackling Controversial Throwing Topics with Mike Reinold

We're excited to welcome physical therapist Mike Reinold to this week's podcast. Mike has extensive experience working with baseball players. In this episode, we take on two controversial topics in the world of managing throwers: the sleeper stretch and weighted baseballs. Mike and I collaborate to discuss whether they belong in your training and rehabilitation programs, and if so, how?

In lieu of a sponsor for this podcast, we're instead going to highlight our Functional Stability Training sale that's ongoing. Through this Sunday at midnight, you can get 25% off on this popular series with coupon code MLB2020EC at www.FunctionalStability.com.

Show Outline

  • Why baseball players lose internal rotation in their throwing shoulder
  • Why professionals should care more about total range of motion at the shoulder as opposed to just ER vs. IR
  • How Mike teaches professionals to assess shoulder range of motion and what common mistakes are being made when testing for this information
  • How clinical research has progressed our understanding of the loss of IR in throwing shoulders and how previous notions (such as a thickening of the posterior capsule) could not be further from the truth
  • Why giving baseball players more internal rotation may not be the answer for building healthy arms and why this strategy may cause more harm than good in throwing populations
  • What Mike’s thoughts on the sleeper stretch are and how his perspective on the drill have evolved since the beginning of his career
  • What is happening mechanically at the shoulder joint during the sleeper stretch
  • What the true occurrence of internal rotation deficit cases in Mike’s practice is and how he goes about resolving the issue
  • Why there is so much hype about weighted balls and how can we implement them safely in athletes’ throwing programs
  • What Mike’s research demonstrated with respect to weighted balls and what insights can we gain from Mike’s breakdown of the study and its execution
  • What specific physical adaptations throwing weighted balls creates and how the weight of the balls thrown impacts these outcomes
  • What immediate physical changes throwing weighted balls creates and how these changes may increase the risk for injury
  • Why athletes need to be well-trained and prepared to withstand the stress of throwing weighted balls before looking to push the limits of their physiology
  • How injuries in baseball have evolved from repetitive to traumatic and why the next generation of baseball is in danger
  • Why the answer for the abuse of arms across baseball calls for the education of coaches and how we can continue to find the right balance in throwing volume, frequency, and intensity for our athletes

You can follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeReinold and on Instagram at @MikeReinold, and learn more about Functional Stability Training at www.FunctionalStability.com. Again, the coupon code for 25% off is MLB2020EC.

Podcast Feedback

If you like what you hear, we'd be thrilled if you'd consider subscribing to the podcast and leaving us an iTunes review. You can do so HERE.

And, we welcome your suggestions for future guests and questions. Just email elitebaseballpodcast@gmail.com.

Thank you for your continued support!

Sign-up Today for our FREE Baseball Newsletter and Receive Instant Access to a 47-minute Presentation from Eric Cressey on Individualizing the Management of Overhead Athletes!

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 7/21/20

Here's some recommended reading from around the 'Net:

What Really Constitutes Functional Balance Training? -This is an old blog of mine that I'm "re-upping" here because of a conversation about specificity of balance training that I had with an athlete the other day.

How to Have Impossible Conversations - I just finished this as an audiobook, and it was outstanding - especially in light of recent events in the world. There are definitely lessons for every strength and conditioning/fitness and sports medicine professional.

Sport specialization is associated with upper-extremity overuse injury in high school baseball players - Here's (yet another) study demonstrating a drastic increase in injury rates in those who specialize in one sport. In this particular study, highly specialized high school baseball players from California, Alabama, and Michigan were 3.77 times more likely to have had an upper extremity injury in the previous year than their non-specialized counterparts.

Top Tweet of the Week

Top Instagram Post of the Week

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CSP Elite Baseball Development Podcast: From Negative to Neutral with Trevor Moawad

We're excited to welcome mental skills coach Trevor Moawad to this week's podcast. Trevor talks about the shortcomings of unconditionally positive thinking, advocates for neutrality, and recommends strategies that athletes, coaches, and parents can use to optimize performance and quality of life in all sports. Trevor's book, It Takes What It Takes, is absolutely outstanding and I highly recommend it.

A special thanks to this show's sponsor, Athletic Greens. Head to http://www.athleticgreens.com/cressey and you'll receive a free 20-pack of Athletic Greens travel packets with your first order.

Show Outline

  • How the field of sports psychology as a whole has struggled to solidify its significance in the world of performance and why consumers are reluctant to invest resources in their mental training
  • Why the bar is set seemingly low for mental skills professionals and how the industry as a whole needs to evolve to provide a tangible goal for consumers to work towards
  • Why the standard positivity-only, relax-and-breath mental training model is insufficient preparation
  • How being raised in an intelligent, positivity-focused family influenced and equipped Trevor for the rest of his life
  • How the lessons he learned for developing and possessing an elite mentality growing up were without context until he became very sick during college, and how this adversity propelled him to the next level mentally
  • How Trevor’s experience as an athlete, coach, and teacher have provided him with the experience and empathy necessary to connect and collaborate with elite performers
  • What research says about the true impact of negativity on one’s psychology
  • Why the externalization of our thoughts is so powerful – especially when negative – and how the tone and context of our language play an influential role on our mental state
  • What the true impact of consuming negativity in your life is, and what profound research has shown the impact of watching just three minutes of news daily to be
  • How quality mental training addresses the root of one’s mentality, controlling your thoughts, and how the industry of sports psychology has fallen short of creating real changes in individuals by prescribing meditation, breathing, affirmations, etc.
  • Where athletes should start when looking to develop and master their mentality
  • Why the elimination of negativity is the first step for any individual looking to improve their mentality
  • Why developing a neutral mindset is the answer for being elite in any field of endeavor and how individuals can use honest evaluation to build awareness and focus for the work that needs to be done
  • How the true parameters of one’s influence are limited to one’s own self and how this fact can alleviate pressure placed on relationships between parents and children as well as coaches and players
  • How parents can better leverage influence to parent their children and why parents should learn to provide insight and options on the process as opposed to the outcomes
  • How players can mitigate the impact of negative coaches
  • What insights and lessons Trevor has from working at different levels across multiple sports
  • What specific lessons Trevor took from working with the Memphis Grizzlies and NBA-legend Vince Carter, especially the struggle and sacrifice required to play 22 years in the NBA
  • What Trevor’s “Supersize Me” Experiment was, and why Trevor chose to test his limits and combat the consumption of negativity at an extreme level
  • What some of the common pitfalls parents fall into are when managing athletes and their mentality
  • Why champions are actually born and unmade
  • How defining your goals and acknowledging your values provide the context necessary for aligning your behaviors to who you want to become
  • How Trevor’s mental approaches translate across multiple sports and how success translates across any discipline
  • You can follow Trevor on Twitter at @TrevorMoawad and on Instagram at @TrevorMoawad. And, you can check out his book HERE.

Sponsor Reminder

This episode is brought to you by Athletic Greens. It’s an all-in-one superfood supplement with 75 whole-food sourced ingredients designed to support your body’s nutrition needs across 5 critical areas of health: 1) energy, 2) immunity, 3) gut health, 4) hormonal support, and 5) healthy aging. Head to www.AthleticGreens.com/cressey and claim my special offer today - 20 FREE travel packs (valued at $79) - with your first purchase. I use this product daily myself and highly recommend it to our athletes as well. I'd encourage you to give it a shot, too - especially with this great offer.

Podcast Feedback

If you like what you hear, we'd be thrilled if you'd consider subscribing to the podcast and leaving us an iTunes review. You can do so HERE.

And, we welcome your suggestions for future guests and questions. Just email elitebaseballpodcast@gmail.com.

Thank you for your continued support!

Sign-up Today for our FREE Baseball Newsletter and Receive Instant Access to a 47-minute Presentation from Eric Cressey on Individualizing the Management of Overhead Athletes!

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Developing Multidirectional Power for the Baseball Fielder

Today's guest post comes from Jason Feairheller.

When most coaches think of power development for baseball, a big focus is on developing rotational power for throwing and hitting with various medicine throws. Additionally, they'll utilize lateral lower body power development to help pitchers get a better drive off the mound, or even the initial push off the ground of a base stealer. If these are the only types of plyometrics we train, there’s a missing piece - multidirectional plyometrics - that can help prepare athletes for the endless possibilities of movement for which a fielder must prepare.

Any position player may have to sprint forward or backward in any direction, depending on where the ball is hit. Although lateral movement is a huge part of baseball, and prepares an athlete for a lot of the movements they’ll see on the field, it does not account for all of them.

Just like Eric, I’m a huge fan of Lee Taft and his system for teaching and understanding speed. Lee breaks down speed into seven different patterns (detailed in this podcast). For the purposes of this blog, I’ll focus on the hip turn, and how multidirectional plyometrics can strengthen and make this movement pattern more powerful.

A hip turn happens all the time in a baseball. Whenever an infielders runs back to catch a pop-ups, or outfielders are tracking down a fly balls that are behind them in any direction, they are using a hip turn. The fielder pivots the feet and punches a foot into the ground to reposition themselves to sprint in the direction they want to go. There are lots of possibilities in terms of the angle at which the fielder might punch a foot in the ground. If I’m looking to improve this position, changing the planes of movements and angles of plyometrics can greatly improve the strength and power of this movement pattern. Think of how the swing of a batter changes slightly with different pitches and locations. The primary fundamentals are the same, but the swing will be slightly different depending on the location of the pitch. The same idea applies to developing power in all directions for a fielder. There may be slight changes in the angle of force off the ground, and we should prepare the body in training for what we will see on the field.

In the following video, I demonstrate the progression of lateral bound with a push back at three different angles, followed by hip turn at three different angles. You can see the similarities between the movements, especially when the focus is on creating a better “punch” into the ground to limit ground contact time. By limiting ground contact, an athlete is getting a more explosive first step, which can be the difference between making the play and not.

Power should be developed with two different types of focus. We are either trying to create as much force as possible with a jump or throw, or we are trying to reduce the time at which we do it. Going back to the example of a hip turn, the fielder will very rapidly punch a foot into the ground. If the fielder did this slowly with a focus only on creating force, he'd already be two steps behind; power is what matters. Plyometric drills with a focus on force should still be included in every program because they help strengthen different positions, but make sure to include some type of plyometrics with a focus on limiting ground contact. Begin with low level hops variations before progressing to more demanding exercises.

There are many different ways multidirectional plyometrics can help develop a more explosive player. Think of the movement patterns you might see on the field, and start thinking of ways you can help your athletes.

About the Author

Jason Feairheller is a co-owner and strength coach at Function and Strength in Bridgeport, Pennsylvania. Jason attended college at the University of Scranton, where he was also a member of the baseball team. Jason has lectured on strength and conditioning as an adjunct professor at Immaculata University. Recently, he was a guest on the Lee Taft Complete Sports Performance Podcast. He has also contributed articles on speed training, as well as taught the course, “Functional Speed Training for the Fitness Professional and Healthcare Provider.” You can follow him on Instagram at @FunctionandStrength, Twitter at @TrueFXS, or visit www.functionandstrength.net.

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CSP Elite Baseball Development Podcast: Biomechanics in Baseball with Dr. Glenn Fleisig

We're excited to welcome biomechanist and researcher Dr. Glenn Fleisig of the American Sports Medicine Institute to this week's podcast. Glenn speaks to how baseball biomechanics research has evolved over the years, highlights key research, and talks about where the field is headed in the years ahead.

A special thanks to this show's sponsor, Athletic Greens. Head to http://www.athleticgreens.com/cressey and you'll receive a free 20-pack of Athletic Greens travel packets with your first order.

Show Outline

  • How Glenn become one of the first to integrate biomechanics into the game of baseball
  • How his work as a biomechanist has brought him to be an influencer in the world of athletic performance
  • How biomechanics has evolved since Glenn first began his work in the field in the early 1980s
  • How technology has improved over Glenn’s career as a biomechanist and what up-and-coming advancements – like markerless motion capture – are transforming the field
  • How does the advancement of technology impact the barrier of entry into the world of biomechanics ,and what this means for quality research and forward progress in the industry
  • What research of his Glenn recommends listeners to read up on
  • How players, parents, and coaches alike can best mitigate the risk of injury in throwers
  • Why 100 innings pitched in a calendar year is the golden standard for limiting a pitcher’s risk for injury
  • What research states about the impact of long toss and weighted balls on players’ arms, specifically the shoulder and elbow
  • Where Glenn’s research has been misinterpreted in recent years and what clarity he hopes to bring to those searching for answers in scientific research
  • How the access to biomechanical technology (such as wearable devices) impacts the growth of sports performance science
  • What biomechanical systems and devices are best for collecting meaningful data on throwing athletes
  • How in-game biomechanics tools are transforming the baseball landscape and how these systems can be used most effectively to develop better baseball players
  • What the next frontier for biomechanics in baseball is
  • Where the industry is falling short of serving athletes and why standardization is required to provide clarity and bring efficiency to the work of biomechanists in sport
  • You can follow Dr. Fleisig's new endeavor, The American Baseball Biomechanics Society, on Twitter at @Biomec_Baseball and on Instagram at @Biomec_Baseball, or visit www.BaseballBiomechanics.org.

Sponsor Reminder

This episode is brought to you by Athletic Greens. It’s an all-in-one superfood supplement with 75 whole-food sourced ingredients designed to support your body’s nutrition needs across 5 critical areas of health: 1) energy, 2) immunity, 3) gut health, 4) hormonal support, and 5) healthy aging. Head to www.AthleticGreens.com/cressey and claim my special offer today - 20 FREE travel packs (valued at $79) - with your first purchase. I use this product daily myself and highly recommend it to our athletes as well. I'd encourage you to give it a shot, too - especially with this great offer.

Podcast Feedback

If you like what you hear, we'd be thrilled if you'd consider subscribing to the podcast and leaving us an iTunes review. You can do so HERE.

And, we welcome your suggestions for future guests and questions. Just email elitebaseballpodcast@gmail.com.

Thank you for your continued support!

Sign-up Today for our FREE Baseball Newsletter and Receive Instant Access to a 47-minute Presentation from Eric Cressey on Individualizing the Management of Overhead Athletes!

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How to Stay on Top of the Latest Research

I pride myself on having a training philosophy that is rooted in both “in the trenches” anecdotal experience and evidence-based practice. Both can be challenging to develop, but for different reasons.

Building a sample size in your head helps you to make judgment calls when the research isn’t necessarily there, or you need to make inferences based on limited information. As an example, as I've written previously here, research has demonstrated that lat strains that are managed conservatively have a return to pitching timeline of ~100 days. That information is great if you’re seeing an athlete from Day 0 post injury, but where should that individual’s progress be at Day 40? That’s where in the trenches experience helps. Unfortunately, it takes a ton of time - and learning from mistakes along the way.

Evidence-based information can be accessed much easier and without the need for years of experience. Unfortunately, though, there is a ton of it to sift through. There are countless scholarly journals out there, and full-text access isn’t always easy to come by. Moreover, We often take for granted that study designs are all acceptable if something makes it to publication. The truth is that some scholarly journals have much lower publication standards than others. it could be a full-time job just pouring over all these journals, but it could be five full-time jobs to make sure they’re all legitimate.

Who has time for that? Certainly not me. Luckily, the good folks at Examine.com have built out an amazing team whose focus is particularly in this evidence based arena. And, they’ve got an awesome new resource - Examine Personalized - I’m excited to tell you about because I’m going to be utilizing it myself. Here's how it works:

I love this approach because it's both curated content: just like you follow certain people on social media to get the information you want, this allows you to select which categories mean the most to you. Here are the 25 categories you can select from for your targeted education:

The July update covered 275 studies over 149 pages in these 25 categories. This is going to save me a lot of time and, more importantly, make me a more informed professional. And, it'll help me to come up with ideas for content for my writing and videos on this site, as some of my most popular articles of all time have related to me building on what I've learned from evidence-based research.

As an introductory offer (through this Friday at midnight), they've got some sweet deals in place:

Monthly: $9/mo
Yearly: $75 (normally $90)
Lifetime: $299 (normally $399)

You also get to choose your free gift: either a free Supplement Guide (normally $49) or three months of Nutrition Examination Research Digest (normally $60). You can learn more HERE.


 

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LEARN HOW TO DEADLIFT
  • Avoid the most common deadlifting mistakes
  • 9 - minute instructional video
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