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Elite Baseball Development Podcast with Brandon Kintzler

We're excited to welcome Chicago Cubs reliever Brandon Kintzler to this week's podcast. 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 Brandon progressed from being a two-time 40th round draft pick out of Dixie State University to an MLB All-Star (while being released and going to Independent ball along the way)
  • How training to be healthy and durable allowed him to become a student of the game, recover from his injuries, and find success in pro ball
  • How Brandon has learned to effectively throw a sinker
  • Why having good direction in your delivery and mastering your lower half mechanics is essential to be able to stay behind the baseball, create late arm speed, and power through a two-seam fastball
  • Why Brandon chooses to stick to his strengths and hold firm in his belief in the effectiveness of his two-seam even while so many MLB pitchers shift toward 4-seamers
  • How Brandon’s velocity has steadily increased since coming back from injury and why he chooses to live in his sweet spot for velocity rather than throwing as hard as he possibly can
  • Why Brandon is throwing more off-speed pitches in recent years and how simplifying his mechanics have allowed him to have more consistent, repeatable stuff
  • Why Brandon struggled in the 2018 season and how straying from his game plan to chase more strikeouts turned out to be detrimental to his game
  • Where Brandon is most misunderstood by the public and why he has chosen to spend his energy being his genuine self rather than worrying about his image portrayed by the media
  • How beating Steve Cishek in a round of golf has led to a hilarious prank war between the two teammates
  • How Brandon has developed a relationship with Cy Young Award winner, Max Scherzer, and how the two challenge each other to be better pitchers year in and year out

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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Elite Baseball Development Podcast with Blake Treinen

We're excited to welcome Oakland A's reliever Blake Treinen to this week's podcast. 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 Blake began his baseball career at a small NAIA college in Kansas and why he chose to leave to attempt to walk on at a Division 1 program
  • Why Blake was forced to take a year off from baseball and what lessons he learned from taking the time to step away from the game to train and
  • How Blake’s time away from organized baseball allowed him to add much needed size, prioritize learning to throw with intent, and understand his optimal mechanics on a trial and error basis
  • What lead Blake to walk on at South Dakota State University and how he progressed to MLB draft prospect throwing a mid-90s fastball
  • How Blake’s faith in God has propelled him to the success he has had in baseball and been a vital key to his success through the tribulations of his career
  • How being passed up by the Miami Marlins turned out to be a blessing in disguise for Blake and how he ended being drafted by the Oakland A’s the following year
  • What cues Blake has adopted to reinforce his consistent, effortless mechanics and how has learned to master creating late arm speed
  • How training at CSP helped and training functional exercise/core exercise helped Treinen become a more effortless, compact pitcher
  • How Blake approaches pitch design and developing various pitches
  • How Blake developed a cutter and the work that went in to trusting to us it in game
  • How Blake developed a one seam and how future sinker ballers can find success
  • How the evolution of the cutter has transformed the way current pitchers are attacking the launch angle evolution and attacking hitters inside
  • What the hardest adjustments were for Blake as he transitioned from starter to reliever
  • How Blake structures his daily throwing routine
  • How Blake mentally prepares for each outing

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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Movement vs. Medical Diagnoses

Recently, during my weekly Instagram Q&A, I received this question:

"Have you ever dealt with valgus extension overload syndrome and how?"

My initial response was, "Absolutely - and with every single overhead throwing athlete I've ever encountered."

You see, "valgus extension overload" simply described the two most common injury mechanisms in throwers. Your elbow can get hurt at lay-back (max shoulder external rotation) or full elbow extension. This terminology doesn't describe a specific tissue pathology, nor an underlying movement competency that is insufficient and therefore allowing an individual to become symptomatic. To me, it's a completely incomplete "diagnosis." Let's dig deeper.

You have medical diagnoses and movement diagnoses. Both are important.

A medical diagnosis might be a rotator cuff tear, MCL sprain, or tibial fracture. These deviations speak directly to the damaged tissue and relate the severity of this structural change.

A movement diagnosis (popularized by physical therapist Shirley Sahrmann) might be scapular downward rotation syndrome, femoral anterior glide syndrome, or lumbar extension-rotation syndrome. These diagnoses speak to the deviation from normal movement that’s observed.

At times, both types of diagnoses are bastardized.

On the medical side, examples would include “shoulder impingement,” “shin splints,” and “valgus-extension overload.” All of these flawed medical diagnoses speak to a region of the body, but not a specific structure.

On the movement side, examples would be vague things like “weak posterior chain,” “scapular dyskinesis,” or “poor stability.” They don’t speak to the specific movement competencies that need to be improved.

I'm all for simplifying things as much as possible. However, diagnosis is an area where oversimplifying is completely inappropriate. Diagnosis is what establishes the road map for the journey you're about to begin - so make sure to eliminate any guesswork in this regard, whether it's on the medical or movement side of things.

Looking to learn more about how we assess and correct movement inefficiencies - and relate them to the rehabilitation and prevention of common medical diagnoses? Be sure to check out the Functional Stability Training series from Mike Reinold and me. It's on sale for 25% off through this Tuesday at midnight. Just head to THIS LINK and enter coupon code allstar2019cressey to get the discount.

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Elite Baseball Development Podcast: Sparing the Spine with Dr. Stuart McGill

We're excited to welcome an astonishingly accomplished and influential researcher and clinician, Dr. Stuart McGill, to the podcast for Episode #16 for an in-depth discussion on sparing the spine in rotational sport athletes. A special thanks goes out to this show's sponsor, Acumobility. Their products have been absolute game changers for our mobility approaches at Cressey Sports Performance, and they've got a great 10% off offer going for our podcast listeners who enter the coupon code CSP10 at https://csp.acumobility.com/podcast.

Show Outline

  • How Dr. McGill has become a prominent figure in the world of spine health
  • What the key considerations are for understanding the spine demands in rotational athletes
  • How the anatomical structure of the spine drives an individual’s movement capabilities
  • What qualities should be prioritized in elastic rotational athletes – and how much strength is enough?
  • Why power is plane specific and how this impacts rotational athletes expression of power in the three planes of motion
  • What spondylolsis is, how this injury occurs, and whether a back brace should be utilized
  • How fascial slings impact athletic performance and spine health
  • How effective is manual therapy in changing tissue quality and aiding in transforming movement capabilities
  • How clinicians can more effectively interpret scientific research and why they find value in variance rather than averages
  • How to differentiate between a “scar” and a “wound” on diagnostic imaging
  • How Dr. McGill preserves the human element in patient management
  • What has changed over the last 10 years in his understanding of the spine
  • Where future spine research is needed

You can follow Dr. McGill on Instagram at @BackFitPro - or visit his website at www.BackFitPro.com.

Sponsor Reminder

This episode is brought to you by Acumobility. While their product line is super expansive, the implement I use the most on a daily basis is the Acumobility ball, a patented flat based mobility ball that keeps the ball in contact with a trigger point so you can do active mobility. You can can use it against a wall, rack, or any floor surface and it won't roll away. As a result, it allows you to do incorporate some innovative and advanced active mobility exercises, including on hard to reach areas like the neck and shoulders. Perhaps most importantly, the folks at Acumobility do an awesome job with educational initiatives to accompany their products; this way, you can assess AND correct movement problems to improve performance. Head to https://csp.acumobility.com/podcast and enter coupon code CSP10 to save 10% on your order.

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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CSP Elite Baseball Development Shirts: New Colors Available

I’m excited to announce that we've got two new colors of the CSP Elite Baseball Development t-shirts (powered by New Balance Baseball) available for sale.  Here's the design - now available in heather grey and white:

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 - and please just let us know in the Order Notes section whether you'd like a white or grey one:

XXL

Extra Large

Large

Medium

Small

These usually sell very quickly, so don’t delay if you’re interested in picking one up. Enjoy!

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Elite Baseball Development Podcast: The Evolution of Hitting with Bobby Tewksbary

We're excited to welcome a well-respected and accomplished hitting coach, Bobby Tewksbary, to the podcast for Episode #15 for an in-depth discussion on the evolution of hitting. A special thanks goes out to this show's sponsor, VersaPulley. It's an awesome option for challenging deceleration in multiple planes of motion, and has been an excellent addition to our training at Cressey Sports Performance. They've got a great 10% off offer going for our podcast listeners through June 30 at http://www.VersaPulley.com/Cressey10.

Show Outline

  • How Bobby’s experience as a hitter inspired him to become a knowledgeable coach
  • What the old school mindset surrounding hitting was and why ballplayers used to be reluctant to discuss their swing
  • What concepts of hitting are constant and true regardless of the individual
  • How new trends towards the utilization of technology and data are impacting the next generation of batters
  • How the collection of data offers measurable and diagnostic feedback to help manage the swing, identify what athletes need, and conceptualize information to allow hitters to make meaningful changes
  • How the game of baseball is more openminded than ever and how the private sector is taking advantage of this revolution in baseball
  • What qualities players should look for in their hitting coaches and what common mistakes young hitting coaches should avoid
  • Why hitters need to be exposed to failure at a young age to avoid developing an ego-centric, highlight-focused mindset
  • How executing a swing and learning how to hit are very different things – and why this distinction is vital for hitters
  • Why having confidence in the batter’s box is superior to any mechanical factor in a hitter’s swing
  • How Bobby expects hitting to change in the years ahead
  • How Bobby is working to improve his ability to impact hitters with a new project

You can follow Bobby on Instagram at @TewksHitting and Twitter at @TewksHitting - or visit his website at www.TewksHitting.com.

Sponsor Reminder

This episode is brought to you by VersaPulley. The VersaPulley offers flywheel training and one benefit of training with a flywheel is inertia. The faster the flywheel is moving, the more the user must decelerate the inertia that is created - and we know training deceleration is a huge piece of preventing athletic injuries and enhancing performance. While there are a few flywheel training options on the market, the VersaPulley is the only one that that allows you to train at any point along the force/velocity curve, and in multiple planes of movement. If you want to train at any speed, any load, and any direction, the VersaPulley has got you covered. They've set up a great discount of 10% for our listeners; you can learn more at http://www.VersaPulley.com/Cressey10.

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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Elite Baseball Development Podcast with Brandon Marcello

We're excited to welcome sports scientist Dr. Brandon Marcello to the podcast for Episode #14 for an in-depth discussion on sleep. A special thanks goes out to this show's sponsor, VersaPulley. It's an awesome option for challenging deceleration in multiple planes of motion, and has been an excellent addition to our training at Cressey Sports Performance. They've got a great 10% off offer going for our podcast listeners at http://www.VersaPulley.com/Cressey10.

Show Outline

  • What the four major components of recovery are, and how sleep influences these domains
  • Why sleep is vital for human performance and what the negative implications are for ignoring its importance
  • How individuals are actually born as early birds or night owls, and what strategies people should utilize to maximize their sleep regardless of their tendencies
  • Why routine is king when establishing quality sleep habits
  • What is sleep debt and why it is significant for people to avoid the accumulation of sleep debt over time
  • How impactful are naps for overcoming the accumulation of sleep debt, and how to best incorporate them
  • Why not all sleep supplements are everything they claim to be
  • What easy adjustments athletes can implement to improve their sleep beyond the well-known strategies already commonly practiced
  • How athletes can combat the negative implications of their current sleep situation
  • Why coaches should encourage their athletes to value their sleep, and what strategies they can use to aid in their players accumulation of quality sleep

You can follow Brandon on Instagram at @bmarcello13 and Twitter at @bmarcello13.

Sponsor Reminder

This episode is brought to you by VersaPulley. The VersaPulley offers flywheel training and one benefit of training with a flywheel is inertia. The faster the flywheel is moving, the more the user must decelerate the inertia that is created - and we know training deceleration is a huge piece of preventing athletic injuries and enhancing performance. While there are a few flywheel training options on the market, the VersaPulley is the only one that that allows you to train at any point along the force/velocity curve, and in multiple planes of movement. If you want to train at any speed, any load, and any direction, the VersaPulley has got you covered. They've set up a great discount of 10% for our listeners; you can learn more at http://www.VersaPulley.com/Cressey10.

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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Exercise of the Week: Side Bridge with Top Leg March

This go-round of the Exercise of the Week comes from Cressey Sports Performance - Massachusetts coach, Cole Russo. Before we get to it, though, just a quick heads-up that I'm running a weekend flash sale on my Understanding and Coaching the Anterior Core presentation. You can get 30% off with the coupon code CORE30 at checkout; just head HERE to get more information and purchase.

Key Coaching Points

1. This could simply be a progression from the traditional side bridge, in that there is less stability and more stress on the lateral core.

2. In terms of pitching, sometimes lateral flexion of the trunk will be a compensation for abduction of the pelvis to create force and generate momentum from the stretch. Similarly, a traditional side bridge can accomplish the same thing. This is more specific to the joint actions of pitching because the lead leg moves to hip flexion (just like the top leg in the exercise). CSP pitching coordinator shared an awesome post on this a while back:

 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

1️⃣: A hip load mistake I see a lot with pitchers, as they start their descent down the slope of the mound. 2️⃣: Visual on pelvis-on-femur abduction. 30 degrees of P-O-F abduction is "normal" and pitchers usually couple this with lateral flexion of the spine as they try to load their back hip. A little bit of lateral flexion isn't bad, but you have to leave room in your hip socket for force production through abduction. This pic was taken from a new book I'm reading called Kinesiology of the Musculoskeletal System by Donald Neumann. ⚾️Video by the one and only @nancy_newell, and video bombs from Franklin J. (@frankduffyfitness) #cspfamily #csppitching #elitepitchingdevelopment #backhip #mlb #minorleaguebaseball #collegebaseball #highschoolbaseball #baseballcoach #pitching #pitchingcoach #pitchingdrills

A post shared by Christian Wonders - EPD (@csp_pitching) on

3. During the gait cycle, it is common to see what is referred to as the Trendelenburg Gait. This happens when the hip abductors are weak and the pelvis falls downward relative to the femur; usually accompanied with another compensation of lateral trunk tilt. The exercise emphasizes hip abduction, anti-lateral flexion, and hip flexion against gravitational forces that relate to the same weaknesses associated with the Trendelenburg Gait.

4. The positions of this exercise resemble the “figure-4” position that is assumed during the sprint cycle. When sprinting, it is necessary for the trunk to transfer force and stabilize the body against multiplanar forces so that the center of mass can directed linearly. Training the trunk to resist lateral flexion can help with this. Training the trunk to resist lateral flexion in biomechanically relevant joint positions can make you Usain Bolt. Core exercises eventually need to be progressed to something more dynamic. Once motor control and appropriate stability are demonstrated, progression to a quicker leg action action will make it more of a reactive stimulus for the nervous system.

5. Never underestimate the value of variety! Subtle additions like this to exercises that have already been rehearsed are a novel stimulus for the brain and can really enrich the motor learning process. The right amount of struggle is a good thing. Consistent patterns with minimal struggles and errors means there is a need for a new stimulus.

6. We'll usually program this as a 10-15 second isometric hold in the first few weeks of doing this exercise, and then progress to marching in subsequent weeks. It'll be sets of 8 per side in those who are more highly trained. This can be done as a warm-up, or used for multiple sets later in the training session.

About the Author

Cole Russo is a strength and conditioning coach at CSP-MA. You can follow him on Instagram at @SwoleThomas.

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Elite Baseball Development Podcast with Miles Mikolas

We're excited to welcome St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Miles Mikolas to the podcast for Episode #13. A special thanks goes out to this show's sponsor, Versaclimber. It's my absolute favorite conditioning option, and they've got a great 10% off offer going for our podcast listeners at http://www.Versaclimber.com/Cressey.

Show Outline

  • Why Miles decided to stay close to home and attend Division 2 powerhouse Nova Southeastern in FL
  • How adding weight, gaining strength in the right places, and improving body awareness while in college allowed Miles to make a velocity jump and become an MLB draft pick
  • How Miles quickly ascended through the minor leagues, but realized the consistency needed to be a mainstay in MLB
  • How he worked to become a more consistent pitcher in all facets of his game as a result
  • How Miles transitioned from a reliever to a starter
  • Why Miles added a slider to his pitch arsenal as a starter and how this shorter, harder breaking ball complements his big, loopy curveball to challenge hitters in a different dimension
  • Why Miles chose to bet on himself and leave MLB after the 2014 season to play in the Nippon Professional Baseball League in Japan
  • How being exposed to the Japanese style of baseball taught Miles many invaluable lessons
  • How Miles refined his arm action in 2015 to 2016 to take unnecessary stress off his arm
  • Why Miles values first pitch strikes and works to play the percentages to efficiently get hitters out
  • How Miles models his throwing and lifting program in season on a 5-day rotation
  • What it is like for Miles to pitch to one of the greatest catchers of all-time, Yadier Molina, and what young catchers can take away from this legend’s unbelievable knowledge and skill set

You can follow Miles on Instagram at @magic_mikolas39 and Twitter at @lastoneformiles.

Sponsor Reminder

This episode is brought to you by Versaclimber. In addition to being a phenomenal option for training all across the energy systems continuum, the Versaclimber exposes individuals to important fundamental movement patterns: scapular upward rotation, hip extension, and a synced-up crawling pattern. It's also non-impact, and can therefore be used with a wider variety of clients than other conditioning modalities. They've set up a great discount of 10% for our listeners; you can learn more at http://www.Versaclimber.com/Cressey.

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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Elite Baseball Development Podcast with AJ Pollock

We're excited to welcome Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder AJ Pollock to the podcast for Episode #12. A special thanks goes out to this show's sponsor, Versaclimber. It's my absolute favorite conditioning option, and they've got a great 10% off offer going for our podcast listeners at http://www.Versaclimber.com/Cressey.

Show Outline

  • How AJ’s experience as a multi-sport athlete growing up in Connecticut allowed him to enjoy being a kid and develop into a well-rounded athlete
  • How AJ went from an unnoticed player his junior year of high school to a star on the Connecticut baseball scene by the end his senior season
  • What the college recruiting process was like for AJ as a standout hitter from the Northeast
  • How AJ remained a successful hitter as he seamlessly transitioned from high school baseball to Division 1 competition at Notre Dame
  • How the game of baseball has changed since AJ was drafted a decade ago
  • How AJ has been able to utilize the influx of data in baseball to shorten the learning curve in his game and make meaningful adjustments to his hitting approach
  • How AJ balances trusting his instincts and sticking to what works for him with the data revolution in baseball
  • Why self-awareness, attention to detail, and continuous refinement have allowed AJ to remain consistent over the course of his career regardless of the level of competition
  • What AJ’s typical batting practice routine is to prepare for a game
  • How AJ has become one of most consistent defensive outfielders in the MLB
  • How AJ has learned to manage his emotions daily and how he trains mentally to remain positive through the ups and downs of the game of baseball

You can follow AJ on Instagram at @AJPollock_.

Sponsor Reminder

This episode is brought to you by Versaclimber. In addition to being a phenomenal option for training all across the energy systems continuum, the Versaclimber exposes individuals to important fundamental movement patterns: scapular upward rotation, hip extension, and a synced-up crawling pattern. It's also non-impact, and can therefore be used with a wider variety of clients than other conditioning modalities. They've set up a great discount of 10% for our listeners; you can learn more at http://www.Versaclimber.com/Cressey.

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!

Name
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