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CSP Elite Baseball Development Podcast with Kolten Wong

We're excited to welcome St. Louis Cardinals second baseman and 2019 Gold Glove Award Winner Kolten Wong to this week's podcast.

A special thanks to this show’s sponsor, Rawlings. We’re ecstatic to announce a new partnership between Rawlings and Cressey Sports Performance, and they’ve set up a 20% off discount code on select products for our listeners. Just head to www.Rawlings.com and enter coupon code CRESSEY20 and you’ll receive 20% off on your order. Certain items are excluded, but there’s still a ton of great baseball training gear to make you a better player and coach.

Show Outline

  • How the culture of Hawaiian baseball played a role in Kolten’s development
  • Why Kolten chose to attend the University of Hawaii instead of signing professionally out of high school
  • Though known as a second baseman, how Kolten became recognized as a talented catcher in high school, and why he transitioned to play center field his freshman year at Hawaii
  • How Kolten seemed to smoothly transition through the ranks of professional baseball and into the big leagues
  • How straying away from his strengths and trying to be someone he’s not led to an underwhelming first month as a rookie and a trip back to AAA
  • What hitting adjustments Kolten made to bounce back from his initial setbacks and return to major league baseball to earn the NL Rookie of the Month in May 2014
  • After being sent down again in 2015, how Kolten’s experience as an outfielder at Hawaii and his willingness to be versatile allowed him to return to MLB as the Cardinals’ center fielder
  • Why he returned to the infield as a second baseman in 2016 and how Kolten has progressed to eventually become the outstanding defensive second baseman he is today
  • How critical self-evaluation and seeking out advice from knowledgeable veterans helped Kolten turn a corner in his game and develop an edge defensively
  • How understanding details of the game defensively has elevated Kolten games to a new level
  • What Kolten’s pre-pitch defensive routine is, and how did he come to find this optimal pre-pitch set up
  • How defensive training fits into his offseason schedule
  • How Kolten has come to be passionate about teaching the game of baseball to the next generation of players
  • What foundational skills and fundamental lessons Kolten always tries to pass on when working with a young ball player
  • Why getting in front of the baseball is not always the right move defensively, and how having the ability to field with one hand is an overlooked skill in the game if baseball
  • What Kolten’s glove care routine is, including: how often he replaces his glove, how he goes about breaking in a new glove, and why the glove is simply an extension of the hand
  • How Kolten trains to remain healthy and durable through the daily demands of being a position player
  • Why Kolten has shifted to incorporate more yoga into his training recently and how these difficult bodyweight positions are advancing his game physically and mentally
  • What Kolten believes is the best defensive play of his entire baseball career
  • You can follow Kolten on Twitter at @KoltenWong and on Instagram at @thewongone808.

Sponsor Reminder

This episode is brought to you by Rawlings. If you want to develop faster, and train better, you need the best gear. Well, we have some good news for you. The #1 baseball brand in the world, Rawlings, has partnered with Cressey Sports Performance to make getting the best training gear for you more affordable. Simply head to www.Rawlings.com and use the code, CRESSEY20, at checkout and you’ll save 20% off your order! This offer is only valid on select items, but there’s a ton of great gear you’ll save 20% on that will help you become a better player, so shop now!

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 Podcast: The 2-Seam Roundtable

We're excited to welcome Major League pitchers Adam Ottavino, Corey Kluber, Blake Treinen, Brandon Kintzler, Mike Soroka, and Steve Cishek - along with CSP-Florida pitching coordinators Brian Kaplan and Mark Lowy - for a roundtable on the two-seam fastball. This podcast featured a lot of great insights for up-and-coming pitchers, and also a lot of great back-and-forth among some of the most accomplished pitchers in the game.

A special thanks to this show's sponsor, Marc Pro. Head to www.MarcPro.com and enter the coupon code CRESSEY at checkout to receive 20% off on your order.

Because this podcast was filmed on Zoom and we featured screen shares of pitch profiles and demonstration of pitch grips, it's probably best watched on YouTube:

That said, you can also listen to it here:

Sponsor Reminder

This episode is brought to you by Marc Pro, a cutting-edge EMS device that uses patented technology to create non-fatiguing muscle activation. Muscle activation with Marc Pro facilitates each stage of the body’s natural recovery process- similar to active recovery, but without the extra effort and muscle fatigue. Athletes can use it for as long as they need to ensure a more full and quick recovery in between training or games. With its portability and ease of use, players can use Marc Pro while traveling between games or while relaxing at home. Players and trainers from every MLB team - including over 200 pro pitchers - use Marc Pro. Put Marc Pro to the test for yourself; use promo code CRESSEY at checkout at www.MarcPro.com for 20% off 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 Podcast: Enhancing Coach-Athlete Communication with Nick Winkelman

We're excited to welcome Nick Winkelman, Head of Athletic Performance & Science for Irish Rugby, to this week's podcast. Nick is extremely well versed in motor learning and how to best get through to athletes, and you'll see why in this interview. It's timely, as his new book, The Language of Coaching, was just released.

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

  • Where Nick’s original interest in improving the way coaches coach movement began
  • What observations Nick made while watching his athletes compete on NFL Combine Day – and how they transformed his perspective on coaching
  • What the lowest hanging fruit is in terms of how coaches can improve their communication with athletes
  • Why coaches need to add a column for cues in their program and how coaches plan their language to maximize their influence on athletes
  • How motivation influences motor learning and how language can be leveraged to create engagement, investment, and motivation
  • What simple tactics coaches can employ to increase buy-in and give individuals an active role in their training experience
  • Why coaches need to focus their time and attention on coaching the athlete and not the program
  • How understanding purpose – specifically more purposeful coaching – transformed Nick’s coaching philosophy, strategy, and interventions
  • Why Nick has learned to watch more reps and talk less, and how coaches can create a safe environment for athletes to explore movement and “fail forward”
  • How each word spoken and action communicated to an athlete either builds or erodes the coach-athlete relationship and how professionals can avoid the detriments of overcoaching
  • When the right time to communicate with an athlete is and how Nick models the timing of his coaching communication
  • What the difference is between short loop and long loop coaching communication
  • How understanding the coaching communication loop can give us a better understanding of how to teach, challenge, and progress athletes
  • What research states about the impact of cue frequency and cue type on performance and long-term athletic development
  • What simple, actionable strategies coaches can use to help concepts stick with athletes, such as recalling clients’ names and celebrating small wins
  • How coaches can use analogy, an athlete’s language, and emotional hashtags in the learning process to enhance memory
  • How emotions influence our memory and how coaches can tap into emotion to allow their interactions with athletes to be memorable
  • How analogy can be specifically leveraged to tie previous learned knowledge into the learning of new abilities
  • Why internal cueing isn’t inherently bad and where external and internal cueing fit into an athlete’s learning
  • You can follow Nick on Twitter at @NickWinkelman - and be sure to check out his awesome new book, The Language of Coaching.

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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CSP Elite Baseball Development Podcast: Cutting-Edge Catching with Tanner Swanson

We're excited to welcome New York Yankees quality control coach and catching coordinator Tanner Swanson 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 Tanner evaluates a catcher’s ability and what key competencies he analyzes to draw conclusions on players behind the plate
  • How Tanner’s methods for analyzing players and principles for building elite catchers have evolved as he has progressed through his coaching career
  • Why the focus with youth catchers should be on developing a general scope of catching-specific abilities and how this general foundation of skills allows for premium skills to be leveraged later on in development
  • What new age data says about the importance of receiving skills
  • How new metrics on receiving are changing how we define high-level catchers
  • How the player evaluation and scouting of catchers is evolving as more information is available on catchers beyond pop times
  • Why catchers’ performance is significantly impacted with runners on base and what this insight says about how we currently coach catchers
  • Why coaches should consider whether we are teaching catchers to receive out of their best blocking and throwing position, or to block and throw from their best receiving position
  • How catchers can find their optimal stance and balance functionality with comfort behind the dish
  • How factors stance and pre-pitch glove rhythm influence a player’s ability to receive
  • Why new age catching is more than a lazy set-up behind the dish on one knee and how catchers can find their best position to both block and receive
  • Why the toughest challenge in catching is getting caught in between pitches and how finding the most effective stance and approaching blocking as an extension of receiving mitigates this challenge
  • How the sheer volume and frequency of work for catchers offers a unique opportunity to watch adjustments organically play out and fine tune strategies that are meaningful for individuals
  • How coaches can preserve a player’s uniqueness behind the dish while still instilling the nonnegotiable characteristics of being a catcher, such as starting in a good position, mastering timing, working below the ball, and dominating the bottom third of the strike zone
  • Why present-day catching demands players have authority over the bottom third of the strike zone and what the increase use of high fastballs and secondary pitchers means for catchers
  • How catchers can best prepare to handle the physical and mental demands of their position, arguably one of the most demanding roles in sports
  • Why the game of baseball is moving away from catchers with weak bats and how catchers can develop a true edge at their position
  • You can follow Tanner on Twitter at @TannerSwanson and learn more about him at www.D1Catching.com.

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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Pitching Mechanics: What’s in a Release Point?

Today's guest post comes from Cressey Sports Performance - Florida Associate Pitching Coordinator, Mark Lowy. This post comes on the heels of Mark’s appearance on Episode 51 of the CSP Elite Baseball Development Podcast. During it, he discusses some of the intricacies of release point data and how he uses the numbers to help understand a pitchers delivery. This discussion in the podcast kicks off at the 20:30 mark. -EC

Back in the fall, Eric put together a great Instagram post on the similarities in upper body positioning between Oliver Drake and Adam Cimber, despite their incredibly different release points.

 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Here's a comparison of two markedly different deliveries that can teach us an important lesson on pitching mechanics and how we prepare athletes for the stress of throwing. 👇 On top, you'll see #cspfamily athlete and Rays reliever Oliver Drake, whose average release height this year was 77.6 inches (one of the highest in baseball). In 2019, his 4-seam fastball had an average spin axis of 11:50. Yes, that basically means he's made himself left handed. On the bottom, you'll see Indians reliever Adam Cimber, who was the lowest vertical release height in baseball at 21.5 inches. He throws a sinker at a 3:48 spin axis. He's what you'd consider a true submariner. Now, swipe left to see the comparison that takes place to see when you flip Oliver's image 90-degrees so that it's on its side and rotate a different angle Cimber picture so that his torso is also upright. You quickly appreciate that they throw with a similar amount of shoulder abduction (arm elevation) in this position in spite of the fact that Drake's vertical release height is over 4.5 feet higher than Cimber's! 🤔 What does this tell us about arm slot? Most of the time, it's much, much more about the amount and direction of trunk tilt than it is about specific shoulder positioning. And, we probably need a lot more variability in the positions we train from a lumbopelvic (core/hip) control standpoint than we do in our arm care work. Look at most pitchers at the max external rotation (lay back) phase of throwing, and there isn't an insane amount of variability in the amount of humeral abduction. If you want to take care of the arm, you better be taking care of the hips and lumbar spine!

A post shared by Eric Cressey (@ericcressey) on

What we know from looking at video is that most pitchers release the ball in the neighborhood of 90 and 110 degrees of shoulder abduction. This is backed up by various studies over the years, and corroborated by current motion capture setups such as Simi and Kinatrax.

Therefore, we know that when looking at deliveries, we can hold shoulder abduction relatively constant across players, and understand that the lateral trunk tilt (right) a pitcher displays during the delivery is going to be a key contributor as to where they release the ball.

Source: https://journals.humankinetics.com/view/journals/jab/34/5/article-p377.xml

By understanding this, we can appreciate that the arm slot and ball release for any given pitcher is a result, and not a process in and of itself. If we can agree on this, it begs the question: what helps determine where in space a pitcher releases the ball?

To help answer this, we need to work backward. If you have ball release data available, a good place to start is with the vertical release point, the horizontal release point, and (if possible) the extension (how far down the mound the ball was released) of a given pitch. These three data points tell you where the pitch is coming in from. Rapsodo will give you the first two, while Trackman will give you all three.

If you do not have access to ball release data, don’t worry! It’s still important to coach with your eyes and understand the root cause when you notice something amiss with someone’s arm slot.

To break down the delivery effectively, we need to start from the ground up to understand what affects ball release. It’s important to recognize that each section could serve as its own article, but for time’s sake, we will hit on the big rocks in each group. From start to finish, we can identify:

A. Back leg direction and upper half positioning
B. Stride length to lead leg landing position
C. Trunk tilt into and through ball release

A. Back leg direction

This is an area that is frequently talked about in the pitching world, and with good reason. Since we understand that pitching is a series of highly-coordinated movements, we have to be able to consistently own the first one, as it sets up all events later in the chain.

A main goal of the back leg is to provide a) stability as the body begins to create and store energy and b) provide direction as the body begins to move down the slope. Some factors to take into account when breaking down the back leg of a pitcher can include:

  • Ankle mobility into dorsiflexion and eversion
  • Hip mobility in ER, IR, and flexion
  • Anatomical structure of the hip (retroversion vs. anteversion)
  • Postural tendencies of the upper half

For the sake of this article, we are going to look at the first and last bullets, as they are easier to identify on video. It’s worth mentioning that when breaking down a delivery, we always prefer video over still shots. However, pictures can be useful for comparison’s sake.

If you have an athlete with above average dorsiflexion (knee over toe range of motion), he may be able to get away with more forward knee translation while still maintaining contact with the ground during his load phase. Conversely, an athlete with stiff ankles may struggle to keep the foot anchored in the ground when the knee drifts forward, and will need to maintain a more vertical shin during their load. This can be determined in simple ankle mobility screen, and should also be looked at dynamically during a movement screen to see how well the athlete controls (or doesn’t control) the range of motion he has available to him.

As the back leg starts to bend, the lower half and upper half start to work together. On the right, a more flexed ankle/knee help bring the torso forward. On the left, a more stacked knee and ankle helps keep the trunk more upright.

This is where the postural tendencies of an athlete come into play. Athletes who are more extended and flat through the lumbar and thoracic spine generally take a more upright torso position as they begin to work down the slope, while athletes who are more neutral/rounded through the upper back may prefer to hold more torso lean forward.

B. Stride length to lead leg landing position

As the pitcher begins to move down the mound, there are a lot of factors to look at regarding his stride length and direction. From an assessment standpoint, we hone in on a few things:

  • Adductor length (hip abduction range of motion)
  • Hip internal rotation
  • Thoracic spine mobility (active and passive)

These are three pieces among many that are going to influence a pitcher’s movement down the mound. It’s important to note that we do not coach guys to “push” or “drive” off the rubber – this commonly leads to early and aggressive hip extension, which throws off the timing and sequencing of the delivery. Instead, we want the front leg to land in a position that is a) comfortable for the pitcher and b) allows him to decelerate properly. This will look very different based on the points above.

Athletes with limitations in hip abduction are generally going to benefit from a shorter stride, as the longer the lead leg continues to search for distance, the tougher it is for the back leg to maintain tension into the ground. The flip side are hypermobile/loose pitchers who can get into whatever positions they want, and when trained to be able to create stability in these positions, they can be very effective.

Hip internal rotation can be looked at through a similar lens. Athletes with higher degrees of IR (anteverted hips, hypermobile, etc.) can get away with (and often find success with) a more closed off stride, as it allows them to create more tension and stability into the ground upon landing. They have the requisite room in the hip joint to be able to decelerate their upper and lower half in a closed off position. For athletes with hip IR limitations, a more closed off stride can be problematic down the road, as it forces them to adopt a deceleration pattern that does not dissipate stress as effectively as the hip and torso do when working together.

Stride length and path considerations should be taken into account for the upper half as well. For athletes who are less mobile through their thoracic spine, the longer the lead leg is floating in space, the more demand there is for them to resist torso rotation. The same can be true for someone with high degrees of passive thoracic range of motion, but low degrees of active. Those athletes crave stability, so the longer the lead leg is in the air, the less stability they have.

On the right, note the slightly closed off lead leg, versus the more open lead leg on the left. This is a function of the initial move with the back leg, and the following path of the front leg (and also gloveside). In these examples, we can see that when the torso follows the path of the lead leg, it helps the pitcher hold his line to the plate. If we swapped the lower halves in the two pictures, it would be very difficult for consistently create velocity while finding the strike zone.

C. Trunk tilt into and through ball release

As we are beginning to understand, every step in the delivery influences and sets up the next one. In the comparisons from above, we see how back leg direction can shape both front leg path and upper half direction as the pitcher moves down the slope.

As we get to ball release, the final picture now makes sense. On the left, the more upright torso, stacked lower leg position, and more open stride help pull the trunk up, raising the arm with it. On the right, initial back leg direction shapes a more closed landing position and more level shoulders through ball release.

It’s important to reiterate that this article is not an attempt to determine “right vs. wrong,” but look at different deliveries that exist on the spectrum of high performance. As coaches, the overall takeaway should be to find and create a delivery that recognizes individuality while also understanding how a pitcher’s anatomy plays a large role in how he looks on the mound.

About the Author

Mark Lowy serves as a Strength and Conditioning Coach and Associate Pitching Coordinator at CSP-FL. He completed his internship in the spring of 2018. Prior to joining the staff, Mark trained and coached high school and college athletes in the New York and New Jersey area. He also served as an assistant baseball coach at Ridgewood High School (NJ). Mark graduated from Gettysburg College in 2014.​​​​ You can follow him on Twitter at @Mark_Lowy and on Instagram at @CSPFL_Pitching

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New Cressey Sports Performance Shirt Options!

Right before the craziness of the pandemic hit, we actually stocked up on some new t-shirt designs at Cressey Sports Performance. Since the facilities aren't open right now, it seemed like a good opportunity to prioritize clothing and make these available! Some are new, and some are reprints of old favorites. Just click on the bolded hyperlinks below to add them to your cart.

Fall 2019 CSP/New Balance Baseball 3/4 Sleeve (previously only available to our pro athletes): XXL, Extra Large, Large, Medium

Indigo (brand new): XXL, Extra Large

White (brand new): Extra Large, Large

Red (old favorite): Extra Large, Large, Medium

Black Elite Baseball Development (reprint of our most popular t-shirt ever): XXL, Extra Large, Large, Medium, Small

Or, if you'd like to get one of each, you can get five t-shirts for $100 with free shipping. Just add THIS to your cart and let us know what size you want in the comments section of your order.

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CSP Elite Baseball Development Podcast with Mitch Haniger

We're excited to welcome Seattle Mariners outfielder Mitch Haniger 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 being a multi-sport athlete helped Mitch develop into the outfielder he is today
  • Why Mitch chose to attend Cal Poly and how his experience there shaped him into a big leaguer
  • How Mitch worked through the ups and downs of his college career and what key competencies he has focused on to take his game to the next level
  • Why smart guys often struggle with being analytical at the plate and how Mitch is working to simplify his process and focus on competing in the box above all else
  • How stumbling upon hitting coach Bobby Tewksbary’s work inspired Mitch to revamp his swing and what “aha” moment propelled Mitch into a breakout 2016 season
  • How being sent down to High A, transforming his swing to hit the ball in the air, and incorporating a leg kick ignited his career and gave him the success necessary to advance through the professional ranks
  • What the commonalities between the elite hitting coaches Mitch has worked with
  • What inspired Mitch to become such a student of the game, and how his studies influenced his preparation and daily routine for nutrition, rehab, training, and game prep
  • Why and how Mitch prioritizes "controlling the controllables"
  • Despite the nationwide shut down, why Mitch has been setting aside more time to attune his attention, focus, and mindfulness and what ways he practices mental skills on a daily basis
  • How players can leverage the resources they have within their organization to develop their mental skills
  • What Mitch’s game day routine is
  • How Mitch is often overlooked defensively and what skills are important in order to play great defense
  • How Mitch works to hone his defensive capability and what motivates him to want to be a complete player
  • What hitters Mitch likes to study and why
  • You can follow Mitch on Twitter at @M_Hanny17 and on Instagram at @M_Hanny17.

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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Taking Proteus Motion for a Spin

Today’s guest post comes from former Cressey Sports Performance intern and current physical therapist, Tanner Allen. I asked Tanner to take the lead on our work with Proteus this offseason, and he does a great job of summing up our initial experiences below. Enjoy! -EC

In December, we brought in a Proteus Motion unit to Cressey Sports Performance – Florida to try out for the offseason. It goes without saying that we found some excellent benefits, and I thought I’d use today’s blog post to dig in on them. First, however, I think it’s important to appreciate what Proteus is.

Proteus Motion uses electromagnetic brakes to produce resistance that the user must overcome to move the arm or beam. This futuristic cannon packs a heavy punch of technology. Utilizing biofeedback and tracking technology, Proteus enables athletes to optimize their movement patterns and power development. It allows you to train within the freedoms of your own movements while providing resistance continuously in a manner different than you'd experience with cable machines, barbells, dumbbells and kettlebells - because the impact of both gravity and specific planes of motion are reduced and eliminated, respectively.

The only other place on earth an individual can experience this 3D resistance is in water. In fact, the machine was named after Proteus, the son of the sea god Poseidon in Greek mythology. The quality that links water and the Proteus machine is the ability for an individual to move fluidly throughout every movement that they may perform. The main handle attachment of Proteus is unlike traditional grips and enables the user to sync multiple movements together in a natural and organic way. As soon as you step up to the machine for the first time, you can move the arm in any direction to get a feel for the continuous resistance which is unlike any other resistance training you have ever done before.

Currently, we are using Proteus as an adjunct to conventional training involving our Arm Care and Med Ball programming. This gives our clients variable training environments to aid in motor learning, control, and carryover between common exercises and movement patterns. Below, I’ll demonstrate a few examples of exercises that we are performing with our clients:

Arm Care/Scapula Stabilizer strengthening, consisting of: D2 Flexion and Extension, Horizontal Abduction, External Rotation while simultaneously transitioning into Internal Rotation and lead arm stability during swing.

Med balls and Rotational Core Variations: Rotational Chops, Chop and Lift, Rotational Shotput, Split Stance Anti Rotation Chops as well as many others.

One of the foundational principles coached regardless of training method is the appropriate activation of your core during extremity movements for optimal stability and force transfer. Something that we notice with first-time users is the lack of awareness that they have throughout rotational control and power, which typically causes the athlete to lose their balance backwards during their first couple repetitions. Once an athlete’s neuromuscular system kicks in and maximizes full-body engagement, they make the needed adjustments to maintain balance appropriately during exercises. This challenge to the neuromuscular system eventually improves the client’s ability to properly sequence movements and create/transfer force, which subsequently improves the power production numbers Proteus tracks.

The sky is truly the limit with Proteus as the potential for possible exercises and movements is endless, making this exercise machine a potential one-stop-shop for workouts. This machine can be utilized for sports-performance training due to decreased restrictions on natural movement patterns or for an extremely effective total body routine, as you can seamlessly flow from one exercise to the next. This machine also allows easy resistance adjustments during a workout through Bluetooth controls for on-the-fly changes. The weight ranges from 1-35lbs, making it versatile for warm-up routines prior to powerlifts, sport-specific skill drills or training peak power production in multi-planar movements. The Proteus can also be extremely beneficial during rehabilitation due to visual feedback and tracking capabilities.

The Proteus also offers a wide range of metrics that can be tracked for each individual user to assess progress. This is helpful for re-assessments following an individual’s program, tracking improvements throughout the off-season, following an injury during rehabilitation or assessing fatigue during a periodization period. You can track power output (Watts), Acceleration, Deceleration, Endurance, and Consistency looking at the client’s ability to reproduce a specific movement. The pictures below provide you with a visual of what a post-test report might look like.

The report provides you with an in-depth analysis of your performance, comparing movement patterns or exercises bilaterally. It allows you to determine specific trends an athlete might have in fatigue or recovery management, helping the provider make necessary changes to programming. Results can be determined based on a single repetition, or a 3D graph can be created overlaying multiple repetitions. A cool feature included is the visual feedback of an entire motion throughout the length-tension curve, allowing you to assess strengths and weaknesses along the total path of motion pictured above. Moving forward, from a testing standpoint, we see ourselves using it extensively with:

a. objective measurement of shoulder strength tests in a standing (and therefore more functional) position

b. measuring rotational power - but peak and in terms of side-to-side comparisons

On this second point, there's a lot to be said for the ability of Proteus to slide into a relatively untapped portion of the force-velocity curve. Looking at this old video from EC, you can see that it could fit anywhere in the speed-strength to strength-speed aspect of this continuum - almost like a medicine ball that you can load more - but have to apply force over a greater distance. And, because it's concentric dominant action in nature, it could be trained frequently without making athletes really sore.

As you can see, Proteus is a versatile machine with broad application in peak performance training as well as rehabilitation and testing. It measures and tracks data on hard-to-measure patterns to assess an athlete’s progress, provide biofeedback, and train rotational sport athletes along the force-velocity curve in a safe way. We look forward to diving into the Proteus system’s capabilities even more in the future. We have only just begun to tap into the potential and vast capabilities of Proteus with testing and programing at our CSP-FL.

If you're interested in learning more, check them out at www.ProteusMotion.com.

About the Author

Tanner Allen received his Doctorate of Physical Therapy from the University of St. Augustine in 2019. After graduating, he completed an Internship at CSP-FL in the Fall of 2019. Tanner enjoys working with athletes of all ages and backgrounds on a continuum from rehabilitation following injury through sports performance training. He graduated from Valdosta State University in 2015 with a degree in Exercise Physiology and is a Certified Exercise Physiologist (ACSM-EP) as well as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS).

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CSP Elite Baseball Development Podcast: Speed Training with Lee Taft

We’re excited to welcome speed training expert Lee Taft to this week’s podcast for an awesome discussion of baseball movement competencies and how to coach them. Lee is highly qualified to work across all sports, but I've found his work to be particularly impactful in the baseball world. CSP-MA Director of Performance John O'Neil takes the lead as a guest host as well.

This is a timely podcast, as Lee's popular Certified Speed and Agility Specialist course is on sale for $150 off this week. I'm a huge fan of Lee and this resource - so much, in fact, that it was filmed at Cressey Sports Performance - Massachusetts. It's now required viewing for all our staff members. You can check it out and take advantage of the great discount HERE.

Show Outline

  • How Lee developed into the coach he is today
  • How Lee approaches youth athletic development
  • What the 7 movement patterns of speed are and how these principles translate into sport specific results
  • What is a lateral run step is, how Lee teaches it, and how it’s different from a traditional crossover step
  • How can base stealers optimize their setup to maximize acceleration
  • Why an initial step back with the lead leg is not a bad move first move for a base runner and why observing an athlete’s center of mass is more meaningful when addressing acceleration
  • What the upper body’s role is in creating efficient running patterns and how the arms specifically work for baserunners when stealing
  • How can infielders can improve their setup and defensive start position
  • Why the traditional defensive mindset of get your glove on the ground and be as low as you can is the wrong strategy for optimizing a player’s athleticism
  • How initial hand position and the movement of the arms work to propel the body out of the start position to fielding the ball
  • How outfielders can refine their defensive setup
  • How the incorporation of a split step into a defensive player’s approach can create a quicker initial move to the ball and help to expand a fielder’s range
  • What minute but key movement competencies Lee incorporates into athletes’ training, including the dissociation of their upper and lower half and learning to run an opposite direction your eyes are looking
  • How Lee incorporates curvilinear speed work into his athletes’ training
  • How deceleration isn’t emphasized enough when discussing qualities of position players
  • What the common compensations Lee sees in baseball players’ running mechanics are
  • What mistakes coaches are commonly making when teaching and training speed in the game of baseball
  • What principles Lee prioritizes when incorporating conditioning into athletes’ training
  • How Lee would implement conditioning into a baseball program’s training calendar and how he would apply his conditioning principles to specific scenarios like managing a pitchers’ workload between starts
  • What the priority training qualities are when working to train power in hitters
  • What med ball fake throws are and why are these specifically useful when training hitters
  • You can follow Lee on Twitter at @LeeTaft and Instagram at @LeeTaft.

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!

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CSP Elite Baseball Development Podcast: Setting the Coaching Guardrails with Butch Thompson

We’re excited to welcome Auburn University head coach Butch Thompson to this week’s podcast for a multi-faceted discussion that covers rising through the college coaching ranks; transitioning from a pitching to head coach; managing submarine/sidearm pitchers; analyzing fear; building a winning culture; assisting families through the recruiting process; and reflecting on the unprecedented times in the current baseball world.

This week, in lieu of a sponsor, I just wanted to pass along a friendly reminder that Cressey Sports Performance is now offering online consultations for baseball players who can't make it to our facilities. For more information, click here.

Show Outline

  • How Butch transitioned from player to coach and begin his coaching career
  • How the idea of range – being a generalist before a specialist – applies to becoming a baseball coach
  • What Butch’s biggest mistake was in his early years of coaching
  • How Butch managed the transition from pitching coach to head coach
  • What non-negotiable characteristics make a great pitcher great
  • How spin has always been a noticeable quality in a pitcher’s arsenal, but how advances in science and technology have allowed numerical values to help guide player development
  • How Butch defines a coach’s role
  • What Butch has done to have success with submarine and sidearm pitchers and how coaches can recruit a different look to add an edge to their team
  • How the business of college baseball has changed since Butch first started as a college coach
  • What differentiates Butch’s baseball program, Auburn, from other college programs
  • What the challenges facing college recruiting coordinators are today
  • Where parents and athletes are falling short in their pursuit to get recruited by SEC-caliber schools
  • What Butch’s ideal prospect email includes
  • How Butch creates unity and manages attitudes in an SEC locker room and why he instills the idea of responsibility over pride
  • Why Butch’s work as a head coach now involves more managing than skill development
  • Why Butch has been intrigued by fear and what five principles he recommends for minimizing and managing it
  • How players can find comfort with the current uncertainty in college baseball currently
  • How individuals can look past their fear and find opportunities to advance in tough times
  • You can follow Butch on Twitter at @3Strikes_AU.

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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