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A Good Rule of Thumb for Working with Injured Pitchers

If you have a pitcher athlete with good shoulder ROM (normal GIRD and symmetrical total motion), sufficient thoracic spine mobility, good scapular stability, and adequate tissue quality who has rehabbed and long-tossed pain-free, but has shoulder/elbow pain when he gets back on the mound, CHECK THE HIPS! Staying closed and flying open will be your two most common culprits; this cannot be seen in a doctor's office!  Changing lead leg positioning is a quick way to indirectly (and negatively) impact the position of the arm.  Guys who stay closed have to throw across their body, and guys who fly open often have problems with the arm trailing too far behind (out of the scapular plane). For more information, check out the Optimal Shoulder Performance DVD Set. Sign-up Today for our FREE Baseball Newsletter and Receive a Copy of the Exact Stretches used by Cressey Performance Pitchers after they Throw!
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Pitchers vs. Quarterbacks vs. Swimmers

Q: I know that you're tops when it comes to keeping baseball guys (especially pitchers) healthy and performing at the top level. How would your approach to training baseball players in general, and pitchers more specifically, differ when working with somewhat similar athletes such as: (a) football quarterbacks (b) swimmers other than backstrokers (c) swimmers specializing in the back stroke I realize there would be obvious differences, especially for C, since that is actually the opposite of pitching, so I'd love to hear some of your general thoughts on this. A: This is actually a great question.  I guess it's one of those things you do subconsciously and then think about after the fact.  I'm assuming you are referring to the shoulder and elbow demands in particular, so I'll start with that. Training football quarterbacks and pitchers would be virtually identical in terms of demands on the hips, ankles, and shoulders.   Anecdotal experience tells me that there would be a higher correlation between hip dysfunction and shoulder/elbow problems in pitchers than in quarterbacks, though. Swimmers would be similar at the shoulder, but I don't see the same kind of correlation b/t hip and shoulder dysfunction.   Obviously, though, issues like scapular stability, thoracic spine range-of-motion, and tissue quality would all be present in all three populations. Backstrokers would have comparable scapular stabilization demands, but different glenohumeral rotation patterns. With them, you assess total shoulder rotation and go from there (this is my strategy with everyone, but it just warrants extra mention in this discussion). Above all, you've got to realize that while you might see trends in different athletic populations, each one is still unique, so assessment tells you what you need to know. For instance, I have a few pro pitchers throwing well over 90mph, and from looking at their shoulders, you'd never know they had ever thrown a baseball in their lives.  At initial testing (i.e., right after the long season ended), the total motion among my eleven pro pitchers from this past off-season ranged from 133 degrees to 186 degrees. The guy with 186 degrees actually had more external rotation (135 degrees) than the least "lax" guy had in total motion!

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So, a guy with a 3/4 arm slot is going to have different adaptive changes than a guy who is more over-the-top or sidearm - and you can certainly carry those variations across the board to different throwing styles in football, and the wide variety of shoulders you'll see in a swimming population that might be proficient in more than one stroke. Related Posts: Flexibility Deficits in Pitchers The Truth About Impingement: Part 2

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Static Posture Assessment Mistakes: Part 2

In a continuation of last Tuesday's post, here's another common mistake you'll see in the static posture of overhead throwing athletes.  Many times, folks will see a low-shoulder like the one below and automatically assume is means "scoliosis."

low-shoulder

In reality, this is a function of both the structural and functional adaptations that take place in a baseball pitcher's shoulder girdle over the course of a throwing career.  I am not of the belief that you can altogether eliminate this, given the structural adaptations that have taken place over the course of years of throwing. However, I firmly believe (and have observed frequently) that as long as one normalized range of motion and strength/stability of the rotator cuff and scapular stabilizers, modest improvements in this posture can come about. Phil Donley goes into great detail on this topic in his presentation in the 2008 Ultimate Pitching Coaches Bootcamp DVD Set.

It is worth mentioning that in some populations, this may be a function of an ankle, hip, lower back, or other issues.

For more assessment information, check out Building the Efficient Athlete.

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Medicine Ball Madness

EricCressey.com Subscriber-Only Q&A Q: My question pertains to medicine ball workouts for pitchers.   Are they only off-season training drills, or can I do them with my pitchers between starts? And, are there good ones for pitchers arms, in particular?  I know you mentioned doing some one-arm drills with your pitchers. A: It's safe to say that we probably do more medicine ball work than anyone on the planet.  In fact, we've broken 17 medicine balls (16 featured in this photo) thus far this off-season.

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Our destruction of medicine balls has been so epic that our equipment supplier actually asked us if we were throwing them against a wall with "jagged edges," as nobody had ever had similar problems, much less with as much regularity.  So, suffice it to say that we hammer on medicine ball work a ton in the off-season, and the useful life of a ball around here is 4-6 weeks.  But, I don't want to digress... After the season ends, pitchers usually get a two-week break from anything that involves overhead throwing or rapid elbow extension after they are done throwing before we integrate any of this.  Position players start right up with it. I think it's crucial to start up right away so that you can teach proper scap and hip loading so that guys will get the most out of it when the time comes to throw with more volume and complex exercises that help to maintain pitching-specific mobility, as Stanford-bound Sahil Bloom shows:

We typically go 3x/week medicine ball work with anywhere from 80 to 120 throws (never more than eight per set) per session from October through December (the last month overlaps with throwing programs where these guys are just tossing - nothing too challenging).  This continues right up through spring training for all our position players.  For pitchers, though, as January rolls around, we add in more bullpens and aggressive long tossing (and weighted balls, for some guys), and the medicine ball work drops off to two times a week with less volume and a more conservative exercise selection.  This twice a week set-up goes right through Spring Training. We always pair our medicine ball work with various mobilizations so that guys are addressing flexibility deficits instead of just standing around.  It might be thoracic spine and hip mobility drills from Assess and Correct.  Combining these mobilizations with all our medicine ball work, warm-ups, foam rolling/massage, and the static stretching programs guys are on, we have no concerns about pitchers "tightening up" with lifting.  Blue Jays prospect Tim Collins doesn't seem to be all "muscle-bound" here, for instance:

I don't do a ton of medicine ball work in-season with my higher level guys; it's usually once every five days.  A lot of the focus is on the non-dominant side.  So, a right-handed pitcher would do more rotational stuff from the left side to keep as much symmetry as possible.  With high school athletes, on the other hand, I see no reason why you can't use a slightly higher volume of medicine ball drills in-season.  Kids are resilient and in many cases, undertrained, so there is always a big window of adaptation ahead of them. With respect to the one-arm smaller medicine ball work, we use those two variations around this time of year.  It's usually just two sets of eight reps right after throwing sessions twice a week.  I like the idea of consolidating the stress with throwing outings.  That said, there are some people that do them as warm-ups prior to throwing.  Here, Atlanta Braves prospect Chad Rodgers demonstrates a few with a 1kg (2.2lb) ball.

As a random aside, off to the side in this video, you'll see how we tend to pair mobility/activation movements with power training, as Royals catching prospect Matt Morizio goes back and forth from clap push-ups to scapular wall slides.

This is really just the tip of the iceberg, so for more information, I would encourage you to check out our resource, Functional Stability Training; it is incredibly thorough, including plenty of options for both off- and in-season medicine ball work. Enter your email below to subscribe to our FREE newsletter:
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The Best Baseball Resource Out There

This is a bold subject line, I know, but I really do feel that strongly about it.  And, I'm honored to be one of the speakers featured on the "ticket" for this DVD set.  In fact, I feel so strongly that I'm going to kick in a sweet bonus for anyone who purchases, so read on. Multiple times each week, I have someone ask me why I haven't gotten my act together and put together a baseball product.  My response is always the same: "There is a ton to cover, and just when I feel like I'm ready to put something in writing and on tape, I evolve a little bit more.  Plus, I just don't have time right now because I'm so busy actually training players that I don't have the time to give such a project the attention it deserves." Fortunately for me, though, Ron Wolforth brought together some of the best minds in the business at his Ultimate Pitching Coaches Bootcamp in December - and what resulted was a great product that should be a part of the libraries of EVERY baseball coach, baseball strength coach, and baseball parent.  This DVD set really is that good simply because it's so versatile.  Here is what you get: Brent Strom- St. Louis Cardinals- The Histrionics of Pitching Mechanics- Separating Fact from Fiction: a Return to 'Classic Mechanics'. The Key Mechanical Efficiencies: Intent, Momentum, Rhythm and Tempo, Arm Action & Pelvic Loading Ron Wolforth-Pitching Central- Neuromuscular Blending- Getting your Drills to transfer over to the Game  & Pitchers on the Ropes - Assisting your pitchers to be explosive, dynamic and durable using ropes and chains Eric Cressey- Cressey Performance- Building The Complete and Superior Pitching Athlete- The Common Myths and misconceptions regarding strength development and conditioning of the pitching athlete which actually inhibit or constrain their performance and development. Phil Donley- What is GIRD? Why is it a problem for pitchers? How to prevent it and treat it!-What is a Sick Scapula? Why is it a problem for pitchers? How to prevent it and treat it!-What are common Mobility and Asymmetry Issues for Pitchers? Why every pitching coach in America should pay attention to their pitcher's mobility and core asymmetries? How to identify issues, prevent them and correct them. Perry Husband- Understanding the Concept of Effective Velocity Joe Fletcher-The Recovery Process for Pitchers. How one can greatly enhance a pitcher's recovery via nutrition, the food/ fuel you consume, the type and duration of your workouts, your mechanical efficiencies and your mental/emotional states Tom Hanson-The Mental Side of Pitching Andy Whitney- Using Kettlebells in Baseball Essentially, you've got an exhaustive research for dealing with baseball players - and pitchers, in particular.  The majority of us presenters were involved in hands-on sessions where we went over assessments and training strategies - and the panel Q&A sessions were great as well. I can tell you that the stuff in my presentation is a lot of information that I hadn't put in writing or seminar format prior to this date, and it details a lot of what I do with my high school, college, and professional ballplayers. And, if you are interested in preventing elbow and shoulder issues, you absolutely have to see Phil Donley speak.  It should be "required viewing" for any coach, trainer, and physical therapist that deals with baseball players.  A long-time rehabilitation consultant for the Phillies, Phil is absolutely brilliant and has rehabilitated loads of multi-million dollar arms. Ron and Brent are the guys pushing the envelope for pitching coaches to think outside the box and do special things with athletes.  Ron's Baseball Ranch down in Houston has produced LOADS of guys throwing 90+mph in recent years. Perry Husband's presentation absolutely blew me away.  This guy charted every pitch in Major League Baseball in 2004 and came up with some awesome conclusions that can really dictate pitch selection. So, effectively, you've got a resource that will teach you performance enhancement, injury prevention, strategic planning, and regeneration.  It's already an incredible value, but I'm going to sweeten the deal: From now until midnight on Saturday February 14, if you purchase the Ultimate Pitching Coaches Bootcamp DVD set and forward your email confirmation receipt to ec@ericcressey.com, I'll send you a free e-version of my Ultimate Off-Season Manual, which has never been available as an e-book - until now.  This is a $99 value and the offer won't be around for long, so pick up a copy of the UPCBC DVD Set now!

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Back Squatting with a Posterior Labral Tear?

Q:  I'm a baseball pitcher who was diagnosed with a posterior labral tear.  Since I was young and the doctor didn't feel that the tear was too extensive, he recommended physical therapy and not surgery.  I'm still training the rest of my body hard, but am finding that I can't back squat because it causes pain in the shoulder.  Any idea why and what I can do to work around this? A: It isn't surprising at all, given the typical SLAP injury mechanism in overhead throwing athletes.  If there is posterior cuff tightness (and possibly capsule tightness, depending on who you ask), the humeral head will translate upward in that abducted/externally rotated position.  In other words, the extreme cocking position and back squat bar position readily provoke labral problems once they are in place. The apprehension test is often used to check for issues like this, as they are commonly associated with anterior instability.  Not surprisingly, it's a test that involves maximal external rotation to provoke pain:

apprehension-test

The relocation aspect of the test involves the clinician pushing the humeral head posteriorly to relieve pain.  If that relocation relieves pain, the test is positive, and you're dealing with someone who has anterior instability.  So, you can see why back squatting can irritate a shoulder with a posterior labrum problem: it may be the associated anterior instability, the labrum itself, or a combination of those two factors (and others!). On a related note, most pitchers report that when they feel their SLAP lesion occur on a specific pitch, it takes place right as they transition from maximal external rotation to forward acceleration.  This is where the peel-back mechanism (via the biceps tendon on the labrum) is most prominent.  That's one more knock against back squatting overhead athletes. If you're interested in reading further, Mike Reinold has some excellent information on SLAP lesions in overhead throwing athletes in two great blog posts: Top 5 Things You Need to Know about a Superior Labral Tear Clinical Examination of Superior Labral Tears The solutions are pretty simple: work with front squats, single-leg work (dumbbells or front squat grip), and deadlift variations. If you have access to specialty bars like the giant cambered bar and/or safety squat bar, feel free to incorporate work with them.

And, alongside that, work in a solid rehabilitation program that focuses not only on the glenohumeral joint, but also scapular stability and thoracic spine mobility. Sign-up Today for our FREE Baseball Newsletter and Receive a Copy of the Exact Stretches used by Cressey Performance Pitchers after they Throw!

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Plyometrics and Unstable Surface Training

Two weeks ago, I made it clear that a lot of folks were missing the boat with respect to baseball strength and conditioning by insisting that "plyos are all you need." And, last week, I discussed how strength and reactive ability have interacted in some successful players in professional baseball, and how those qualities should dictate how an athlete trains. This week, though, I'm going to throw you for a little loop and tell you that the static-spring continuum means absolutely NOTHING for a lot of athletes.  Why? You must first understand that each stretch-shortening cycle (SSC) activity involves three distinct phases: 1. eccentric (deceleration, preloading) 2. amortization (isometric, pause) 3. concentric (propulsion) phases. As I discussed in great detail in The Truth About Unstable Surface Training, Komi (2003) outlined three fundamental conditions required for an effective SSC action (1): 1. "a well-timed preactivation of the muscles before the eccentric phase" [we need our muscles to be ready to go to decelerate] 2. "a short and fast eccentric phase" [deceleration has to occur quickly, as the faster the rate of stretch, the more energy the musculotendon complex stores] 3. "immediate transition (short delay) between stretch and shortening (concentric) phases." [if we spend too much time paused at the bottom, the stored energy is lost as heat instead of being used for subsequent force production] So, what I'm really saying is that if you don't have a decent foundation of strength, training reactive ability - or even considering where you stand on the static-spring continuum - is a waste of time.  Weak athletes need to have the strength (and rate of force development, for that matter) to decelerate with control in order to allow for fast eccentric and amoritization phases to occur. I'd estimate that 60% of the young athletes who walk through my door on their first day to train are nowhere near strong enough to derive considerable benefit from "classic" plyos.  Sure, they need to learn deceleration and landing mechanics and pick up some sprinting techniques, but the true progress comes from the resistance training they do. Now, let's apply this to baseball, a sport where good strength and conditioning is still yet to be appreciated - and many athletes go directly from high school to the professional ranks without ever having touched a weight in their lives.  As a result, many baseball athletes don't have the underlying strength to effectively make use of the reactive training that typifies the training presented to them. And, in many cases, it will take a long time to get it during the season in the minor leagues, where they'll have competing demands (games, practice, travel) and limited equipment access.  It's why I've seen several professional baseball players come my way with vertical jumps of less than 20".  As a frame of reference, you need to be over 28.5" to be in the top 13 on my HIGH SCHOOL record board. Pro athletes?  Really? These guys can be conundrums from a training standpoint, as you have to realize that sprinting is possibly the single-most reactive/plyometric training drill there is; we are talking roughly four times body weight in ground reaction forces with each stride - and that's in single-leg stance.  So, we have somewhat of an injury predisposition, but more important, it comes down to training economy.  They aren't strong enough (relative to their body weight) to get much out of the sprinting, and would benefit more from strength training, bilateral jumping variations, and single-leg low hops.  However, they need to jump and sprint as part of their profession, so we've got to prepare them for that as well.

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All that in mind, the problem isn't traditional strength and conditioning, in my eyes.  It builds a solid base of strength for many athletes and helps to increase body weight, which in itself is a predictive factor for velocity.  However, the shortcomings of this S&C occur when coaches don't understand how to modify traditional strength and conditioning to suit the needs of the baseball athlete.  And, problems kick in when folks don't appreciate that even just a little bit of strength goes a long way. New Blog Content Random Friday Thoughts Inverted Row Ignorance Maximum Strength Feedback: 1/20/09 Stuff You Should Read: 1/22/09 All the Best, EC References 1. Komi, PV. Stretch-shortening cycle. In: Strength and Power in Sport (2nd Ed.) P.V. Komi, ed. Oxford: Blackwell, 2003: 184-202. Sign-up Today for our FREE Baseball Newsletter and Receive a Copy of the Exact Stretches used by Cressey Performance Pitchers after they Throw!
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Random Friday Thoughts: 1/30/09

1. I'm speaking at the Massachusetts High School Baseball Coaches Association's Annual Clinic this morning, so this week's random thoughts will be somewhat abbreviated.  I didn't even have time to pick out this week's music selection, so you have to settle for this dude getting owned!

2. Speaking of baseball, one thing I'll be discussing in some detail is hip flexion range-of-motion asymmetries in pitchers.  You'll almost always see far more hamstrings flexibility on the front leg for obvious reasons, but it's also important to consider how throwing styles contribute to this issue.  Guys who throw on stiff front legs are ones who will most commonly present with big asymmetries.  Justin Verlander would be a great example:

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Guys like Verlander need to pay close attention to maintaining adequate length of the right hamstrings (the opposite would be true of a left-handed pitcher).  Conversely, a guy like Greg Maddux who - at the same point in his throwing motion - is more flexed on the front knee, generally won't have big issues in this regard (although they should still be assessed and addressed).

Rockies Padres Baseball

Leaving these issues unaddressed can lead to a host of problems, most notably hamstrings strains on the back leg. 3. Manuel Buitrago has put some excellent Olympic lifting demonstrations online to help those of you at home who are trying to pick up these complex lifts on your own.  Here's a little sample:

For more videos just like this, check out Manuel's YouTube page and the facility where he trains.

4. While I think it's awesome that a lot of folks are finally catching on that glute activation is important for both injury prevention and rehabilitation, a lot of folks have lost sight of the fact that you have to be careful about just training the glutes in hip extension.  It's also very important to pay attention to theirs roles as external rotators and abductors.  Once you've mastered bilateral movements in the sagittal plane (e.g., supine bridges), you need to get into single-leg and emphasis movements like bowler squats and lunges with reaches to various positions.  These are great inclusions in the warm-up, and we highlight several options in our Magnificent Mobility DVD.

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And, to take it a step further, you've got to load up those single-leg movements and challenge frontal plane stability to lay some strength down on top of those newly discovered movement strategies.

5. In light of the flexibility/mobility tone of this series of random thoughts, I thought it might be a good time to remind you that "creep" typically sets in at about 20 minutes.  So, if you've been sitting at your desk reading for longer than that, it'd probably be a good idea to stand up for a few minutes, Quasimodo.

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Injury Prevention for Pitchers

In last week's newsletter, I observed that there are a lot of folks out there who think that weight training is unnecessary and plyometrics are sufficient for injury prevention and performance enhancement in pitchers. While a system like this might hold some merit in a population such as football where many athletes already have a large strength foundation, it doesn't work as well in a baseball population, which doesn't have that same foundation. To illustrate my point, I'm going to touch on a concept - static-spring proficiency - that I covered at length in my Ultimate Off-Season Training Manual.  Essentially, you have "static" athletes, "spring" athletes, and everything in between the two.  You can use a series of performance tests and evaluate an athlete's training history to get an appreciation for where each athlete falls on this continuum.

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"Static" athletes tend to have a good strength foundation - so much, in fact, that they tend to "muscle" everything.  In other words, there is less efficient use of the stretch-shortening cycle to produce force.  An example might be a powerlifter attempting to go out and play basketball.  In order to improve, a "static" athlete needs to focus on improving reactive ability. "Spring" athletes are great at using stored elastic energy in tendons to produce power.  An example would be a basketball or volleyball player who has been jumping for years and years to develop spring, but without much attention to building the underlying strength needed to best use it.  So, obviously, to improve, these athletes need to enhance muscular strength while maintaining their great elastic qualities. Here's an excerpt from my Off-Season Manual that personifies this in the world of baseball: "The modern era of baseball is a great example, as we've had several homerun hitters who have all been successful - albeit by very different means. "At the 'spring' end of the continuum, we have hitters like Gary Sheffield and Vladimir Guerrero demonstrating incredible bat speed. The ball absolutely rockets off their bats; they aren't 'muscling' their homeruns at all. Doing a lot of extra training for bat speed would be overkill for these guys; they'll improve their power numbers by increasing maximal strength alone.

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"At the other end of the spectrum, we have 'static' homerun hitters like Mark McGwire and Jeff Bagwell, both of whom were well known for taking weight training very seriously. These guys are the ones 'muscling' baseballs out of the ballpark; the ball almost seems to sit on the barrel of the bat for a split-second before they "flip it" 500 feet. Getting stronger might help these guys a bit, but getting more spring by focusing on bat speed with reactive training (e.g., plyometrics, sprinting, medicine ball throws, ballistic push-ups, etc.) would be a more sure-fire means to improvement. "Then, we have the 'middle-of-the-road' guys like Barry Bonds and Manny Ramirez. They possess an excellent blend of static and spring, so they need to train some of both to continue improving physically. "Bonds is actually a good example of how an athlete's position on the static-spring continuum can change over the course of a career. When he started out, he was definitely a 'spring' guy, hitting most of his homeruns with pure bat speed. As Bonds' career progressed, his maximal strength improved due to neural adaptations and increased cross sectional area (more muscle mass).

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"In light of the media attention surrounding the use of performance-enhancing substances in baseball, I should mention how he increased his muscle mass isn't the issue in question in the discussion at hand. The point is that he did increase muscle mass, which increased maximal strength, which favorably affected performance. The performance enhancing substances question really isn't of concern to this discussion." Now, here's where it gets interesting - and where you get a bit more time to think about this. Obviously, even to the most casual observer, not all baseball players are like Manny Ramirez, Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Jeff Bagwell, Gary Sheffield, and Vladimir Guerrero.  This isn't rocket science; they are/were a heck of a lot more skilled and experienced than the overwhelming majority of the professional baseball world, and certainly all of the amateur ranks. How are they different?  And, why can't we just assume what might work for some of them will work for those aiming to reach the levels they've attained? Well, you'll just have to think about that until Newsletter 141... New Blog Content Random Friday Thoughts Sunday Thoughts Push-ups for Baseball Players Stuff You Should Read All the Best, EC Sign-up Today for our FREE Baseball Newsletter and Receive a Copy of the Exact Stretches used by Cressey Performance Pitchers after they Throw!
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Baseball and Strength

Free Teleseminar Series at SportsRehabExpert.com I just wanted to give you all a heads-up on a great audio series - Sports Rehab to Sports Performance - that Joe Heiler has pulled together.  I'll was interviewed on Friday, and Joe's also chatted will Mike Boyle, Gray Cook, Kyle Kiesel, Stuart McGill, Phil Plisky, Brett Jones, and Charlie Weingroff.   The entire interview series is COMPLETELY FREE and begins airing later tomorrow night.  You can get more information HERE. Also, don't forget that the third annual Mike Boyle Strength & Conditioning Winter Seminar is fast approaching.  For more information, click here. Snowy Sunday Sentiments Yesterday, in an email exchange I was having with some guys who are really "in the know" in the world of baseball pitching, one of them commented that pitchers need to start thinking more along the lines of training like Troy Polamalu of the Pittsburgh Steelers.  In other words, less external loading, more pure-body weight drills, and a big focus on reactive ability (plyometrics drills, for the lay population). I'll be the first to recognize Polamalu's accomplishments on the field - including an interception return for a touchdown yesterday.  And, I admit that I don't know much about his training philosophy aside from what I have seen in 3-4 minute YouTube and NFL clips.  So, I guess you could say that my point of contention is with what some folks take from viewing these clips, as was the case with this email exchange.  So, I'll be very clear that I'm not criticizing the Sportslab philosophy; I'd love to buy these guys lunch and pick their brains, in fact. However, I've got two cents to add - or maybe even three our four cents, depending on how poorly the American dollar is doing nowadays.  I'm writing this on a snowy day in Massachusetts and I've got a little bit of extra time on my hands (a rarity during the baseball off-season for me). I think that it is wrong to assume that weight training is unnecessary and plyometrics are sufficient for injury prevention and performance enhancement in pitchers.  This is a common belief held among a large body of pitching coaches that I feel really needs to be addressed. The fundamental problem I see is that a system that relies extensively on training elastic qualities.  Or, in the terminology I like to use, it teaches an athlete to be more "spring," making better use of elastic energy from the tendons.  This works best in an athlete who is largely static, or has a solid base of muscular strength. Who would be a static athlete?  Well, one example would be an athlete who gained a lot of strength in the previous four years...say, Troy Polamalu.  He was a first-round draft pick out of USC, known for a good program under strength and conditioning coach Chris Carlisle.  They've packed lots of muscle and strength on loads of high school guys over the years, no doubt.  Polamalu may not realize it, but those four years of USC training probably set him up for the positive results he's seeing in this program - especially when you compare him to a good chunk of the NFL that now uses machine-based HIT training because they're afraid of weight-room injuries. Basically, for the most part, only the freaky athletes make it to the "big dance" in football, so the S&C coach is responsibly for not hurting them.   It's not much different in the world of baseball - but we're dealing with a MORE TRAINED population in the first place. I'm sure that many of you have read Moneyball (and if you haven't, you should).  One thing that they touch on over and over again is that high school draft picks don't pan out as well as college draft picks.

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Sure, it has to do with facing better hitters and maturing another four years psychologically.  However, one factor that nobody ever touches on is that these college draft picks have another four years of strength and conditioning under their belt in most cases.  It may not be baseball-specific in many cases, but I would definitely argue that it's better than nothing.  Strength goes a long way, but physiologically and psychologically. And, that's what I want you to think about until my next newsletter comes out - when I'll get a bit more to the science of all this, and how it's been demonstrated in professional baseball. New Blog Content Random Friday Thoughts How to Make an Exercise Tougher Another CP Intern on the Road to Diesel Frozen Ankles, Ugly Squatting Until next time, train hard and have fun. EC Sign-up Today for our FREE Baseball Newsletter and Receive a Copy of the Exact Stretches used by Cressey Performance Pitchers after they Throw!
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