Baseball: Pro-Testing Numbers

About the Author: Eric Cressey

Of our pro baseball guys from this past off-season, two really surprised me with their pre-testing numbers.  Both broad jumped (standing long jump) less than 80 inches.  These results would put them in the 80th percentile of CP athletes – in the eighth grade!  As a little frame of reference, a 101-inch broad jump puts you on our high school record board (top 13).

Meanwhile, one of these guys was topping out at 94 mph, and the other was around 91-92 mph.  If you appreciate how big a challenge it is for the body to decelerate a fastball with that kind of velocity, then you’ll realize that it’s not a surprise that both of them had shoulder and elbow problems in their past.  At the other end of the spectrum, we had one pitcher who tested second out of 80 pitchers in his MLB organization, putting a 119-inch broad jump on the board.  Another pitcher finished 5th of of 165 players (pitchers and position guys) in his organization, including a 35-inch vertical.  However, as much as I’d like to talk about valgus-extension overload and why I think distance running for pitchers is moronic, that’s not the direction I’m going to take.

Rather, I’m going to talk about how many high school and junior high school kids (and their parents) think that they need to emulate the programs these guys are on.  Frankly, while the program the former two pitchers are on might be appropriate for some of these guys (or undertrain a large percentage of our high school athletes), the programs I put some of the more advanced athletes on would totally throw a 15-year-old under the bus.

To take it a step further, back in February, a Cressey Performance client was front squatting against chains – and when he finished, he set up the trap bar for some slighly higher rep work.  We had an intern in town for the week, and he quickly turned to me and said, “Squat and deadlift in the same day?  Won’t that be too much on his central nervous system?”  Yes, CNS fatigue is a huge issue for a 43-year-old father of two who has just over one year of training experience under his belt (I added a mildly sarcastic wink here).

With that in mind, I denounced “canned,” or “cookie-cutter” programs because I felt that they’d do more harm than good.  Eventually, though, I changed my mind – to a degree.

The cookie-cutter programs are still atrocious (some things never change), but the scary part is that most people do even worse when they put their own programs together!  We’ve got a) guys who are virtually untrained, b) guys who are highly trained, and c) guys who are completely overthinking things because they think they’re more advanced than they are.  And, they’re all on the same canned programs!

The solution to all these problems, I’ve found, is to qualify your recommendations if you’re going to create a pre-made program.  Take my new book, for instance.

My experience has been that the overwhelming majority of those who read internet articles at the sites for which I write are in the intermediate category.  They’ve got an idea of some of the basics of exercise technique, but definitely want to get bigger and stronger.  However, they don’t have a road map of how to get to where they want to be – especially in light of some mobility deficits, nutritional shortcomings, and a lot of conflicting information from various sources.

So, I make it clear that this book isn’t for the complete beginner – and it probably won’t be right for a world-record holder.  However, if you’re somewhere in the middle, have about $20 tol spare, and would like a good read – pick up a copy.

“Eric Cressey continues to excel as an author and a coach.  Maximum Strength is an outstanding resource for anyone looking to enhance strength and mobility.”

Sean Skahan, M.Ed., C.S.C.S. – Strength and Conditioning Coach, Anaheim Ducks

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