Home Posts tagged "Cressey Sports Performance"

Prone External Rotation Compensation Patterns

Today, I've got a quick look at a common arm care substitution pattern we see when throwers are working on end-range external rotation. In the comparison video below, on the left, as the athlete gets to about 90 degrees of external rotation, he transitions to elbow flexion rather than using his posterior cuff to create clean external rotation. In the corrected version on the right, he slows it down and is able to actively tap into more of his (significant) passive ER.

You may also see athletes flock to elbow extension instead of ER, particularly when using bands/cables in the standing position. With that said, give this lengthier video I did previously a watch if you want to really dig in on the ways this drill can go wrong - but also how to progress it once you've got the technique locked in.

For folks who really struggle to compete against gravity with this, we can stand them up and work off the edge of a rack or doorway:

If you're interested in learning more about how we evaluate, coach, and program at the shoulder, be sure to check out my popular resource, Sturdy Shoulder Solutions.

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Individualization and the College Baseball Athlete

Training little kids - 9-12-year-olds - isn't that challenging. Most are hypermobile and weak, so the foundational programs can larger look the same. Keep things fun and maintain their attention, and good things happen. This population can do amazingly with one program on the dry erase board.

In the 13-15-year-old group, things can get a little tougher because some kids have hit a huge growth, spurt, and others look more like the "gumby" 11-year-old. Most kids do fine with twice a week strength and conditioning work.

At ages 16-18, the training frequency ramps up. By junior and senior years, we see kids who are at the facility 4-6 times per week in some capacity. If they've been consistent over the years, there should be a great strength foundation, so they can start to do some cool stuff with force-velocity profiling, prioritizing different aspects of speed and rotational development, etc. I wrote an entire article about this previously: Strength in the Teenage Years: An Overlooked Long-Term Athletic Development Competitive Advantage.

The previous three paragraphs shouldn't seem revolutionary to anyone, but what's often overlooked are the challenges that come on the college front in the years that follow. The 17-18 year-olds that report to a college campus are not a homogenous group. Some have no strength and conditioning experience, and others have a ton. A college strength coach who's on his/her own with 30+ athletes of all training and chronological ages has a tall task if individualization is the goal, especially if they have to all train in narrow scheduling windows (e.g., right after practice).

As a result, you'll often see players who thrive in the first year or two on campus. They put on 15 pounds, get a ton stronger, and start throwing harder. Then, in years 3-4, they actually regress. What initially worked great (often heavy, bilateral loading) shifts to diminishing and even negative returns, leaving athletes banged up and with a loss of range of motion. It's not a knock on college strength and conditioning coaches; it's actually more of an acknowledgement that they're put in a really hard situation with too many athletes with many different needs all in the same limited time windows.

My own research has shown that in pro ball across all levels, MLB organizations range from roughly 11 athletes per strength and conditioning coach to ~27 athletes per coach. In other words, the least staffed MLB organization still has a better ratio than the most well staffed college setup, and the somewhat "staggered" daily pro schedule is more accommodating to individualization with varied training times.

In the private sector (at least at Cressey Sports Performance), our athlete-to-coach ratios are even smaller, so we are able to chase a significant degree of individualization based on the results of evaluations across multiple departments.

There's a ton of flexibility on scheduling and adjusting training times on the fly. And, perhaps most importantly, it can take place across departments, with communication among strength and conditioning coaches, pitching coaches, hitting coaches, analysts, physical therapists, and massage therapists. When communication is streamlined, individualization success skyrockets.

I think this is one reason why you have seen more and more pitchers step away from playing summer baseball to chase development. During the school year, they get an education, high level competition, and dedicated skill development work while sacrificing a bit on the strength and conditioning side of things, as well as overall continuity (you don't necessarily know when you're going to pitch). With a summer of training, you get a high level of strength and conditioning individualization, continuity (predictable plans), and dedicated skill work (e.g., pitch design) while sacrificing on the competition and education sides of things (although I'd argue that it's a different kind of education).

Unfortunately, outside of very select opportunities, summer ball doesn't really give you a high level of anything: strength and conditioning, skill development, nutrition, travel dynamics, continuity, education, or even competition. Rather, you get a bit of each, and there may be some that fall well short of expectations.

If you want to develop more than the rest, you need to prioritize certain adaptations. Maybe that's gaining 20 pounds, developing an outlier pitch, adding 4mph, or building overall work capacity. If you chase five rabbits at once, they all get away.

This is one reason why we rolled out our 10-week college summer pitching development programs at our Florida and Massachusetts facilities. We saw a need to help college arms structure their summers in individualized ways that were more conducive to development - and the results have been outstanding, with participants averaging 4+ mph fastball velocity gains in both locations. You can learn more about how we attack development in these programs at the following links:

Florida: The CSP Pro Experience

Massachusetts: CSP Collegiate Elite Baseball Development

 

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“Designer” Pitches, Horizontal Movement, and the Pitching Injury Epidemic

Just a few weeks ago, Texas Rangers team doctor and renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. Keith Meister gave a fantastic interview about the current state of arm injuries in baseball. He made a lot of good points, but one that particularly intrigued me was his commentary on how "designer pitches" were to blame for some of the challenges we're facing in today's game. In case you missed the interview, tune in starting around the 2:00 mark to get his take.

Sure enough, if you examine Major League Baseball injured lists right now, you'll see a lot of players who recently added a lot of horizontal movement on injured lists. In particular, the sweeper (a newer designation for a slider with considerable horizontal movement) seems to at least have a loose association with increased injured risk to the naked eye. In Dr. Meister's words, "to create horizontal ball movement, you've got to grip the crap out of the baseball, and then you have to cut it. Either pronate it hard, or supinate it hard with a very, very firm grip. And it's causing this eccentric load on the muscles on the inner side of the elbow and then everywhere up the kinetic chain."

To reframe this, new movement patterns are stressors. Go do five sets of ten reps on stiff-leg deadlifts, and let me know how your hamstrings feel 36 hours later. Try to do it again - or sprint at full velocity - in the days that follow, and it's probably not going to work out well for you. Eccentric stress involves a lot of muscle damage, and that stress is magnified when you layer novelty and the stress of competition in the single fastest motion in all of sports (pitching) on top of it.

In a real-world example that might resonate a bit more, check out this NY Times article about Lance Armstrong's first marathon in 2006: In Under Three Hours, Armstrong Learns Anew About Pain and Racing. Here's a key excerpt:

Exhausted and nearly walking, Armstrong crossed the finish line in 2 hours 59 minutes 36 seconds. He was 869th, with a pace of 6:51 a mile.

“I can tell you, 20 years of pro sports, endurance sports, from triathlons to cycling, all of the Tours — even the worst days on the Tours — nothing was as hard as that, and nothing left me feeling the way I feel now, in terms of just sheer fatigue and soreness,” he said, looking spent, at a news conference.

The marathon was Armstrong’s first major athletic endeavor since retiring from cycling in 2005, and he said he had not prepared for the race as he should have.

In less than a year, arguably the most accomplished cyclist of all time had become an absolute injury risk in a different athletic endeavor: running. He was able to gut his way through it with mental fortitude and (likely) the fact that his aerobic base stuck around really well. However, localized muscular endurance and tissue resilience was what faltered first.

Do you think an 18-year-old college freshman learning a sweeper on Twitter and then throwing it in a competitive game at a 40% usage clip the next day is any different? I do - because it's actually far worse.

High velocity pitching with dozens of safeguards - pitch counts, meticulous arm care programs, manual therapy, close technological scrutinization of mechanics - is still very high risk. But the risk profile becomes astronomically higher when you can learn a new pitch/approach quickly and roll it out in games at the highest levels of competition before you've had a chance to build up sufficient tissue strength and extensibility - and skill-specific work capacity.

I've had a number of conversations with Max Scherzer over the years about how he developed his curveball. It was a year of conversations with teammates about their grips; experimenting with grips; and playing catch with it before it appeared in bullpens and, in turn, games. He adjusted his training to incorporate a bit more direct eccentric biceps work to account for the slightly different movement pattern. His usage over the years:

2012: 3%
2013: 6%
2014: 10%
2015: 8%
2016: 8%
2017: 8%
2018: 8%
2019: 9%
2020: 9%
2021: 10%
2022: 9%
2023: 13%

It was a gradual, calculated process to determine not only how his body responded, but how its inclusion impacted the rest of his pitching arsenal. To this day, he's never thrown more than 23 curveballs in a game. The process had to be gradual, in part, because there wasn't technology available to accelerated the learning curve.

In contrast, thanks to advanced modern technology (namely ball tracking devices like Trackman and Rapsodo; high-speed cameras; and increased access to biomechanical analysis), pitchers can now pick up new pitches extremely quickly.

And, teams can better evaluate just how nasty these pitches are in their pitch grading models. As a result, when a team identifies an outlier pitch, they're going to want players to roll them out much more frequently. This creates a perfect storm: pitchers throwing brand new pitches at high usage rates at the highest level of competition.

Sometimes, however, these are not big adjustments. If the mentality of the pitch is the same context as an existing pitch, but with a subtle seam adjustment, I have less concern:

"Just think of getting to the front of the baseball exactly like you have with your long-time curveball."

"Just offset the grip here and throw it exactly like your fastball."

However, if you're giving someone a brand new grip and encouraging them to "grip it and rip it" in a way that's foreign to them, that's a recipe for injury. These dramatic changes require longer timelines and more calculated approaches to preparing the affected tissues. Additionally, players may need a gradual onboarding from a usage standpoint, and increased recovery between "pitch design" bouts.

I don't think "designer pitches" involving increased horizontal movement are the devil - but I do think the way that pitch design is taking place industry-wide is flawed. As I've written before, 

[bctt tweet="You can't truly evaluate a method or device without considering its application."]

The problem is exacerbated by a number of issues (and this is not an exhaustive list, by any means):

1. Early sports specialization and high velocity pitching in adolescents is leading to a generation of broken arms entering pro ball

2. Higher velocity (which is, to me, the single biggest contributing factor)

3. An increasingly specialized game (shorter outings with higher velocity and outlier pitches taking place at high usages)

4. Grip concerns ("tack" on a slippery baseball)

5. Reduced recovery time (pitch clock concerns)

6. Shorter, more specialized offseasons (more pitchers continuing to throw when the season ends - and initiating bullpens/live BPs earlier)

It goes without saying that the modern era of pitching injuries is out of control, and we can't overlook Dr. Meister's observations that this is a serious component of the challenges we face. If you're looking to dig in a little deeper on the topic, here's a podcast - How Pitching Injuries Occur - that I recorded on the topic:

 

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Cressey Sports Performance – Florida Job Posting: Social Media Coordinator (3/31/24)

Cressey Sports Performance – Florida is looking for the newest member of our team: a Social Media Coordinator.

This position will be heavily involved in CSP’s marketing efforts related to both our in-person training offering and online presence (newsletter, podcast, distance-based coaching). This is a full-time salaried position with benefits, and would require a regular presence in Palm Beach Gardens, FL.

Responsibilities:

• Oversee Social Media accounts for Cressey Sports Performance
• Assist in creating the overall marketing plan for Cressey Sports Performance and related entities
• Organize Cressey Sports Performance newsletter
• Develop and implement new, fresh ideas to promote the CSP Experience
• Organize content to be used for corporate sponsorship fulfillment
• Assist in community outreach and coordinating events at CSP
• Editing and graphic design for the CSP Elite Baseball Development Podcast
• Be constantly looking for new ideas and ways to help improve the CSP experience for our clients!
• Other duties as assigned

Qualifications:

• Experience in commercial social media and marketing experience is preferred
• Excellent communication and organization skills
• Familiarity with the game of baseball, preferably at the collegiate or professional level
• A “can-do” attitude that is willing to put in the work to set a high standard
• Graphic design and podcast editing experience is preferred

Applicants can submit resumes and cover letters as a single PDF document to CareersatCSP@gmail.com. The deadline for applications is April 20, 2024.


Cressey Sports Performance is an equal opportunity employer. Applicants will be considered regardless of race, gender, creed, sexual orientation, marital status, citizenship status, color, religion, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, or any other status protected under local, state, or federal laws.

 

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CSP Elite Baseball Development Podcast: Developing College Pitchers with John O’Neil and Eric Cressey

After a brief podcast hiatus to stockpile some content, I'm back with a new episode, this time with Cressey Sports Performance - MA co-owner and Director of Performance John O'Neil as my co-host. We dig in on key competencies with developing college pitchers, highlighting the important considerations that have paved the way for success in our summer development programs (you can learn more about them: Massachusetts and Florida). This is an invaluable listen for players, coaches, parents, and support staff alike.  

A special thanks to this show's sponsor, AG1. Head to https://www.DrinkAG1.com/cressey and you'll receive a free 10-pack of Athletic Greens travel packets with your first order.

 

Sponsor Reminder

This episode is brought to you by AG1. AG1 is your daily foundational nutrition; it has 75 whole-food sourced ingredients designed to support your body’s foundational nutrition needs across five critical areas of health: 1) energy, 2) immunity, 3) gut health, 4) hormonal support, and 5) healthy aging. It is the new and future way of getting a multivitamin, and a whole lot more. Head to www.DrinkAG1.com/cressey and claim my special offer today – 10 FREE travel packs – with your first purchase. I use AG1 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-FL Summer 2024 Pro Experience Registration is Now Open!

Cressey Sports Peformance - Florida is home to hundreds of pro baseball players from all over the world, at all different levels of play throughout the off-season. They move to FL to train and develop with our awesome team of coaches that collaborates to create the synergy players need to thrive. We're able to individualize the experience from start to finish, as we feel that is what makes athletes successful. Whether we’re working with a first-year minor leaguer or one of our Cy Young Award winners, the right “mix” is slightly different for everyone. It is this detailed individualization – along with our world-class facilities, coaches, and services – that we bring to our summer program, The CSP Pro Experience.

Here's what this 10-week (6/3/24 - 8/9/24) program entails:

  • 2 Movement Assessments (1 entrance and 1 exit)
  • 2 Proteus Power Tests (1 entrance and 1 exit) and accompanying reports for targeted force-velocity profiling for rotational athletes
  • Weekly Force Plate Testing
  • 10 weeks of Individualized Strength & Conditioning Programs ALWAYS monitored by our team of coaches
  • 3 Nutrition Meetings, alongside regular nutritional checkins/guidance
  • 10 Manual Therapy Session (once per week)
  • 3 Pitching Meetings (1 entrance, 1 halfway check-up, 1 exit), featuring Video Analysis, Mechanical Breakdown, and Data Analysis (if available)
  • 3 Theia Markerless Motion Capture Sessions and Associated Reports (detailed below)
  • 10 weeks of Individualized Throwing Programs Including:
  • Detailed warmups, weighted ball programs, & throwing progression ALWAYS monitored by our coaching staff
  • Trackman (with reports)
  • Edgertronic high-speed camera (with reports)
  • All bullpens will take place on dirt mounds in cleats with supervision from our coaches – and applicable technology present.
  • Pitchers who need to get innings as part of their overall developmental plan can easily throw against live hitters on the showcase field adjacent to our facility.

 

Athletes participating in this program will begin and end by throwing a bullpen on Theia, our biomechanical markerless motion capture system. Our system records the athlete using an 8-camera setup. The cameras give us the ability to upload the data collected and produce a 3-dimensional visual model of their bullpen session. Using the markerless motion capture system, we will be able to provide a service to athletes at arguably the best quality/accuracy in the country in a real life, on-field environment. That model will explain, in detail, what the athlete is doing on the mound with respect to biomechanics, and provide a number of visual tools that will help us better understand the pitcher’s delivery. We will use this to put together a report outlining what they do, how they do it, why they do it, and – most importantly – coaching interventions.

We will be capping this program to ensure exclusivity and to make sure each athlete gets the time and coaching they deserve. This program will sell out quickly, so delaying enrollment may restrict your ability to gain access. You can learn more by reaching out to CSPFlorida@gmail.com.

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2024 Cressey Sports Performance Collegiate Elite Baseball Development Program

Registration is now open for the 2024 Cressey Sports Performance Collegiate Elite Baseball Development Program. This event takes place at our Hudson, MA facility, and runs from 6/3/24 through 8/9/24.

This will be the eighth year we’ve run the program, and each year, we’ve had pitchers move to Massachusetts from all around the country. This summer, we anticipate another awesome collection of motivated athletes who’ll push each other to get better in conjunction with the same training opportunities and expertise we provide to our professional athletes.

This program is a good fit for pitchers who need to prioritize development over just getting innings or exposure. In other words, it’s a suitable replacement for those who still need to throw, but also need to gain 20 pounds, learn a new pitch, sort out old aches and pains, or improve their mobility. The average ten-week velocity increase for participants over the last five years has ranged from 4.1 - 4.4mph.

Each athlete will begin with a thorough initial movement and pitching assessment that will set the stage for individualized strength and conditioning and throwing programs, respectively. Speed and power testing - via force plates, Proteus Motion, and velocity-based training - are integrated into the assessment process and tracked throughout the summer to ensure that progress is being tracked consistently.

Your individualized programs will correspond to six days a week of training. Generally, four of the six training days per week are double sessions, with throwing in the morning and strength and conditioning in the afternoons.

A typical training week would look like the following:

  • MON: AM throwing, PM Strength and Conditioning
  • TUE: AM throwing, PM Strength and Conditioning
  • WED: Late AM throwing and movement training (at field)
  • THU: AM throwing, PM Strength and Conditioning
  • FRI: AM throwing, PM Strength and Conditioning
  • SAT: Optional AM Mobility Work and Recovery Session, AM Throwing and movement training
  • SUN: Off

In our throwing programs, we integrate weighted ball work, long toss, and bullpens (including video analysis). We’ll utilize detailed Trackman breakdowns and high-speed camera work in these bullpens as well. Pitchers also have opportunities to throw live to hitters, and we have historically placed a few arms in the prestigious Cape Cod Baseball League late in the summer in light of the improvements they’d made.

All the athletes will receive manual therapy with our licensed massage therapist or physical therapist, as well as nutritional guidance throughout the program. Also to help with recovery, athletes have access to MarcPro, Normatec and red light therapy.

Last, but not least, we’ll incorporate regular educational components to educate the athletes on the “why” behind their training. Previously, this has consisted of not only staff presentations, but also conference calls and in-person meetings with Major League players and established coaches from around the country.

The best part is that it’ll take place in a motivating environment where athletes can push each other to be the best they can be. By optimizing the situation, you can help change the person.

Interested in learning more? Email cspmass@gmail.com – but don’t delay, as spaces are limited and this offering has sold out in summers in past. We’ll be capping the group size again this time around.

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New Cressey Sports Performance Baseball Caps!

For the first time in a few years, we've got a new model CSP baseball cap available. They're the popular Richardson Original 112 Trucker Model with an adjustable snapback, and go for $34.99 plus shipping and handling:

CLICK HERE to order using our 100% secure server!

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CSP Elite Baseball Development Podcast: Scrutinizing Return-to-Play Practices with Doug Kechijian

We’re excited to welcome physical therapist Doug Kechijian to this week’s podcast for an awesome discussion of return-to-play practices for injured athletes. Doug has taken a deep dive into this realm over the past few years as he prepares to publish a book on the topic, and his insights on this podcast bring to light some invaluable considerations for players, parents, coaches, and rehabilitation experts. CSP-MA Director of Performance John O’Neil takes the lead as a guest host as well.

A special thanks to this show's sponsor, AG1. Head to https://www.DrinkAG1.com/cressey and you'll receive a free 10-pack of AG1 travel packets with your first order.

 

You can follow Doug on Twitter at @GreenFeetPT, or visit www.ResilientPerformance.com.

Sponsor Reminder

This episode is brought to you by AG1. AG1 is your daily foundational nutrition; it has 75 whole-food sourced ingredients designed to support your body’s foundational nutrition needs across five critical areas of health: 1) energy, 2) immunity, 3) gut health, 4) hormonal support, and 5) healthy aging. It is the new and future way of getting a multivitamin, and a whole lot more. Head to www.DrinkAG1.com/cressey and claim my special offer today – 10 FREE travel packs – with your first purchase. I use AG1 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!

Name
Email
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CSP Elite Baseball Development Podcast: Digging in on Diagnostic Imaging

After a little podcast hiatus, I'm back with a solo episode. In this podcast, I discuss some common incidental findings on diagnostic imaging - MRI, x-ray, CT scans - in baseball players. These are very important considerations both for player advocacy purposes, and also for us appreciating how to keep the next generation of players healthy.

A special thanks to this show's sponsor, AG1. Head to https://www.DrinkAG1.com/cressey and you'll receive a free 10-pack of Athletic Greens travel packets with your first order.

 

Sponsor Reminder

This episode is brought to you by AG1. AG1 is your daily foundational nutrition; it has 75 whole-food sourced ingredients designed to support your body’s foundational nutrition needs across five critical areas of health: 1) energy, 2) immunity, 3) gut health, 4) hormonal support, and 5) healthy aging. It is the new and future way of getting a multivitamin, and a whole lot more. Head to www.DrinkAG1.com/cressey and claim my special offer today – 10 FREE travel packs – with your first purchase. I use AG1 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!

Name
Email
Read more
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