Home Posts tagged "Cressey Sports Performance" (Page 2)

Key Considerations for Making the Most of At-Home Training

Today's guest post comes from Cressey Sports Performance - Massachusetts coach, Drew Cobin.

Due to the current status of our country and gyms being closed, a lot of trainers, coaches, and fitness influencers are posting at-home workouts all over the internet. This article will seek to help sort out some of the clutter and help coaches, trainees, and anyone interested to make better at home training decisions.

Now, the first logical question to ask when organizing at-home health/performance training is, what is the goal? This will dictate a lot of the important variables in the at home training program. While just doing something is probably better than nothing, not having a goal in mind will likely lead to mediocrity. This is because without a specific focus, the training strategy will likely be less successful, as it is pulled in too many directions.

It’s kind of like switching majors in college. If the goal is to get a specialized degree, the best course of action is probably to stick to one major and take all the classes that it requires. Getting the degree isn’t going to come easily or quickly, but sticking to one major will definitely lead to steady progress toward the end goal. Training is the same, working towards one goal and staying the course will lead to faster and longer lasting progress.

When choosing an at-home training program, you need to make sure that you consider three important factors: Specificity, Overload, and Fatigue Management/Recovery. Let’s look at each in a bit more detail.

Specificity asks, “Does the program involve exercises, volumes, and intensities that reflect the goal.” So, doing four sets of 50 jumps squats holding a baseball will likely not help that baseball player in search of his baseball performance goal because the exercise itself is not very sport specific, and the repetitions are too high to train for power given the intensity of this exercise.

In consideration of Overload, in order to improve the human system, getting temporarily worse will result in getting better according to Hans Selye’s GAS Model, and the principle of supercompensation. This means that resistance training itself does not build muscle, improve cardiovascular function, or shred body fat. In fact, it is the cessation of training when adaption or the physiological improvement, supercompensation occurs. A good training program will overload the system over time through appropriate periodization or the manipulation of volume and intensity over time allowing for adaption to occur.

Third, we have to account for Fatigue Management and Recovery, since the resistance training or exercise itself does not improve the system; rather, the subsequent tissue recovery and repair does. Too much fatigue can disrupt the system by inhibiting our ability to recover sufficiently. Fatigue is absolutely essential for improvement, but without proper management, it can cause diminishing returns. For example, going too heavy, training to failure too often, or inducing massive amounts of high intensity work can cause an acute or chronic performance decline. With the aforementioned 4x50 jumps squats example, imagine trying to do sprints right after: the sprints will surely be less effective than if you had done something less fatiguing prior. The same can be said for over-fatiguing in a more chronic manner; an example is training to failure multiple days in a row on deadlifts for multiple weeks. In this case, initial acute improvements may be made, but over time, injury may occur and/or performance will decline by neglecting to get enough recovery between high stress training sessions.

So, with that said, making sure the training stimulus is one that allows for quality stress or fatigue distribution daily, weekly, monthly, and even yearly can be crucial in search of maximizing progress. One might ask, is this an exercise that is challenging enough, but allows for proper execution of the rest of the exercises in the program? For example, what might be more effective for strength gain: a) supersetting a high threshold compound strength movement like a deadlift with a low threshold coordination movement like a bear crawl, or b) doing four high threshold compound strength movements in a row back to back, like doing heavy deadlifts, then heavy squats, then heavy bench press, then heavy overhead press? The answer, of course, is the first selection – and then mixing in those higher threshold movements in over the course of the rest of the day or week.

Knowing this, what techniques might be most effective given limited equipment selection at home? Well first, let’s look at three training constants that directly apply to successful training stimuli in application of the GAS model to achieve the desired effects of supercompensation.

Three Ways to Stimulate Hypertrophy (Muscle Growth)

1. Mechanical Tension
2. Muscle Damage
3. Metabolic Stress

Now let’s say building muscle is the goal of an at home training program. The three ways to stimulate hypertrophy or muscle growth should all be included in making a training program effective.

Mechanical Tension represents increasing load on the tissue progressively, or simply using enough resistance. One strategy to do this at home would be to decrease the base of support in order to increase the resistance applied to one specific tissue. For example, in a squat, the prime mover is the knee joint, so in a training cycle, one could start with bilateral squats, progress to split squats, and then finally, single leg squats. This progression will apply more resistance through bodyweight and gravity alone on the quadriceps, glutes, and the stabilizer muscles involved in these movements.

The next order of business is to induce Muscular Damage. The eccentric or lowering phase of a movement will create the most muscle damage. So, we probably want to focus on the lowering phase of the squat, split squat, and single leg squat by spending the most time there. Five seconds or so down during each repetition will likely be a great strategy to induce muscle damage.

Lastly, we want to achieve higher levels of Metabolic Stress, which usually is done through using higher rep ranges. Different strategies such as intelligently designed supersets using not competing muscle groups, and things like 1.5 reps can also be effective for creating metabolic stress. In fact, in athletic performance training programs, achieving metabolic stress can occur in many different ways other than always doing high reps. Strength training occurs in the 1-5 rep range, so if the trainee wants to improve strength, searching for metabolic stress elsewhere may be best in certain situations. Isometrics can be huge for strength capabilities, so pairing an isometric squat variation of appropriate difficulty with a jump or sprint could be a great idea for an athlete while training at home.

Let’s sum it up:

1) Have a goal in mind.

2) Don’t freak out if you can’t train as much.

3) Your strength won’t decline so much that it won’t come back after these next couple of weeks; studies have shown that strength does comes back fairly quickly.

4) Do something fast! Power is the ability to produce force rapidly, and contrary to strength, it does tend to decline quickly. Luckily, power training can be trained easily with just body weight as resistance (sprinting, jumping, landing, shuffling, etc.).

5) Flush out internet programs or workouts by looking for a net positive gain. Look for Specificity, Overload, and Fatigue Management in a program, and look for Mechanical Tension, Muscular Damage, and Metabolic Stress, in a given workout. Then decide if a program or workout will result in a net positive towards your goal.

If learning more and training efficiently during these crazy times sounds intriguing, feel free to reach out to us at Cressey Sports Performance. We’re happy to help out with online programming to get you headed in the direction of your goals, regardless of your equipment limitations. Just drop us an email at csp.trainonline@gmail.com.  

About the Author

Drew Cobin, CSCS serves as a Semi-Private Strength & Conditioning Coach and Strength Camp Associate Coordinator here at CSP. He is a graduate of Central Connecticut State Uni​​​​versity, where he studied Exercise Science and played varsity soccer. Drew has experience coaching in many different avenues, but his great passion is in training for performance. He offers insight into cutting through some of the clutter, and staying on the path towards the goal. You can follow him at @drewcobin on Instagram.

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Exercise of the Week: Adductor Slides

Today's guest post comes from Cressey Sports Performance - Florida Director of Performance, Tim Geromini.

One of the more forgotten muscle groups in the lower extremity is the adductor (groin) complex. Often, there is so much focus on glute activation and hamstrings range of motion that we overlook the adductors. As Eric has written in the past (all the way back in 2004!), depending on the population, adductors can get injured because they're either overactive or weak. In other words, they need to be both "long and strong." Enter an exercise that not only works on eccentrically creating range of motion at the adductors, but concentrically strengthening them, too!

Some of the benefits of Adductor Slides - and the associated coaching cues needed to make the most of your efforts:

1. Eccentric Control: The adductors are mostly known to absorb force in change of direction movements as they experience a ton of eccentric stress when an athlete has to cut or adjust his position. This exercise is not a traditional passive stretch as we are actively stretching the adductors into hip abduction. This should be a slow and controlled purposeful movement, keeping the hips in line with the knees. A cue that works well is “pretend there is a band attaching the Valslides together; now stretch that band.” This cue helps you understand to put force into the ground as you spread your knees as far apart as possible (another helpful cue). You are only going to go as low as your range of motion allows, so work within the range you have. Keeping your feet on the ground is a good starting point. As your range of motion and strength increases, try keeping them off the ground to progress the exercise.

2. Concentric Strength: Now that you have a sufficient stretch of the adductors, it’s time to strengthen them driving up into hip adduction. A helpful cue would be “pull the turf together on the way up.” The adductors play a big and often overlooked role in creating rotational power. At CSP, we often talk about shifting your weight from your back hip to your front hip on a medicine ball exercise, on the mound, and even in the cage. In this instance the role of the adductors is to help internally rotate the femur to create power in the lower half. Without sufficient adductor strength, you’re going to leave a lot of power on the table.

3. Anterior Core Strength: Neither of the two benefits listed above work very well if you can’t maintain a neutral spine while doing them. In other words, don't let the lower back arch. It’s important to note that the adductor muscles originate on the pubis (the bottom portion of the pelvis) and are vital in controlling pelvic stability. If you are doing this exercise on your own, it may be helpful to place an object on your low back and make sure it doesn’t fall off as you go through the movement.  Again, think slow on the way down and fast on the way up.

We typically program this exercise for 8 reps either in a warm-up or as a pairing with a rotational med ball exercise. As a regression, you can do one leg at a time while the non-Valslide knee is positioned on the ground/pad.

About the Author

Tim Geromini is the Director of Performance at Cressey Sports Performance - Florida. Prior to joining the CSP team; Tim spent time with the Lowell Spinners (Class A Affiliate of the Boston Red Sox), Nashua Silver Knights (Futures Collegiate Baseball League), Cotuit Kettleers of (Cape Cod Baseball League), and UMass-Lowell Sports Performance. You can contact him at timgero@gmail.com and on Twitter (@timgeromini24).

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Exercise of the Week: Birddog Rows

Today's guest post comes from Cressey Sports Performance - Florida Director of Performance, Tim Geromini, with a video assist from CSP-FL coach, Derek Kambour. Tim was one of the contributors on our Cressey Sports Performance Innovations resource, a collaborative effort of the CSP staff. It's on sale for $75 off through Sunday at midnight; just head to www.CSPInnovations.com and enter coupon code APRIL2020.

The Dumbbell Birddog DB Row is a very humbling rowing variation and has been helpful for our clients to lock in their horizontal pulling technique. This exercise doesn’t require as much cuing from us due to the internal feedback the client gets as the set goes on, but it is important to coach the correct set-up position before the client begins the row.

Some of the benefits of the Birddog Row:

1. Core Demands: This rowing variation requires great anti-extension and anti-rotation core control. Once you get the DB off the ground it’s important to pause and establish proper core position so you don’t rock side to side. If you’re having trouble keeping technique its best to lower the weight first and see if this clean up your form.

2. Hip Extension: Adding on to the core component of the row, maintaining a neutral spine and getting quality hip extension add a unique demand no other rowing variation can offer. In clients who are naturally in lumbar extension (arching of the lower back), the contralateral aspect of this row can help separate hip extension from lumbar extension.

3. Slower, Controlled Tempo: One of the main flaws you see in horizontal pulling is excessive range of motion at the top where the shoulder dumps forward into anterior tilt (over-rowing). To perform this exercise well, you have to slow down the rowing portion which gives great sensory feedback leading to better technique. This will also improve scapula protraction at the bottom portion for better shoulder mechanics.

4. Better Arm Path: Because of the alignment with the bench, you naturally have to leave some space between your arm and your ribs otherwise the DB will hit the bench on the eccentric or concentric portion of the row. This self-teaching benefit eliminates keeping your arm tucked in too close to your side.

5. Improved Cervical Position: It's very common in rowing variations to see cervical extension (head tilted up) or flexion (chin to chest) as compensation patterns mostly because there is no balance component to traditional rows. The birddog row has unique balance demands that add needed focus from the lifter. This leads to more of a neutral cervical spine position (double chin) to help improve balance.

We typically program this exercise for 3-4 sets of 6-10 reps per side.

To cover a wide variety of training and coaching concepts, I'd encourage you to check out CSP Innovations; it's on sale for $75 off through Sunday at midnight with coupon code APRIL2020 at www.CSPInnovations.com.

About the Author

Tim Geromini is the Director of Performance at Cressey Sports Performance - Florida. Prior to joining the CSP team; Tim spent time with the Lowell Spinners (Class A Affiliate of the Boston Red Sox), Nashua Silver Knights (Futures Collegiate Baseball League), Cotuit Kettleers of (Cape Cod Baseball League), and UMass-Lowell Sports Performance. You can contact him at timgero@gmail.com and on Twitter (@timgeromini24).
 

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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!

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Join the CSP Family from Afar: Online Training Now Available!

Since we opened Cressey Sports Performance in 2007, we’ve offered distance-based, online training. However, we were sticklers for quality control, so we only made it available to those who’d first visited one of our facilities for an in-person evaluation and some technique coaching. In short, we didn’t want to water down a product of which we were extremely proud.

Over the years, we’ve created systems that have allowed us to work from afar with folks all over the world. These clients range from Cy Young Award Winners, to Olympians, to triathletes, to weekend warriors. Of course, the majority are baseball players, our most well-known area of expertise.

Recently, we’ve toyed with the idea of expanding our online offering, but were waiting for the right time to offer it. And, given the circumstances surrounding the current pandemic, it would appear that the time is now.

You see, with all the cancellations and postponements in the baseball world over the past few months, we’ve been fielding hundreds of inquiries from players, parents, and coaches who are seeking direction as they prepare for uncertain baseball futures. And, in many cases, they do so with very limited equipment availability. We’re here to help.

With that said, you can now work directly with Cressey Sports Performance coaches via online consulting. To learn more and see if it’s the right fit for you, please reach out to us at csp.trainonline@gmail.com and tell us about yourself. We’re very confident that we can meet you where you are – and help you get to where you want to be.

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Elite Baseball Development Podcast: Beyond Pitch Design with Mark Lowy

We’re excited to welcome Cressey Sports Performance - Florida associate pitching coordinator and strength and conditioning coach Mark Lowy this week’s podcast for an in-depth discussion on how we create comprehensive development programs for our professional pitchers. Mark flies under the radar, but he's a tremendous asset to our offerings at CSP-FL and has built a loyal following of elite arms.

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 Mark Lowy and Brian Kaplan have expanded analytics in the off-season preparation of pitchers at CSP-FL
  • What work the CSP-FL pitching staff is doing to create individualized pitching reports for their pitchers
  • How Mark approaches collecting and compiling each pitcher’s pitching report and what makes CSP’s model and application of evaluating pitchers unique
  • How Mark’s role at CSP involves the translation of data and biomechanics into simple, understandable recommendations
  • Why Mark aims to be subjective before objective and apply a human element to his coaching and analysis of pitchers
  • Why you can’t make pitch design or pitch usage recommendations based purely off data
  • How understanding a pitcher and their approach influences how data is applied to their game
  • What is Mark’s primary focus when developing pitching skills with younger athletes and why building pitchability should evolve from what an athlete’s body allows them to do and what their delivery does for them
  • Why coaches need to appreciate pitchers’ unique attributes and avoid coaching towards average
  • How a player’s movement capabilities influence their mechanics and why appreciating how a player moves can explain the authenticity of their throwing motion
  • What aspects of the delivery impact horizontal and vertical release points in pitchers and how identifying and understanding specific release point trends can lead to the proper mechanical fixes
  • What vertical approach angle is and how it impacts how a hitter perceives a pitcher
  • When diving into player analytics, what are some numbers that blew Mark’s mind and caught his attention to look into further
  • How coaches need to appreciate how a pitcher’s arsenal plays uniquely to hitters
  • Why synergy between skill development coaches, strength and conditioning coaches, and sports medicine professionals is differentiated at CSP and how Mark uses his resources to create the best experience for his pitchers
  • What high school and college pitchers can do to best prepare themselves for success in baseball
  • You can follow Mark on Twitter at @Mark_Lowy and on Instagram at @CSPFL_Pitching.

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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What Do You Think of XYZ Method?

Often, I'll get inquiries that go something like this:

What do you think of yoga?

How do you feel about Pilates?

I have a friend who liked MAT. Do you think it's legit?

These are always challenging questions to answer because there are actually a number of variables you have to consider. To illustrate my point, let's try for some parallels in different industries. What do you think of real estate attorneys? Accountants? Veterinarians? Plumbers? General contractors?

As you can probably infer, there's going to be a high amount of variability in the delivery of each method, so you have to ask the following questions:

1. Is the method actually legit?

Sometimes, entire methodologies are based on bad science or bad people manipulating science for their own financial gain. A good example of this would be the thousands of different kinds of "cleanses" marketed in the nutrition/supplement industry.

2. Is the practitioner actually educated (and, where appropriate, licensed) in the method?

This is something that is near and dear to me. Each week, we get emails from young baseball players and their parents who say they train with a "Cressey guy" or someone "Eric has mentored." Then, they tell me that coach's name and I've never heard of him, and he's never even purchased one of my products or attended our actual baseball mentorship. Instead, he saw me give a one-hour talk in 2009. In describing himself, however, he positions himself on par with one of our interns who spent 3-5 months side-by-side with me six days per week. That's a markedly different level of education in our method.

As a good rule of thumb, think of the telephone game. The further away from the founder of a method, the more watered down the product becomes. As an example, Ron Hruska created the Postural Restoration Institute, and it's mostly disseminated through courses he's designed and by instructors he's trained himself. If an attendee then returns and teaches his/her staff the principles, then they teach their clients, and then the clients share their favorite positional breathing drill with a friend after a few adult beverages at a cocktail party, is it really representative of how impactful PRI can really be?

3. Does the practitioner actually have attention to detail?

Having just built a brand new Cressey Sports Performance facility, this is fresh on my mind. Not all contractors are created equal. Two can look at the exact same finished product and one person says it's beautiful, and the other says it's terrible work. No matter how great the method might be, if someone is lazy, it won't be positioned in a great light.

4. Does the practitioner understand how to "pivot" within a philosophy?

The back-to-wall shoulder flexion exercise is a central piece of our philosophy at Cressey Sports Performance. We think it's imperative to get the arms overhead without compensation at adjacent joints. Give this a video a watch to learn how we'd coach it under the three most common challenges one will typically encounter:

As you can see, these modifications rely on being able to do some basic, quick evaluations on the fly. If you don't have the ability to perform them, the client will likely just wind up banging on the front of the shoulder.

This is where a lot of group exercise methodologies can fall short. They don't understand how to pivot when someone can't perform a drill, so they wind up plowing through a bony block or exacerbating an existing movement fault.

5. Has the practitioner evolved with the methodology?

I tweeted this several years ago, but it still holds true:

 

If you look at CSP years ago versus now, it's easy to see how much we've evolved. What you would have learned in a single day of observation at the facility in 2010 is a lot different than what you'd learn on a 2020 visit. This might refer to the methodologies represented, coaching approaches, or equipment utilized.

6. Does the practitioner utilize one methodology exclusively?

As the hackneyed expression goes, "If you're a carpenter who only has a hammer, everything looks like a nail." For example, I'm very leery of chiropractors who only do adjustments when there are undoubtedly many other associated therapeutic interventions that could further help their patients. I'll always refer to multi-dimensional providers over one-trick ponies.

Pulling It All Together

As you can see, five of my six qualifications had nothing to do with the method, but rather the practitioner carrying out that method. That, my friends, is why I always refer to PEOPLE and not just methods. And, it's why you should always try to find good people - regardless of the methodologies they utilize - to help you get to your goals.

It's also why continuing education is so important: we need to understand the principles that govern how successful people can be within various methodologies. If you're looking to learn more about some of those principles and how I apply them to evaluation, programming, and coaching at the shoulder, be sure to check out my popular resource, Sturdy Shoulder Solutions. You can get $50 off through tonight at midnight at www.SturdyShoulders.com by entering coupon code podcast50.

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Elite Baseball Development Podcast: Helping Hitters to Higher Ground with Doug Latta

We’re excited to welcome renowned hitting instructor Doug Latta to this week's podcast for an awesome discussion on hitting set-up, mechanics, and approach. Doug's one of the best in the business and he shared some tremendous insights in this discussion.

In lieu of a sponsor for this episode, we've got an exciting announcement. With this being our 50th episode, we're running a $50 off sale on my popular resource, Sturdy Shoulder Solutions. You can get the discount through this Sunday at midnight by heading to www.SturdyShoulders.com and entering the coupon code podcast50.

Show Outline

  • Why Doug was one of the pioneers for hitting the ball in the air and what resistance he faced as he advocated for this approach
  • What the misconceptions are about hitting the ball in the air in the hitting community
  • How coaches should reevaluate their methodologies and practices to ensure athletes are practicing swings that “play” in game scenarios
  • How the use of data in hitting instruction has brought a more outcome focused training approach
  • What hitters can do to stay on top of the revolutionary work in pitch design
  • Where the world of hitting is headed and where the industry is falling short for hitters
  • How Doug defines the concepts of getting to 50/50 and having balance in a swing, and why these concepts are so important
  • Why telling hitters to stay back is terrible advice and how players can create a backside-driven swing without compromising their balance
  • What coaching cues and interventions Doug utilizes to change old habits that are hindering a hitter’s ability to swing the stick
  • What key characteristics are non-negotiable for having an elite swing
  • Why the solution for movement patterns is often in the set-up, and how this principle relates to creating dominant hitters
  • What are some of the physical roadblocks Doug encounters in players’ movement profiles that limit their ability to get into the proper positions in the batter’s box
  • How a good swing looks consistent from younger levels all the way up to the big leagues
  • Why age 13-14 is a critical time to receive good coaching
  • Why young hitters should spend less time buying tokens and practicing their swing in a cage and more time mastering their set-up and move into their swing
  • What parents of young hitters can do to put their kids in the best position to be successful as a hitter
  • How 90% of what you do to become a good hitter doesn’t involve swinging a bat
  • What resources and professionals Doug recommends checking out for those interested in taking their knowledge of hitting to the next level

You can follow Doug on Twitter at @LattaDoug and learn more about him at www.BallYard.net.

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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Arm Care: Why Are We Still Talking About “Down and Back?”

Today's guest post comes from Eric Schoenberg, the physical therapist at Cressey Sports Performance - Florida and a great resource to the entire CSP team. Enjoy! -EC

To get right to the heart of what I'm covering today, I think it's best that we start with a video:

So, as you can infer, the reason we're still talking about "down and back" is because we need to! Athletes are coming into the gym every week after multiple surgeries or drops in performance with postures and movement patterns that are faulty and easily correctible.

Obviously, the down and back concept is not the only reason for this, but the idea of driving our scapulae into maximal adduction (retraction), downward rotation, and depression is certainly something that we can control and improve upon.

To set the record straight, the only time an athlete should receive this cue is when their arms are by their side (Deadlifts, farmer’s walks, heavy dumbbell holds for lower body lifts). Once the humerus starts to move away from the side more than 20-30 degrees, the scapula needs to start moving in the appropriate direction to keep ball on socket congruency and reduce mechanical stress to the neighboring soft tissue structures (labrum, rotator cuff, neurovascular structures).

On the performance side of things, the “down and back” posture (scapular adduction, downward rotation, and depression) limit the ability to get the hand out in front or overhead. This has obvious implications in overhead athletes.


 In the case of throwers, the difference in extension at ball release can vary by 3-4 inches depending on the position of the scapula. (as you can see in the comparison pics above and the video below).

When we don’t get full extension at ball release, any variety of downstream stresses can occur (aggressive elbow extension, lack of full pronation through the baseball) that result in increased injury risk and decreased performance.

As mentioned in the introduction video, we are bringing bad cues to good programming and it continues to result in faulty movement and injury. Even worse is when this “down and back” cue is brought into the rehabilitation setting and athletes that have already had surgery continue to experience symptoms similar to their pre-surgery presentation.

In conclusion, let’s continue to look at our cues and consider where the arm is in relation to the body when we decide to cue down and back. When the arms are by the side, then go ahead and cue the scaps down and back. However, when the arm is abducted to the side, overhead, layed back into ER, or out in front at ball release, we need to cue a degree of upward rotation and elevation to make sure the joint is aligned for success.

About the Author

Eric Schoenberg is a Physical Therapist and Strength Coach and the Owner of Diamond Physical Therapy located inside Cressey Sports Performance – Florida. Eric’s approach is to help athletes move more efficiently to reduce injury and improve performance. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @csp_physicaltherapy, or email him at eric@diamondphystherapy.com.

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