Home Posts tagged "Pitching Mechanics"

Random Thoughts on Sports Performance Training – Installment 36

This edition random thoughts from around the field of health and human performance is long overdue. Fortunately, more of the world is online more than ever, so at least it'll have a good audience now!

1. Physical maturity and training experience impact pitching stress.

File this one under the "duh" category, but it's good to have a study supporting the concept nonetheless. In this study, Nicholson et al found that while pitching velocity was weakly related to shoulder distraction force, this relationship was only observed in high school (and not college) pitchers. The researchers noted, "These findings suggest that older pitchers may attenuate shoulder forces with increased pitch velocity due to physical maturity or increased pitching mechanical skill in comparison with younger pitchers."

Here's the position (ball release) to which they're referring:

I've seen research in the past that reported shoulder distraction forces were 1.5 times body weight at ball release, but those numbers never made sense to me in light of the kinetic chain concept. Wouldn't a pitcher with better front hip pull-back, core control, thoracic spine mobility, scapular control, and posterior cuff strength have a better chance of dissipating these forces over a longer deceleration arc than someone who wasn't as physically prepared? And, wouldn't different release points (as shown above) relate to different stresses? This study demonstrates that being physically prepared and mature goes a long way in reducing one potential injury mechanism in throwers.

2. "You can’t separate biomechanics from metabolism."

I remembered this quote from Charlie Weingroff years ago when I recently heard White Sox infielder Yoan Moncada discussing how he hasn't felt like himself ever since he came back to playing after having COVID-19. Obviously, this is a more extreme perspective, as we know some cases lead to myocarditis and other challenging complications. It's certainly not out of left field, though. Just think about it:

Your joints often ache when you have the flu.

Many people get neck pain when they're stressed.

And, as Charlie observed in that same presentation, the higher your free cortisol, the poorer neurogenesis is.

I don't think we have to just consider these challenges only when someone is sick or under crazy stress. Rather, we have to appreciate that optimizing our metabolic environment - whether it's building a robust aerobic system or eating well and exercising frequently to improve insulin sensitivity - likely has an impact on how our musculoskeletal and fascial systems feel and perform. And, the nice thing about a lot of these initiatives is that they aren't hard to chase: you can build your aerobic system with some low-key cardio or even mobility circuits.

3. Vary surfaces with plyometric activities.

The latest Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research featured a very intriguing study that compared outcomes of a plyometric program on grass-only versus one that was matched for volume, but spread over six different surfaces: grass, land-dirt, sand, wood, gym mat, and tartan-track. The group that performed the multi-surface program outperformed the grass-only group at post-testing even though the testing took place on grass (which means it was a better program to the point that it also outperformed pure specificity over eight weeks, a relatively short intervention).

This is great because training should always be about providing a rich proprioceptive environment for athletes while still providing specificity. The surfaces were stable and ranged in their ability to challenge the stretch-shortening cycle (i.e., it's harder to "turn over" a jump quickly in sand than it is on a track surface).

Intuitively, it makes sense: give athletes variability across similar exercises and you get better adaptation. And, you could even make the argument that it likely reduces the potential for overuse injuries. Just imagine if they'd also rotated types of footwear: barefoot, minimalist sneakers, cross-trainers, turf shoes, cleats, etc.

Suffice it to say that I'll be leveraging this knowledge heavily at our new Cressey Sports Performance - Florida facility. We've got outdoor turf, indoor turf, grass, and indoor gym flooring - and we could do all three either in shoes or barefoot. There's eight options right there, and it's not hard to get access to sand in South Florida!

4. Exercise selection is the most important acute programming variable.

When you're writing a program, the big rocks to consider are intensity (load), volume, rest, tempo, exercise order, and exercise selection.

You'll see a lot of debates about whether 4 sets of 6 reps works better than 6 sets of 4 reps, and whether you need to do one set or three sets to get optimal gains. People may argue about whether you have to train above 90% of 1RM to get strength gains. And, internet arguments are fierce over tempo prescriptions and whether you should squat before you deadlift, or vice versa.

You know what doesn't get debated? The simple question, "Does an exercise hurt?"

This is why exercise selection will always be the most important acute programming variable to consider. If it causes pain, all the other variables don't matter, because it's a harmful training stimulus. This is why it's tremendously important for coaches to not only understand progressions, but also regressions and "lateral moves."

Squatting hurts your hips? Let's try a reverse lunge with a front squat grip.

Deadlifting isn't agreeing with your low back? Let's try a hip thrust instead.

Bench press is making your shoulder cranky? Let's pivot to a landmine press instead.

These quick and easy adjustments can absolutely save a program - and make all the other programming variable important actually matter. This is a big reason why I included an Exercise Modifications Library in The High Performance Handbook; they enable an individual to keep the core benefits of the program intact even if they have to modify a few exercises along the way.

While I'm on that topic, The High Performance Handbook is my flagship resource, and I currently have it on sale at the largest discount ($50 off) that we've ever offered (though Sunday at midnight). The discount is automatically applied at checkout at www.HighPerformanceHandbook.com.

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 9/1/20

Happy September! It's been a few weeks since I posted a recommended reading list. Here goes...

Intangibles: Unlocking the Science and Soul of Team Chemistry - This recent release from Joan Ryan is the best book I've read in 2020. If you're involved in strength and conditioning or team sports in any capacity, I'd call it a must-read.

The Most Important Coaching Responsibility - I wrote this last year, but in light of how many people are acting on social media these days, it seemed like a good time to reaffirm the importance of staying away from negative influences.

Why It's So Hard to Find Dumbbells in the US - This is an entertaining piece in light of the crazy times of 2020.

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I came across this picture of Josh Hader's delivery (via @brewers) the other day, and it was yet another reminder to always check the neck first when you see more distal (shoulder, elbow, etc.) symptoms in an overhead throwing population. When you consider the lateral flexion of his cervical spine in conjunction with the shoulder abduction and external rotation, elbow flexion, and wrist extension each throw is effectively an upper limb tension test on the nerves (and vascular structures) that run from the brachial plexus down to the fingertips. What exacerbates this tension? 👇 1. Increased cervical lateral flexion 2. Insufficient clavicular upward rotation 3. Insufficient scapular upward rotation and posterior tilt 4. Increased shoulder external rotation 5. Poor glenohumeral (ball on socket) control 6. "Gritty" tissue density from neck-to-hand that interferes with nerves gliding smoothly 7. Increased wrist extension (to a lesser degree, in my experience) Regardless of what you think might be in play, always start with the neck. I think the Selective Functional Movement Assessment four-part cervical screen (swipe left) is a great place to start. #cspfamily

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CSP Elite Baseball Development Podcast: Biomechanics in Baseball with Dr. Glenn Fleisig

We're excited to welcome biomechanist and researcher Dr. Glenn Fleisig of the American Sports Medicine Institute to this week's podcast. Glenn speaks to how baseball biomechanics research has evolved over the years, highlights key research, and talks about where the field is headed in the years ahead.

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 Glenn become one of the first to integrate biomechanics into the game of baseball
  • How his work as a biomechanist has brought him to be an influencer in the world of athletic performance
  • How biomechanics has evolved since Glenn first began his work in the field in the early 1980s
  • How technology has improved over Glenn’s career as a biomechanist and what up-and-coming advancements – like markerless motion capture – are transforming the field
  • How does the advancement of technology impact the barrier of entry into the world of biomechanics ,and what this means for quality research and forward progress in the industry
  • What research of his Glenn recommends listeners to read up on
  • How players, parents, and coaches alike can best mitigate the risk of injury in throwers
  • Why 100 innings pitched in a calendar year is the golden standard for limiting a pitcher’s risk for injury
  • What research states about the impact of long toss and weighted balls on players’ arms, specifically the shoulder and elbow
  • Where Glenn’s research has been misinterpreted in recent years and what clarity he hopes to bring to those searching for answers in scientific research
  • How the access to biomechanical technology (such as wearable devices) impacts the growth of sports performance science
  • What biomechanical systems and devices are best for collecting meaningful data on throwing athletes
  • How in-game biomechanics tools are transforming the baseball landscape and how these systems can be used most effectively to develop better baseball players
  • What the next frontier for biomechanics in baseball is
  • Where the industry is falling short of serving athletes and why standardization is required to provide clarity and bring efficiency to the work of biomechanists in sport
  • You can follow Dr. Fleisig's new endeavor, The American Baseball Biomechanics Society, on Twitter at @Biomec_Baseball and on Instagram at @Biomec_Baseball, or visit www.BaseballBiomechanics.org.

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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CSP Elite Baseball Development Podcast: Josh Lindblom

We're excited to welcome Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Josh Lindblom to this week's podcast. Josh speaks about his path to the big leagues, his time pitching in Korea, and how his expansive pitch mix came about.

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 Josh developed as a youth athlete from Indiana into a third round draft pick out of high school
  • What Josh’s rationale was for attending the University of Tennessee rather than entering professional baseball out of high school
  • Why Josh chose to leave Tennessee after his freshman season to attend the University of Purdue
  • How Josh managed switching between starting and relieving throughout his career
  • Why Josh struggled to remain a mainstay in the show through the 2011-2014 seasons
  • How battling comparisons and searching for his identity as a pitcher kept Josh from becoming the best version of himself on the mound
  • Why bouncing around in the big leagues wasn’t the stability Josh wanted for his career and why he chose to take an opportunity to play ball overseas in the KBO in 2015
  • How Josh managed the increased pressure of being an American, ex-MLB player on a KBO roster and the huge usage spike that went along with that
  • What the Korean Baseball experience was like for Josh and how the baseball culture, allotment of talent, and accessibility to resources in the KBO differ from that of the ranks of American pro ball
  • How the game of baseball is played differently in Korea compared to the game played in the U.S. and what nuances Josh had to adapt to to thrive in this new style of play
  • How Josh’s pitching approach transformed through his experience in Korea, including the development of new pitches and learning to better attack left handed hitters
  • What Josh’s thought process is for throwing his splitter consistently and how he has worked to shape the pitch to specifically complement his fastball
  • How Josh’s pitch arsenal has evolved through the progression of his career
  • How Josh manages his throwing and training regime on a 5-day rotation
  • Why Josh chooses not to throw the day following a start and why pitchers shouldn’t lose sleep over taking an off day from throwing
  • How better understanding his daily workload and learning to better manage stress has transformed his preparation strategies
  • What experience Josh has working with the coaches at IFAST and how they’ve helped him connect the dots between the purpose of his training and performing at the highest level
  • You can follow Josh on Twitter at @JoshLindblom52 and on Instagram at @jlboomer25.

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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Progression Strategies for Back Hip Loading

Today's guest post comes from Cressey Sports Performance - Massachusetts associate pitching coordinator, Jordan Kraus.

Skill coaches are often faced with the challenging task of addressing mechanical problems that are actually underlying movement inefficiencies. This is especially true with respect to different aspects of the pitching delivery, and today I will be discussing the back hip load. We place a lot of emphasis on mastering this initial move in the delivery because of the many of downstream effects it has. Simply put, if the first move in the sequence is poor, the subsequent moves won’t be very good, either.

The biggest challenge stems from the fact that pitching is a unique skill, and the movement patterns associated with it become very ingrained. It is very difficult to change these patterns within the confines of the mound and baseball in hand, so stepping away from the specialized task of throwing to create context for a new movement pattern can expedite the process.

Efficiently loading the back hip can be challenging because of the different planes of motion involved and the speed associated with a pitching delivery. The three movements we look for in the back hip are flexion, adduction and internal rotation. It’s important to note that not everyone’s load will be the same, but all will have varying degrees of each of these movements.

The following movements can be used to help facilitate positions we want to replicate on the mound. For simplicity, they are broken down into four categories: unloaded, loaded, dynamic, and skill-specific. Within each of the first three categories, the movements progress from sagittal, frontal, to transverse plane movements. The goal of the sagittal plane movements is to control hip flexion while shifting weight posteriorly. Next, we are progressing by shifting our weight posteriorly while moving laterally in the frontal plane. The third movement in each category combines all three planes of motion as we learn to control flexion, adduction and internal rotation. The final category is a medicine ball series that will help bridge the gap between movements in the weight room and the throwing motion.

1. Unloaded: RDL/1-leg RDL > Lateral Lunge > Bowler Squat

2. Loaded: KB RDL/1-leg KB RDL > KB Lateral Lunge > Rotational Landmine Press/Rotational Row

3. Dynamic: Drop Squat 2:1 > Low Box Shuffle w/Stick > Lateral Lunge w/ Fake Medicine Ball Chop

4. Skill-Specific: Rear Foot Elevated Medicine Ball Shotput > Step-Back Medicine Ball Shotput > Knee-to-Knee Medicine Ball Shotput

It’s important to note that there are plenty of other movement options and the progressions for these are not linear. Additional load or increased speed of a movement can sometimes produce a more favorable outcome, so there will always be a level of coaching required for exercise selection. Selection will depend on a variety of factors, including strength, athleticism, mobility restrictions, and individual compensation strategies. Once these movements become proficient, the next step would be to blend the new loading strategy into plyo drills, catch play, and ultimately to the mound. Changing the task can drastically improve motor learning, so don’t be afraid to have pitchers step away from the mound to create better movement patterns.

About the Author

Jordan Kraus serves as a Pitching and Strength and Conditioning coach at Cressey Sports Performance-MA. You can follow him on twitter and Instagram at @_JordanKraus_, or email him at JordanRKraus@gmail.com.

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Pitching Mechanics: What’s in a Release Point?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A. Back leg direction

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

B. Stride length to lead leg landing position

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

C. Trunk tilt into and through ball release

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

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

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

About the Author

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

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The Best of 2019: Baseball Articles

With baseball athletes being the largest segment of the Cressey Sports Performance athletic clientele, it seems only fitting to devote a "Best of 2019" feature to the top baseball posts from last year. Check them out:

1. Vertical Shin and the Pitching Delivery - Vertical shin can be a powerful coaching point in the weight room, but it also has applications to putting pitchers in the right position to be successful on the mound. Check out this article to learn more.

2. Baseball Athleticism: It's Probably Not What You Think It Is - Not all "great athletes" make great baseball players, and not all great baseball players are what you'd call "great athletes." I did a little deeper on this topic in this article.

3. Should You Chase Shoulder External Rotation - And If So, How? - I often get questions on how pitchers can increase shoulder external rotation for throwing. The answer really depends on a few things, so here's a video to walk you through them.

4. Pitchers vs. Swimmers - I evaluated a baseball pitcher and swimmer on the same day in August. The markedly different assessment findings served as a great reminder that not all overhead athletes are created equal – both in terms of the demands of their sports and the way they adapt to those demands.

5. Coil in the Pitching Delivery: Friend or Foe? - Recently, I came across a picture of Nationals pitcher Patrick Corbin at the top of the leg lift in his delivery, and it got me to thinking about how the transverse plane can be your biggest ally or enemy in the pitching delivery.

We've got one last "Best of 2019" list running tomorrow, so stay tuned for the closer!

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CSP Elite Baseball Development Podcast: Kyle Hendricks

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

Show Outline

  • Why Kyle chose to move across the country out of high school and attend Dartmouth College
  • How Kyle has developed his ability to manipulate the baseball to create movement
  • How Kyle worked diligently to develop his changeup and how players can better develop this feel pitch
  • How throwing a quality changeup actually helped Kyle learn to throw a two seam fastball
  • How grip, specifically pinky position on the baseball, impacted the effectiveness of his changeup
  • What Kyle’s thought process is when throwing his changeup and how late hand speed out front trumps early, forced pronation with the pitch
  • How Kyle developed a cut changeup, which is differentiated from his “regular” changeup
  • How Kyle approaches attacking hitters and why he emphasizes throwing first pitch strikes and controlling counts against hitters
  • Why Kyle’s four seam fastball usage increased in 2016 and why this change allowed him to have more margin for error and improve the effectiveness with his fastball
  • How Kyle learned to read swings and bat paths in pro ball and how this has influenced how he competes against hitters
  • How Kyle prepares by utilizing coaches’ scouting reports along with video to develop a plan for success against the opposition
  • Why Kyle has always been intrigued by the mental side of baseball and how he has used it to develop an edge in the game
  • How simplification has revolutionized Kyle’s ability to master his mentality, control the game, and play to his highest ability
  • Why Kyle works to find a balance between using analytics and relying on his intuition
  • What pitch clicks in the bullpen when Kyle is set to have a great game and how Kyle knows when he is locked in
  • How Kyle attacks throwing his various pitches in his daily throwing progression
  • How individuals who lack elite velocity can identify their strengths and learn to separate themselves from the competition

Sponsor Reminder

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

Podcast Feedback

If you like what you hear, we'd be thrilled if you'd consider subscribing to the podcast and leaving us an iTunes review. You can do so HERE.

And, we welcome your suggestions for future guests and questions. Just email elitebaseballpodcast@gmail.com.

Thank you for your continued support!

Sign-up Today for our FREE Baseball Newsletter and Receive Instant Access to a 47-minute Presentation from Eric Cressey on Individualizing the Management of Overhead Athletes!

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CSP Elite Baseball Development Podcast: Rick Ankiel

We're excited to welcome retired MLB pitcher and outfielder Rick Ankiel to this week's podcast. Rick's incredible story has been the feature of multiple documentaries, and he has some awesome insights to share for players, coaches, and parents. A special thanks to this show's sponsor, Marc Pro. Head to www.MarcPro.com and enter the coupon code CRESSEY at checkout to receive 10% off on your order.

Show Outline

  • What Rick’s experience was like as he battled command issues as a young pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals
  • What the initial stages of Rick’s mental struggles as a pitcher were
  • How Rick made his comeback from the yips as a pitcher in 2005, and what strategies and routines he implemented that were most impactful for his consistency on the mound
  • How identifying what variables he could and couldn’t control and keeping baseball simple helped Rick find mental stability as a player
  • How organizations are evolving in how they prepare their young draft picks to be successful baseball stars of the future
  • What the mental concerns are for young stars as they ascend to the big league stage
  • Why players need to establish their circle of trust to be successful in professional baseball, and what strategies young players can implement to find security in their early career
  • What Rick’s advice is for the young draft picks and prospects
  • How the obsessive pursuit of excellence in baseball leads players to being consumed by their shortcomings and defined by their career on the field
  • How a player’s reluctance to care can be a defining factor of their likelihood to succumb to the mental dilemmas like the yips
  • What the biggest misconception about the yips is
  • How coaches and teammates of a struggling athlete can work to better identify those who need help and implement steps to make a real difference
  • How being genuine with ballplayers and asking “What can I do to help you?” can start a powerful conversation towards aiding in someone’s mental state
  • What was the difference for Rick was in preparing for games as a pitcher and a hitter
  • How Rick approached his throwing program as he transitioned from being pitcher to an outfielder
  • What the biggest adjustment Rick had to make as he has transitioned to a career in broadcasting

You can follow Rick on Twitter at @TheeRickAnkiel and on Instagram at @TheeRickAnkiel. And, be sure to check out his awesome book, The Phenomenon.

Sponsor Reminder

This episode is brought to you by Marc Pro, a cutting-edge EMS device that uses patented technology to create non-fatiguing muscle activation. Muscle activation with Marc Pro facilitates each stage of the body’s natural recovery process- similar to active recovery, but without the extra effort and muscle fatigue. Athletes can use it for as long as they need to ensure a more full and quick recovery in between training or games. With its portability and ease of use, players can use Marc Pro while traveling between games or while relaxing at home. Players and trainers from every MLB team - including over 200 pro pitchers - use Marc Pro. Put Marc Pro to the test for yourself with their new "Try Before you Buy" program, and use promo code CRESSEY at checkout at www.MarcPro.com for 10% off on your order.

Podcast Feedback

If you like what you hear, we'd be thrilled if you'd consider subscribing to the podcast and leaving us an iTunes review. You can do so HERE.

And, we welcome your suggestions for future guests and questions. Just email elitebaseballpodcast@gmail.com.

Thank you for your continued support!

Sign-up Today for our FREE Baseball Newsletter and Receive Instant Access to a 47-minute Presentation from Eric Cressey on Individualizing the Management of Overhead Athletes!

Name
Email
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Should You Chase Shoulder External Rotation – And If So, How?

Each time I run an Instagram Q&A, I get a few high school baseball players who ask how they can increase shoulder external rotation for throwing. The answer really depends on a few things, so here's a video to walk you through them.

Also, as a friendly reminder, Sturdy Shoulder Solutions is on sale for $40 off through this Sunday at midnight. Just enter coupon code OFFSEASON19 to receive the discount at checkout at www.SturdyShoulders.com.

Sign-up Today for our FREE Newsletter and receive a four-part video series on how to deadlift!

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LEARN HOW TO DEADLIFT
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