Archive for the ‘Baseball’ Category

One of the 13-year-olds I train came in early to throw with his dad before training last week, and I came over to watch a few throws. Whenever I watch one of my students hit or throw I always try to come up with one thing they’re doing well, and one thing they’re doing poorly that they need to work on. In this case, the thing I noticed about Tommy’s throwing motion was a lack of hip/shoulder separation. I’ve talked about the importance of hip/shoulder separation and the stretch shortening cycle before in this article on my site, and this article on Stack.com. If you haven’t read those articles, give them a look to understand why hip/shoulder separation is so imperative to pitching velocity. Basically, we want the shoulders to stay closed while the hips open up, which pre-stretches the muscles across the front of the body, causing a more powerful contraction in those muscles, which makes you throw harder.

That said, one of the most common problems I see in young throwers is that their glove side will open too early (known as “flying out” or “flying open”), which eliminates any chance for hip/shoulder separation. (more…)

First, a little background information:

Balance is one of the most important things when it comes to designing a sound strength and conditioning program. For example, if a program includes 3 pressing exercises, it should also include 3 pulling exercises to maintain strength balance across the body. If somebody performs a ton of bench pressing without any rowing-type exercises, the mucles in the chest will become bigger and stronger, but the muscles in the back will not. Over time, this discrepancy in strength between the chest and back will lead to, at best, poor posture and, at worst, an injury. Since nobody wants to be injured, it’s typically a good idea to make sure that you try to balance movements in your strength and conditioning program.

This concept isn’t confined to pushing and pulling, however. Every movement at every joint should -in theory- be balanced. This, of course, is assuming that no imbalances exist to begin with. If somebody does have an existing strength imbalance, or they play a sport that requires repetitive movement (e.g. throwing), they should adjust their program to account for these issues.

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One of the biggest gripes I had while playing baseball in college was that our in-season training program was trash. By the time May rolled around everybody was skinny, weak, and threw a good 4-5 mph slower than at the beginning of the season. I noticed this during high school ball too, but I didn’t understand why it was happening. I figured that if you trained all offseason, that strength would just stay with you during the season. But unfortunately, that’s not how it works.

Once I got to college and started learning about the body and training, I realized that improper training methods during the season were what was causing this steady decline in performance over the course of the year. That, combined with a hefty dose of long-distance “conditioning” runs.

Here’s 3 big mistakes that people often make when training in season. I’ve omitted “Doing Nothing” because frankly, that should be common knowledge by now.

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Even with all the strength training my athletes do in the offseason, I always tell them the most effective way to develop throwing velocity is just throwing a baseball (or softball). That’s not to say that strength training isn’t important; building strength in the offseason allows players to exert more force and minimize injury risk during the season. But all the leg, core, and rotator cuff strength in the world will do you no good if you can’t figure out how to apply your strength properly when throwing. Enter: long tossing.

In my opinion, if you’re a baseball or softball player and you’re NOT long tossing, then you’re stunting your development as a ballplayer.

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Here’s another article of mine, published today on Stack.com. Baseball and softball players need to follow this advice.

Click here to check it out.

baseball pitcher

Check out my latest article on Stack.com, “3 Medicine Ball Drills to Develop Velocity”

Miguel-Cabrera-Med-Ball-Throw—STACK

Towson beat Lansdowne today to go to 10-2 on the season, led by a trio of my athletes from Next Level Sports Performance. These guys put in a lot of work during the offseason and it shows.

From left:

Kyle Kershner (batting 4th) went 2 for 4 with a double and a generously-scored “single”, 2 runs scored, and pitched a scoreless 7th inning for the save

Sam Stark (batting 3rd) went 1 for 3 with a single, a hit-by-pitch, and an intimidating staredown of the pitcher

Mike O’Dwyer (starting pitcher) threw 6 innings, giving up 2 (I think) earned runs and striking out 10 while getting the win for the Generals

The decision to "mean mug" was, admittedly, a poor one

The decision to “mean mug” was, admittedly, a poor one

If you’re a human and you’re alive in the 21st century, odds are good that you have pretty terrible posture. Years upon years of sitting, slumped over a desk, have  rounded your shoulders and turned your upper back into a kyphotic nightmare. If you’re a baseball, softball, tennis, or volleyball player, the effects are probably even more pronounced.

Look at the average human these days and this is what you’ll see:

shoulder slump

Head forward, shoulders forward, and hunched spine. None of these are good traits. How does this happen?

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Nearly all of the programs I write incorporate med ball throws.  During the “preseason” phase of training, 100% of them do. One of the first things I teach the athletes I train is how to properly execute these throws. Some people can do them right off the bat with no problem, but most untrained athletes need at least some coaching. The problem I see most often in untrained athletes is the tendency to try to do everything “all at once”. What I mean by this is that they have a difficult time creating torque and utilizing the stretch-shortening cycle in their throws because there’s no separation between upper body and lower body movements. (more…)

Everybody check out my new article on Stack, which is also my first published article.

It’s about rotator cuff stretching.

Enjoy.

side lying stretch