Matt Harvey and Stephen Strasburg are two of many young pitchers who have found themselves on the disabled list for a long period of time because of elbow, tendon or shoulder issues. The trend is happening more and more as younger pitchers throw more innings and put more pressure on their throwing arm. Generally speaking, baseball injuries, specifically to pitchers occur because of overuse of the arm, and happen gradually over time. A premium has been put on innings pitched and pitch count maybe more so than ever before as guys like Strasburg, Harvey and others are far too valuable to their team to run them into the ground. Continue reading
by Lee Gordon
Tony Gwynn, Ted Williams, Pete Rose, Wade Boggs and Ichiro Suzuki are five of the best pure hitters in baseball history. None of them were overly strong but they all possessed exceptional vision at the plate. Hitters have about 0.4 seconds from the time the ball leaves the pitchers hand until it reaches the swing zone. After you figure out what the pitch is, assess the rotation and make a decision whether to swing or not, you are looking at less than 0.2 seconds to hit the ball.
That’s why over the past few years, vision training in baseball has become very popular from the professional level down to little leagues where hitters work to quicken their bat speed. If you can speed up your reaction time by just 0.1 seconds, your batting average could dramatically increase.
At the University of Cincinnati, trainers worked with the Bearcats baseball team during the 2011 season using Dynavision’s D2 product six weeks prior to the season and then three times per week. What they found was astounding. UC’s team average rose by 30 points (from .251 to .285) and their slugging percentage was up 0.033% during the time when they used the Dynavision.
“We tested them on reaction time, hand-eye coordination, peripheral awareness, cognitive focus and visuo-motor skills,” said Dynavision CEO Phil Jones, “We were hoping to see an increase in batting average, but a 30 point increase proves how valuable vision training is in baseball.”
“They have become more capable of recognizing pitches, especially the spin on breaking pitches and better at being able to study opposing pitchers,” said Cincinnati head coach Brian Cleary, “In speaking with our hitters, I’ve found that they are also believers.” Continue reading
by Lee Gordon
Baseball training has evolved over the past few decades. The days of pitchers using sand cans (an empty tennis ball case filled with sand) to strengthen their arms have been replaced by intricate band training and isolated muscle movements. Baseball is a high velocity power sport requiring high degrees of acceleration and velocity relative to accelerating objects very quickly such as a ball, bat or the body when stealing second base.
It has been discovered that if athletes can train with resistive loads at higher velocities they will significantly improve their ability to develop power at higher velocities and thus run and throw faster as well as swing a bat with higher velocities. Elastic bands have an advantage over steel weights in that they can apply significant resistive loads to the athlete but do not possess hardly any mass since the rubber only weighs a few ounces.
“Steel weights have a lot of mass which means the athlete cannot accelerate 40 pounds of steel very quickly and achieve high training velocities,” said Mike Wehrell, CEO and founder of VertiMax, “Whereas an athlete can accelerate a few ounces of rubber applying 40 pounds of resistance very quickly due to the lack of mass and thus achieve very high training velocities and stimulate power production and strength at higher velocities to garner significant sports specific performance gains in baseball.” Continue reading
Florida State’s Mike Martin is now in his 34th season as the Seminoles’ head coach with a career that has covered five presidents and over 1,700 wins. Martin’s 33 consecutive regional tournament appearances and 15 trips to the College World Series appearances may never be duplicated. “11,” as he is known by most in baseball, was inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2007. He will go down as one of the most successful coaches in college baseball history-but would love to leave Omaha with a National Championship, a trophy that has eluded Martin in his career.
Inside Pitch: Do you still get the same excitement today that you did when you first broke in to coaching?
Martin: I get a huge enjoyment out of watching guys have success and with this team that we have, it’s certainly a challenge because we know we have so many young guys that are experiencing something for the first time in their life; the attention and that affects players. As a coach you have to be sure that the young men know how to handle the attention and success but more than that, the failure. I get a charge out of watching them get better.
Inside Pitch: Many of your players have gone on to have success in the big leagues (Buster Posey, Deion Sanders, J.D. and Stephen Drew). Do you get the same level of satisfaction watching their success as you do guys who don’t play pro ball but are successful in life?
Martin: I can’t tell you what enjoyment that is. You have guys you really doubt and it happened just awhile back. You doubted whether they would amount to anything. They got out of school and made themselves a successful businessman. That gives you as much as enjoyment because maybe you said something that triggered him to align himself with the right people and become a great citizen and American.
When you have a guy like Buster Posey, you know that no matter what he goes into he’s going to be a success. He’s smart, articulate and in control of his emotions-so you really feel that no matter what you say or do with a Buster Posey, he’s going to be a success in life. So maybe you point him in the right direction which we did. We didn’t do anything but put him in the right place. We didn’t have anything to do with him winning the MVP or the NL batting title, we tried to make a suggestion and have him make the decision. That’s the way we look at it.
Inside Pitch: You’ve been to Omaha 15 times but have yet to win a College World Series title. Is that the missing piece to your career?READ THE REST