Pre-Season Winter Training: The Hardwick Plan
Ricky Hardwick was as cool a dude as you’d ever meet.
He was quietly confident, physical and tough as nails.
He didn’t say much, but he never backed down from anyone.
A middle linebacker at Conway High School (home of the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers), he roamed from sideline to sideline delivering viscious blows to wandering quarterbacks like me. I played against him on the football field before I knew him. On a scramble play in the second quarter of a 7-7 game, I broke containment and headed up field where I saw what I thought to be nothing but green grass and a clear lane to the end zone. That’s when it hit me… the Mack truck known as Ricky Hardwick.
The collision sent me airborne and when I landed, I slid across the dew-cover grass and crashed to a halt under the metal benches on our sidelines.
The next time I broke out of the pocket, I threw the ball into the bleachers.
I officially met Ricky a couple of years later when I reported to my first baseball practice at The Citadel. He was a catcher on scholarship, and I was a walk-on transfer middle-infield hopeful. Ricky was a sophomore during my redshirt transfer year and had a good season behind the plate while hitting respectably. A knee injury sustained in a home plate collision that year was still nagging him during the fall of our junior year, so he moved to first base. With his legs rested, his hitting power surged, and he became our homerun leader.
Every year right after the Christmas break, our first official team function was a 1 mile run. According to our salty hard-nosed coach, Chal Port, we were required to complete the mile in under six minutes. Looking back, he never really stated the consequences of failure, but we all assumed it would mean we were going to be cut. During my 3 years at The Citadel, my number one mission during the holiday break was to train as hard as I could to pass that 6-minute mile. My thoughts were always, “You might cut me because I can’t hit or throw, but any moron can run.” I wasn’t going to let that be the reason I didn’t make the team.
In January of our senior year, we all reported to the locker room and suited up for the dreaded day. Everyone hated that run. Everyone complained that it was stupid and had no bearing on whether or not we could play baseball. Ricky just sat in his locker with a dip in his bottom lip… chilling… seemingly unconcerned.
We all began to query one another about our training efforts during the holidays. “Man, I ran 3 miles every day but I’m still not sure I can get in under 6 minutes” said Ken Vickery. “I did 5 miles a day and sprinted the last mile as fast as I could go,” I responded. The conversation bounced around the room with everyone giving a similar report, until someone finally asked “Hey Ricky, what did you do to get ready for this God-forsaken run? Did you train for it?”
Rick leaned forward, spit into a bottle and with eyes half-closed responded, “Naw… man I just laid around, ate turkey, and got fat. I didn’t pick up a bat, or a ball or run a single step.”
We all went into a mini-panic.
What was Ricky going to do?
With his knee still slightly hobbled, he wasn’t the greatest runner, and with no training at all, he had no shot to pass.
How would we survive the season if our best homerun hitter got kicked off the team on the first day?
The team assembled on the ¼ mile track about 500 ft. from our locker room anxiously, uncomfortably poised for our 4 laps of hell.
When the whistle blew, everyone took off at a brisk pace…
Everyone except Ricky.
There was 4-foot high chain link fence around the track and about a third of the way around was a gate that led to a path that headed toward the baseball locker room. Ricky started slowly, and sort of shuffled along, barely lifting his feet off the ground until he got to that point. He slowed to a walked veered off the track, opened the gate and continued his shuffle directly into the locker room having completed exactly 8/10ths of his required mile.
I crossed the finish line at 5:10, fell to my knees and vomited.
Ricky led our team in homeruns that season — set the school career record — and Coach Port never said a word about his 1-mile run.
Ricky Hardwick’s winter break training plan worked out for him, but I think we can all agree that “laying around, eating turkey and getting fat” isn’t the best option for most of us.
What are your plans during the Christmas Break?
How are you going to prepare for the spring season?
If you’re a college guy or a high school player, you’ll need to hit the ground running as soon as the New Year rolls in.
We have the perfect plan for you.
Our Winter Pre-Season Training Program begins Dec. 5th and runs through Jan. 20th
We’ll start every day with a 5-10 minute mindset segment, a dynamic warm-up, and about 45-60 minutes your individualized throwing plan. From there will spend an hour in our massive power-building workout before heading into another hour of mobility and stability training. Next, our SCC, Lisa Church will lead a Hardcore Broga session. It’s a combination of intense core strengthening a rotational power emphasis and yoga for dudes. Once that’s complete you’ll dive into your customized weight training program, and our 2-way players can then dive into an hour of hitting in our covered batting cages or on our Battery Power Field (a major league size infield with 15 ft. of outfield grass, 40ft. high net walls and a net roof).
If you’re having arm pain, you can’t afford not to be here. We’ve GOT to get you fixed before the season gets here.
We’ll be operating on Monday thru Friday, so you’ll have the weekends to enjoy your break and take in all the fun things to do during a sunny central Florida winter.
Our early bird/returning player discount pricing expires on Oct 14th, so hurry up and CLICK HERE to learn more about this incredibly comprehensive, multidimensional training program.
Call us at 866-STRIKE3 (866-787-4533) if you’d rather talk to Amy about the details.
Remember, the discount expires Oct 14th, so call now or CLICK HERE to register.
See you at the Ranch!
Randy Sullivan, MPT
CEO, Florida Baseball Ranch
The Battery Power Hitting System.