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Smooth is Fast? Not So Fast.

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Slow is smooth. Smooth is fast? Not so fast. I’m sure we’ve all heard that catchline plenty of times, but has anyone ever really considered what it means?   The connotation is that a pitcher or hitter should be completely “relaxed” as he throws or swings — that there should be no tension at all. As a hitter in college, I occasionally tried to think about being smooth and relaxed during my swing. Every time I did, it felt like I was hitting with a rolled-up newspaper.…

Beware The Cult Of Average.

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A few years back, one of our clients sent me a link to a TED talk by Shawn Achor that got me thinking. Baseball is abuzz with the new catch phrases “science-based” and “data driven.” “If it’s not based in science, it’s not true.” “Make sure you have data to prove that.” “If you can’t prove it works you shouldn’t do it.” The terms “Science -based” and “Data Driven” have quickly become marketing tag lines for training centers across the…

How We Individualize Workload To Decrease Injury Risk And Maximize Performance Gains

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To become an elite throwing athlete, you need to throw … a lot. Quick, off the top of your head, name me one skill in life where becoming elite at that skill involves … NOT DOING THAT SKILL. You want to be a great guitar player? Sure.  Here’s what you do …  Don’t play guitar too much. Save your bullets. Take three months off every year to give your body time to recover. You want to be a great chemist? Ok, listen up. Whatever you do …  Don’t do too much chemistry  …

Anatomy Of A Pitcher’s Hip Hinge: First Move Nuance

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In 2019, we concluded a ground reaction force study of 500 pitchers using a NewtForce sensored mound. This incredible new technology is the brainchild of a team of aeronautical engineers led by NewtForce CEO, Kyle Barker. Unlike typical force plates plagued by slippage and measurement error, the NewtForce mound uses an array of embedded sensors to measure and display ground reaction forces in real-time. It's linked to 200 fps video, which allows us to identify the specific movement variables that…

The Work Ethic Ruse

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“If you wanna be successful, you gotta work hard.” That’s what they say.  Heck, that’s what I’ve always said. And, it made perfect sense.  I’ve always viewed work ethic as the most important quality a baseball player — indeed any person — can possess.  As I’ve learned more about the human body, motor learning, and the dynamics of skill acquisition, it no longer makes perfect sense.  Don’t get me wrong. I’m all about hard…

Find Your Dog

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Everyone, and I mean everyone has a dog in ‘em. You wanna throw hard, you gotta find your dog. Over the past 3 summers we’ve worked with more than 450 players from all over the world in our Summer Training Program. If they stayed 4 weeks, the average guy gained over 4 mph on his fastball. For most of them, it wasn’t about adding anything. It was about using what we call SAVAGE Training to reveal the dog they already had inside them.  Some really smart movement scientists label it “self-organization.”…

Anatomy Of Hip-To-Shoulder Separation

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Unless you’ve been living in the baseball equivalent of a Himalayan monastery, you’ve heard pitching and hitting coaches avowing the importance of “hip-to-shoulder separation.”  I’m not exactly sure when it began, but sometime in the last several years, someone coined the term, and it spread like wildfire.  According to advocates of this tenet, pitchers and hitters should rotate the pelvis while the torso remains closed for as long as possible.  The resultant…

How Do You Want To Remember This?

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So, today is Rich Hill’s Birthday. I did not know that. Happy birthday from the Florida Baseball Ranch, Rich. If you love being inspired by the resilience of the human spirit, you should look up his story. Rich has overcome as much adversity (on and off the field) as anyone in the history of the big leagues.   Having endured multiple injuries, on the field failures, lost opportunities, physical rehabilitation events, reinventing himself as a pitcher, toiling in independent baseball, and…

What Are You Even Doing?

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Harness Horse Racing and The Hierarchy Of Pitcher Development Get this.   I saw my first harness race the other day.  It was quite impressive.  If you’re not familiar harness racing, it’s a peculiar brand of racing where the horse trots in a style that looks like a guy who just ate a bag of rotten green apples and is in a big hurry to get to the bathroom. The animal prances around a track pulling a 2-wheeled vehicle (called a sulky) and a driver who leans back like he’s…

The Anatomy of “Lead Leg Blocking.” It’s Corruptive And Has To Go!

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Over the past few years, the concept of “lead leg blocking” has emerged as an accepted and sought after component of high -level throwing. When training to “block “the lead leg, the athlete is encouraged to execute a move that intentionally, and rapidly actively extends the front knee as the lead leg absorbs the force of landing. Bracing of the front leg in this manner, seemed appropriate. Many high-level pitchers were noted to straighten their knee as they advanced their…