With all the changes in the world of training baseball players, developing young athletes has taken on a whole new meaning. Putting aside skill, which is obviously at the top of the list, advancements in technology and our collective understanding of the body has changed how baseball players are being trained at just about every level of the game. Doesn’t matter the position, these improvements have had a dramatic effect on performance. And it’s time travel baseball begins to take advantage of it.
There are many examples, and the list is long! However, at the crux of it, technology and strength training has zeroed in on exactly what ball players need to become their own best version. At Revolution, we’re planning to bring much of it to youth baseball.
So, let’s review the top 10 reasons why you should join the Revolution family!
1. Player Development Focus
With the recent changes in NCAA recruiting rules, players, and parents of 13u, 14u and 15u can now put a larger emphasis on player development. College coaches are no longer showing up to scout 13-, 14-, or 15-year-olds. Now, younger players can worry less about how they rank and focus more on improving as an athlete and a ball player. Travel programs that don’t adjust to the new paradigm are wasting valuable time that can now be devoted to improving as a player.
2. Winter Workouts
Our winter workouts are a comprehensive off-season program to get you ready for the season. They’re not just about taking swings and fielding a few balls. They’re about bringing a higher level of training to younger players. They include:
- Initial physical assessment
- Strength training designed for baseball players (1-2x per week)
- Hitting program
- Blast Motion – swing metrics
- HitTrax – batted ball metrics
- Speed mechanics training (not silly ladder drills)
- Arm Care
- Fielding practice
- Pitching evaluation
- Rapsodo – Ball movement metrics
- Catcher evaluation
All in, our winter workouts add up to over 4 hours of training per week beginning in January.
3. Strength Training and Athleticism
There has been a lot written on strength training for young athletes and there are also many myths about it. Click here if you’d like to read further. At RPP, we are big believers in getting you mobile, strong, and powerful.
After skill, these three attributes are often what differentiates between the elite players and the rest. With a focus on long term and age-appropriate training programs, we look to make you more athletic as a player, which by the way is what most college coaches look for when scouting.
Every young athlete should be able to hip hinge, squat, push, pull, carry, and perform single-leg movements in order to move on to more “advanced” movements and speed work. Learning proper form from a young age is paramount as you get older and move to more complicated movement patterns.
Athletes who participated in resistance training earlier (13-14 yrs. old) demonstrate reduced lower extremity deficits and ultimately better mechanics both on the field and behind the plate. The sooner we can give an athlete confidence in their ability to execute the necessary motor skills in the gym in order to safely build strength, move more efficiently, and perform on the field, the sooner they will take ownership of their own training and be able carry this ownership through their high school years and later.
4. Measuring Metrics
As a player development facility, it’s in our DNA to measure how you stack up physically, or how a pitch moves upon release or how your bat path can impact your performance at the plate. Given our background and experience, we can put this information to work and improve your performance.
Our focus is long term athletic development, and we will measure the following from time to time to evaluate your progress:
- Physical strength
- Power production
- Bat speed
- Exit velo
- Throwing velocity
- Running speed
- Swing metrics
- Swing plane
- Rotational acceleration
- Pitch metrics
5. Arm Care
Arm care is an important topic that is often talked about, but little education and training goes into it with young athletes. Whether it’s the warm-up or a true arm care protocol, young athletes need to learn how to do it the right way. In a sport with a significant number of arm injuries, it’s paramount that young athletes learn what needs to be done before throwing, after throwing and even on non-throwing days.
Folks often relate arm care with band work. It’s important to highlight that although band work is important, it’s only a piece of the total equation. Other components include overall strength training, mobility, and recovery. However, here are a few words on Band work.
Young players are hardly ever taught proper band work. Ask 5 travel coaches, what are the best band workouts, and you’ll get 5 different answers. The reality is that each drill should be addressing a different need and most importantly, too much band work is just as bad as too little. Band work should be monitored for volume, and it should be about proper band tension, proper volume, and proper form.
We will teach you all the attributes of proper arm care.
6. Improving Speed Mechanics
You often see athletes training for speed by doing ladder drills over and over again. Ladder drills make you good at ladder drills. If you want to train for speed, you need specialized training.
Getting fast is first and foremost about getting strong. Without it, you will never be fast. Our speed program focuses on baseball specific topics, including:
- Linear Acceleration – Linear acceleration means getting our center of mass moving as quickly as possible moving forward and it’s about posture, power, and drive.
- Lateral Acceleration – Lateral acceleration is where a baseball player can separate himself among the pack. The ability to accelerate or change direction quickly while maintaining an athletic posture sets a ball player up, not only from a performance standpoint, but also visually speaks volumes about his athleticism during any recruiting process.
- Lateral Change-of-Direction – This is an area where many baseball players make the most mistakes. It’s also an area where top-end speed is not a factor, making those who are great movers in a short area excel. It can be particularly useful to the infielder who needs to make quick cuts to get to a ball on time, or a base runner in order to beat out a run down.
Click here for more on this topic.
7. Professional Coaching
By the time players reach the big boy baseball field (60×90), most parents want to get away from what they call daddy-ball. No offense to dad coaches, without dad-coaches Little League and youth travel programs would fall to pieces.
Our travel program will be coached professionally without regard to pre-existing relations among parents and players. We have one objective… make you the best version of yourself. Playing time is about development.
8. A Competitive Schedule
We are not going to play in leagues. Our plan is to play tournaments and select games against other quality programs. For this age group, we will play at Perfect Game events, Diamond Nation and other select tournaments locally and regionally.
9. In-season Strength Training
Next topic is often overlooked, which is what happens during the season. Playing baseball makes you better at your skill, but it doesn’t help maintain your strength or improve your power. In fact, without in-season training, your strength and power decreases during the season, unless you do something about it.
Our program will include in-season strength training, 1x per week during the spring program and 1x per week during the summer program. Maintaining off-season gains is the only way to make sure the hard work during the off-season isn’t wasted as the spring and summer season go along.
10. Nutrition Guidelines and Education
When it comes to player development, nutrition is paramount. We generally look for our athletes at RPP to have a weight to height ratio of 2.5-3.0x for optimal performance. Not all do, but it’s certainly a good target. In addition, we look for a Body Fat Percentage of 5-15% in our athletes. Although these metrics are excellent guides, most younger athletes struggle to add weight and lean muscle mass due to their high metabolism and less than optimal intake.
As a member of Revolution, we will provide our athletes with additional education on this important matter and provide guidance and access to nutritionists and nutrition programs to help them achieve their objectives on the field.
11. Mental Performance Training
Top 10 became 11, why not! In a mental game, mental performance training from a young age can pay huge dividends later on.
Most athletes tend to seek out help when things aren’t going well. Although that is an appropriate time to look for help, training the mental side of the game is an aspect that more athletes need to take seriously. In a game that’s highly competitive and 90% mental, it’s not a luxury item anymore. Training the mental performance side is a necessity.
As a member of Revolution, we will educate our players with the assistance of experts on the mental side of the game and provide them with additional information on this important matter, including partnering up with specialists who can help them achieve their objectives on the field.
Bottom line is that if you build a solid foundation early on, you can look towards developing other more advanced attributes as you get older. Revolution is a travel program with player development at its core. Our thinking is longer term with a view towards making you an elite level player by training on the field as much as off the field.
Any team can order uniforms, schedule tournaments, and hold practices. Running a travel program is not rocket science. True player development, on the other hand, requires an understanding of multiple disciplines brought together under one banner to help you become your best version.
Join the Revolution! Click below and join us at upcoming tryouts…