Bringing a host of player development programs to travel baseball is no easy task. However, given our history in this area, developing athletes is basically second nature to us. Our player development programs for Revolution players will have several basic principles that we believe are fundamental to performance and success:
- Warm-up to Play… Don’t Play to Warm-up
- Train What Matters
- Throwing Hard
- Swinging Fast
- Moving Fast
- Measure What Matters
- Running Speed
- Throwing Velocity
- Bat Speed / Exit Velo
- KEEP IT FUN!
To be successful at this game, player development at its core is about training the whole athlete from the ground up. This means teaching each and everyone how to warm-up properly, throw and swing with good mechanics, run fast, get strong, powerful and mobile, and make sure you train to be explosive in every aspect of your game. We view our player development programs in what we call BLOCKS and they are listed below.
The dynamic warm-up is an absolute “must” when it comes to preparing the body prior to any physical activity and / or strength and conditioning program. In addition to reducing the risk of injury, while enhancing subsequent performance in a multitude of ways, it also helps spoon-feed athletes great corrective exercise drills to address underlying muscle imbalances. A proper warm up should:
- Include both single joint and multi-joint movements
- Mobility at the ankles, hips shoulder and thoracic spine
- Movement drills to increase core body temperature in preparation for practice / games.
Let’s face it, everyone wants to throw hard, but we have to make sure we’re going about it the safest way possible. For pitchers and players, learning the correct way to train and take care of their arm is at the forefront of our programs. Our throwing block includes:
Band Work / Throwing Drills
We utilize band warm-up and throwing drills to:
- Help maintain cuff activation
- Improve shoulder and rotator cuff stability
- Re-map common throwing / mechanical disconnects
We use our long-toss program to help our athletes maintain proper throwing volume and intensity depending on where they are during the season. It is our belief that long toss should be a staple in every player’s routine, specifically to increase throwing velocity as well as getting the arm and tissue used to the stress of throwing.
Young athletes sometimes are not proficient enough in body awareness to be locked into a specific stance or hitting drill. We do however believe that there is an efficient way for all young athletes to work on specific drills that work for them in order to train the “skills that scale”. This involves working to improve:
- Bat Speed
- Exit Velocity
- Rotational Acceleration / Adjustability
In addition, we utilize Blast Motion sensors as well as HitTrax to continue to check that our prescribed drills are working, and baseline numbers are improving.
The more horsepower a baseball player has, the more force he is able to put into the ground to get his body, arm and / or bat moving quickly. We can teach hitting, throwing and running mechanics all we want, but if there is limited strength and power being put into the ground, it’s not only pointless but increases the risk of injury ten-fold.
Not only does getting stronger and improving stability increase performance and reduce the risk of injury, but it is a giant confidence builder that carries over not only to the field but in life in general. Our strength training programs develop:
- Upper and lower body strength and stability
- Core strength
- Plyometric training (med ball and lateral jump work)
With younger athletes, it is not uncommon to see 20-40% strength gains in even as little 8-10 weeks.
Speed Training Block
No matter what the sport is, everyone wants to be fast. Unfortunately, many baseball players simply accept their speed and write it off as “genetics”. While this is partially true, everyone can surely get faster. In a sport such as baseball, the ability to start and stop quickly is the deal breaker. Training comes down to a few key principles which we address weekly in the speed portion of our training. These include:
- Proper landing mechanics (stopping / deceleration)
- Linear and lateral acceleration (base running and stealing)
- Change-of-direction speed (fielding)
Fielding / Defensive Block
Training fielders is as much about training:
- Linear and lateral acceleration
- Change-of-direction speeds
as it is about training the actual skill of fielding a baseball. Our Speed Block (highlighted above) covers many of these elements.
In addition, we place great emphasis on teaching players the correct footwork, positioning, and glove work for each specific position on the field. By ensuring that our players have a solid technical foundation, they should be able to execute plays with efficiency and consistency, while reducing the risk of errors.
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.
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 any more. 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.
Additional RPP Programs – In addition to the above player development program for Revolution athletes, we offer extensive training programs at RPP, which we suggest our athletes take advantage of, including:
Recruiting Services – RPP Revolution will provide a complete offering in recruiting services for the older athletes. Click here for additional details…