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High Performance Training, Personal Trainer, Online Sports Training | Performance & Health
Updated: 11 hours 7 min ago

The Most Important Coaching Responsibility

Fri, 05/24/2019 - 05:27

We have an 11-week-old baby in the house, and my wife is breastfeeding her. We also have a twin four-year-old daughters. A few weeks ago, I found them both pretend breastfeeding their toy babies because – obviously – they want to be like Mommy.

A few weeks before that, I took those same four-year-olds out to breakfast while Mommy slept in after a sleep-deprived night with the newborn. As we were leaving the restaurant, one of my daughters jumped up and grabbed my arm as I was carrying hot coffee. I spilled a little bit of it, and muttered, “Dammit.” In the car on the ride home, her sister began singing, “Dammit, Dammit, Dammit” in her car seat. I’m sure a lot of the parents out there can relate to the shock value of the first time your kids swear because they heard it from you. Eye-opening, to say the least.

This isn’t specific to parenting or my kids, either. I can remember wanting to do whatever my older brother did, and as a result, falling for a lot of jokes growing up. When I was in eighth grade, and he was a senior in high school, I would’ve done anything he told me to do (and often did).

Athletic companies pay high-profile athletes to wear their shoes and clothing because younger athletes are impressionable and will, in turn, want to wear them, too. The Kardashians can sell just about anything to their followers. Advertising wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for impressionable consumers, and young kids and teenagers are far and away the most impressionable. In fact, current models suggest that the brain isn’t fully mature until age 25. I can even look back on things I purchased when I was 30, and wonder what the heck I was thinking.

Advertising can be both intentional and unintentional, favorable and unfavorable. The Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry reported that “the overall suicide rate among 10- to 17-year-olds increased significantly in the month immediately following the release of 13 Reasons Why” (a Netflix series about suicide). There’s even research demonstrating that “including a patient’s photo with imaging exam results may enable a more meticulous reading from the radiologist interpreting the images, as well as a more personal and empathetic approach.” Even brilliant minds can be unknowingly swayed by outside messages, and that’s on top of their intrinsic confirmation biases, too.

Where am I going with all this? We have a lot of coaches reading this article. And, whether they appreciate it or not, these coaches are some of the most profound influences on young athletes’ development. Whether coaches like it or not, they are constant walking advertisements for what young athletes should say, do, and look like. And, I’d argue that they’re among the most impactful advertisements because of a) the number of exposures they have to athletes and b) their positions of authority.

I know of training facilities that market heavily to young athletes in spite of the fact that their coaches’ social media presences – and even their facility walls – glorify alcohol consumption. At the very time when many of these teenagers’ parents are fretting over whether these impressionable kids will go off to college and make irresponsible decisions surrounding alcohol, these kids are being bombarded with pro-alcohol messages by some of the most respected people in their lives – in what should be an unconditionally positive environment. Mix in some unedited music with explicit lyrics and racially offensive language, and you’re not exactly making a case for being a strong influence on kids socially as you make them stronger physically.

Taking it a step further, I’ll take some heat for this, but…

It is fundamentally indefensible to coach a team of impressionable kids while you have a wad of tobacco in your mouth.
Click To Tweet

We can all debate how impactful these messages are, but at the end of the day, it’s hard to deny the facts that a) kids are very impressionable and b) these messages certainly aren’t yielding any positive outcomes.

All too often, coaches think that the most important decisions are about periodization, conditioning, pregame warm-ups, or some other X and O. The truth is that good coaching starts with making good decisions yourself and modeling those decisions to the athletes in front of you. Much like people need to be healthy humans before they become high-performing athletes, coaches needs to model behavior to that promotes healthy decision making off the field before they can work to optimize performance on the field.

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Elite Baseball Development Podcast: College Recruiting with Matt Hobbs

Wed, 05/22/2019 - 05:01

We’re excited to welcome University of Arkansas pitching coach Matt Hobbst. A special thanks to this show’s sponsor, Pedestal Footwear. Head to http://www.PedestalFootwear.com and enter the coupon code EC20 and you’ll receive a 20% off on your order.

Show Outline

  • How high school athletes can take ownership of their recruiting process and demonstrate their desire to invest in a college program authentically and effectively
  • Why college coaches appreciate accurate, succinct information
  • How pitchers and hitters alike can provide information that matters to these coaches
  • How players should capitalize on the large quantity of televised collegiate baseball games to study, learn, and identify what they need to do to get to the next level
  • Where parents and players should be investing to improve their chances of success
  • Who college coaches seek information from when inquiring about a potential recruit
  • Why parents should refrain from overselling their child’s abilities and how they can more effectively communicate with college coaches
  • What parents and players should be aware of in order to identify and avoid ill-motivated, sketchy college recruiting practices
  • Why players need to look beyond the name of a university and identify what their big rocks are for success in college and life thereafter
  • What Matt’s most impactful lessons are in his experience as a player and coach

You can follow Matt on Twitter at @Hobbs_38.

Sponsor Reminder

This episode is brought to you by Pedestal Footwear. As featured in Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Hufffington Post, and MSNBC – and trusted by the top strength coaches in the world – Pedestal Footwear is on a mission to get athletes out of traditional sneakers and into Pedestals to help mitigate injury and improve performance. They’re durable enough to handle all of your training needs; I LOVE them for deadlifting because they keep me in contact with the ground and have a patented grip design for added traction. They’re made in the USA and can fit in your pocket. Pedestal also offers cool customization and wholesale options. If you head to www.PedestalFootwear.com and enter the coupon code EC20 at checkout, you’ll get 20% off on your order.

Podcast Feedback

If you like what you hear, we’d be thrilled if you’d consider subscribing to the podcast and leaving us an iTunes review. You can do so HERE.

And, we welcome your suggestions for future guests and questions. Just email elitebaseballpodcast@gmail.com.

Thank you for your continued support!

Sign-up Today for our FREE Baseball Newsletter and Receive Instant Access to a 47-minute Presentation from Eric Cressey on Individualizing the Management of Overhead Athletes!

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 5/20/19

Mon, 05/20/2019 - 04:03

I hope you had a great weekend. Here’s a little recommended reading for the week ahead.

Show and Go: High Performance Training to Look, Feel, and Move Better – I turn 38 today, so I decided to put Show and Go, one of my more popular resources, on sale for 38% off. Just head HERE and the discount (from $59.99 to $37.19) will be automatically applied at checkout.

EC on the Lift the Bar Podcast – I joined Stuart Aitken on his podcast to chat about fitness industry success and building up career capital.

Gym Owner Musings: Installment 14 – My business partner, Pete Dupuis, always shares some good nuggets in these brain dumps. They’re must-read for gym owners.

Top Tweet of the Week

In training, we can’t just think about the positions we achieve, but also 1️⃣ how we get to them and 2️⃣the direction and magnitude of the forces acting on us in these positions. https://t.co/fgnsz2ae4J pic.twitter.com/05Lqu2TPlV

— Eric Cressey (@EricCressey) May 20, 2019

Top Instagram Post of the Week

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Here’s an awesome new exercise my buddy @smittydiesel texted me this morning. Smitty knows I like scapular upward rotation, shoulder flexion mobility, and reflexive rotator cuff recruitment like a fat kid loves cake. And, if you get a rotary stability challenge in the process, the cake is even sweeter. Give him a follow for some innovative tips and all-around awesomeness. #cspfamily #sturdyshouldersolutions

A post shared by Eric Cressey (@ericcressey) on May 16, 2019 at 2:37pm PDT

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Elite Baseball Development Podcast with Scott Oberg

Wed, 05/15/2019 - 05:33

We’re excited to welcome Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Scott Oberg to the podcast. A special thanks to this show’s sponsor, Athletic Greens. Head to http://www.athleticgreens.com/cressey and you’ll receive a free 20-pack of Athletic Greens travel packets with your first order.

Show Outline

  • What Scott’s college recruiting process was like as a late-blooming pitcher from the Northeast and why he chose to attend the University of Connecticut
  • How Scott persevered to overcome multiple injuries/conditions over his college baseball career
  • How Scott advanced quickly through the ranks of pro ball
  • How Scott’s journey through adversity has molded his mindset and what his advice is to young players looking to remain resilient through obstacles in their baseball career
  • Why Scott favored a two-seam fastball in college and how reintroducing a four-seam fastball back into his repertoire improved his game in pro ball
  • How becoming more self-aware and instilling confidence improved Scott’s command and transformed him from a fringe big leaguer to a mainstay in a big league bullpen
  • How controlling the count and competing from 0-0 makes pitching easier and allows pitchers to play the games within the game of baseball
  • How Scott developed a relationship with Texas Rangers minor league pitcher Tyler Phillips and what lessons Scott passes on to the aspiring big leaguer in their offseason training.

You can follow Scott on Instagram at @scottoberg45.

Sponsor Reminder

This episode is brought to you by Athletic Greens. It’s an all-in-one superfood supplement with 75 whole-food sourced ingredients designed to support your body’s nutrition needs across 5 critical areas of health: 1) energy, 2) immunity, 3) gut health, 4) hormonal support, and 5) healthy aging. Head to www.AthleticGreens.com/cressey and claim my special offer today – 20 FREE travel packs (valued at $79) – with your first purchase. I use this product daily myself and highly recommend it to our athletes as well. I’d encourage you to give it a shot, too – especially with this great offer.

Podcast Feedback

If you like what you hear, we’d be thrilled if you’d consider subscribing to the podcast and leaving us an iTunes review. You can do so HERE.

And, we welcome your suggestions for future guests and questions. Just email elitebaseballpodcast@gmail.com.

Thank you for your continued support!

Sign-up Today for our FREE Baseball Newsletter and Receive Instant Access to a 47-minute Presentation from Eric Cressey on Individualizing the Management of Overhead Athletes!

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 5/13/19

Mon, 05/13/2019 - 06:13

I hope you had a great weekend. After being a bit all over the place on when I published these features, we’re back on a Monday schedule with these recommended readings.

Table for One: How Eating Alone is Radically Changing Our Diets – I came across this article on The Guardian the other day and found it really interesting socially and nutritionally.

Speed Training for Hockey – I don’t have a big hockey following on this blog, but Kevin Neeld (Head Performance Coach for the Boston Bruins) is a good friend, former intern, and super bright mind in the hockey training field. He just released this resource, and it’s available at an excellent discount. If you train hockey players (or are one), it’s a no brainer to pick it up. I actually went through it and found some excellent ideas we can use with our baseball athletes as well.

5 Important Lessons on Balance Training – I wrote this article about a year ago, and a recent social media discussion brought it back to the forefront.

Top Tweet of the Week

Young coaches: there are key coaching qualities that immediately differentiate you, yet require no experience or academic preparation:

1⃣ punctuality
2⃣ spring in your step

Nobody wants to train w/someone who’s always late and just mopes around. Act like you want to be there.

— Eric Cressey (@EricCressey) May 7, 2019

Top Instagram Post of the Week

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Here’s a preliminary rendering of the new 10,000-square-foot @cresseysportsperformance FL facility in #palmbeachgardens. It’ll open up this winter. Some notes: 1⃣ the grassy area in front of the building will actually be a turfed infield and double as a Miracle League field 2⃣ the West (left, in this photo) end of the roof will extend out to cover hitting cages and pitching mounds 3⃣ we aren’t renaming CSP as “The Sports Center;” we’re just working through signage logistics 4⃣ the building will back up to the right field line of a showcase stadium field 5⃣ this is the view from @lomogram’s parking spot

10 Reasons to Use Wall Slides

Fri, 05/10/2019 - 04:23

Today’s guest post comes from my good friend and Elite Baseball Mentorships colleague, Eric Schoenberg. Enjoy! -EC

In response to the tweet below and in preparation for the upcoming CSP Elite Baseball Mentorship in June, we decided to put together an article dedicated to the wall slide.

In this article, we will discuss the top 10 findings from a wall slide assessment. In addition, we cover examples of how different coaching cues can benefit the athlete not only in their sport, but more so, in a particular moment in their sport.

This leads to the thought of using the term movement or “moment-specific” training rather than the overused “sport specific” terminology.

Here is the Tweet/question (thanks, Simon). The direct answer will come at the end of the article.

The wall slide was born through the work of Shirley Sahrmann and outlined in her book – Diagnosis and Treatment of Movement System Impairments.

Through many years of work and countless iterations, we have used and modified the pattern to allow for individualization of overhead activity in all body types and sports.

We use the wall slide as an assessment and an exercise every day with our athletes. It should be noted that the wall slide should serve as a bridge to any overhead activity (OH carries, landmine press, etc.) in your programming.

For each assessment finding using the Wall Slide Test, we use individual cues to assist the athlete in creating the desired movement correction. From there, we program the exercise into the warm-up or main program to help develop movement proficiency.

Here are ten reasons we use wall slides in our assessments:

1. Glenohumeral joint range of motion (ROM) – e.g. shoulder flexion

In the image below, we see Clint Capela and Andre Iguodala exhibiting adequate shoulder flexion, however, a slight lack of height, vertical jump, overhead strength, and timing may have resulted in the unfavorable result for AI.


Source: https://www.cbssports.com/nba/news/rockets-vs-warriors-clint-capela-meets-andre-iguodala-at-the-rim-with-incredible-two-handed-block/

2. Scapulo-thoracic joint ROM – e.g. scapular upward rotation and elevation

3. Cervical spine control – e.g. forward head tendency

4. Thoracic spine positioning – e.g. flat, extended vs. kyphotic, flexed

A clear illustration of the need to properly cue the Wall Slide and other overhead activities as it relates to the Thoracic Spine can be seen in the two pictures below.

a. OBJ’s catch shows elite thoracic extension in the overhead position. If Odell was an athlete that was more biased towards thoracic flexion, then his overhead mobility would be more limited and this iconic catch may have never happened. It is important to cue this pattern in the gym if it is required to happen on the field.


Source: https://ftw.usatoday.com/2014/11/odell-beckham-catch-new-york-giants-replay-youtube-vine-gif

b. In contrast, CSP athlete and St. Louis Cardinals All-Star Miles Mikolas does not require thoracic extension when his hand is fully overhead. In fact, he needs to be in a position of thoracic flexion to help deliver the scapula, arm, and hand at ball release. This pattern must also be trained.


Source: https://www.albanyherald.com/sports/cardinals-sign-pitcher-miles-mikolas-to–year-extension/article_7c3fec36-4408-5ce6-a053-3659320329c1.html

Note: This does not mean that Miles does not need thoracic extension to perform his job. It just means that he does not need to be trained into that position when his arm is fully overhead.

5. Lumbar spine positioning – e.g. excessive lumbar extension

6. Lumbo-pelvic stability – e.g. dropping into anterior pelvic tilt

7. Transverse plane alignment – e.g. spinal curvature or pelvic rotation

8. Lat length – e.g. athlete moves into humeral medial rotation at top of wall slide

In another example of the lat impacting overhead motion and movement quality, Rocky Balboa (not a CSP athlete, unfortunately!), shows a pattern of humeral medial rotation with overhead reaching. Interestingly, since his sport is not defined by vertical motion, but more so horizontal motion, Mr. Balboa does not require as much scapular upward rotation as a baseball player.


Source: https://www.phillyvoice.com/lesson-fake-news-faux-call-removal-rocky-statue/

 If we use the Pareto Principle (or the 80/20 rule), general fitness and athleticism should account for 80% of our training. However, the remaining 20% should be tailored to the movements, patterns, and positions that are unique to the athlete’s sport.

9. Motor Control – e.g. faulty scapulohumeral timing, inability to control scapulae eccentrically with arm lowering

10. Faulty activation patterns – e.g. overuse of upper trapezius vs. proper serratus and lower trapezius activation

In summary (and to answer the original question in the tweet above), the overhead reach (wall slide) is helpful to decrease upper trapezius involvement if the exercise is cued to do so. The ability to properly recruit serratus and lower trapezius to assist with scapular upward rotation will lessen the “need” for the upper trap to jump in too much. Remember, the upper trap does need to play a role in this movement, it just shouldn’t be doing all of the work.

As for the “extreme thoracic kyphosis” part…. It is important to first determine if this is a structural or functional issue. If it is structural, it will not change. In this case the wall slide can be used to train within this constraint to assist your client in finding solutions to get overhead. On the other hand, if the kyphosis is functional (meaning it can be changed), then the secret sauce is differentiating weakness, stiffness, shortness, and/or motor control issues as the reason for the kyphosis and difficulty getting overhead. The Wall Slide is a great tool to help tease that out to help your client.

If you want more information about this and many other aspects of the approaches that we utilize to manage the overhead athlete, please consider joining us June 23-25 at our Elite Baseball Mentorship program at CSP in Hudson, MA. The early-bird registration deadline is May 23.

This Cressey Sports Performance Elite Baseball Mentorship has a heavy upper extremity assessment and corrective exercise focus while familiarizing participants with the unique demands of the throwing motion. You’ll be introduced to the most common injuries faced by throwers, learn about the movement impairments and mechanical issues that contribute to these issues, and receive programming strategies, exercise recommendations, and the coaching cues to meet these challenges. For more information, click here.

About the Author

Eric Schoenberg (@PTMomentum) is a physical therapist and strength coach located in Milford, MA where he is co-owner of Momentum Physical Therapy. Eric is addicted to baseball and plays a part in the Elite Baseball Mentorship courses at Cressey Sports Performance. He can be reached at eric@momentumpt.com.

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Elite Baseball Development Podcast with Tyler Skaggs

Tue, 05/07/2019 - 19:23

 We’re excited to welcome Anaheim Angels starting pitcher Tyler Skaggs to the podcast. A special thanks to this show’s sponsor, Jaeger Sports. Head to www.JaegerSports.com and enter the coupon code CSP to get 20% off on your order through May 31.   

Show Outline

  • How Tyler’s experience as a multi-sport high school athlete facilitated his development as an athlete
  • Why Tyler progressed through minor league baseball and up to the big leagues quickly after being drafted out of high school in 2009
  • How Tyler has refined his curveball in pro baseball
  • How Tommy John surgery impacted Tyler’s career in 2014 and what his advice is for young pitchers who are going through major setbacks in their career
  • How Tyler is working to develop a slider and learning to differentiate this pitch from his curveball
  • How Tyler structures his throwing and training in season as a starting pitcher in a 5-day rotation
  • What Tyler’s routine is on the day of his start
  • How the game of baseball has evolved since Tyler was drafted a decade ago
  • How the use of technology in baseball has allowed Tyler to better understand his pitches and develop a plan to more precisely refine his craft
  • What characteristics in coaches have benefited Tyler’s development throughout his baseball career
  • How the role of the pitching coach is evolving to include a more holistic approach to player management
  • What the most common mistakes Tyler sees pitchers making when throwing curveballs

You can follow Tyler on Twitter at @TylerSkaggs37 and Instagram at @tskaggs45.

Sponsor Reminder

This episode is brought to you by Jaeger Sports, who specializes in arm health, arm conditioning, and mental training. Best known for their long toss protocols and popular J-Bands, Jaeger Sports has been helping baseball and softball athletes reach their potential on the field since 1991. Alan Jaeger has been a trusted resource to me for close to a decade, and many of our athletes use J-Bands every single day. Through May 31, you can get 20% off on your order at www.JaegerSports.com using the coupon code CSP.

 

Podcast Feedback

If you like what you hear, we’d be thrilled if you’d consider subscribing to the podcast and leaving us an iTunes review. You can do so HERE.

And, we welcome your suggestions for future guests and questions. Just email elitebaseballpodcast@gmail.com.

Thank you for your continued support!

Sign-up Today for our FREE Baseball Newsletter and Receive Instant Access to a 47-minute Presentation from Eric Cressey on Individualizing the Management of Overhead Athletes!

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 5/6/19

Mon, 05/06/2019 - 08:53

I hope you all had a great weekend and are ready to start the new week off with some great content from around the ‘Net! First, though, a quick favor: if you’ve been listening to my new podcast, could you please head over to iTunes and leave us a review? You can do so HERE. Thank you!

Now, on to this week’s recommended reading:

Does Norway Have the Answer to Excess in Youth Sports? – I found this article on sport participation in Norway fascinating. I think many other countries – America included – could learn a lot from this model.

8 Tips for Not Wasting Away During Summer Baseball – With summer baseball rapidly approaching, this is an important read for all the skinny teenagers who’ll be living out of hotels while at tournaments for weeks at a time.

Social Media For Your Gym: Pick a Lane and Stay in It – With a lot of business owners reading this site, Pete Dupuis’ writing is always invaluable. Check this one out for some direction on the social media front.

Top Tweet of the Week

The single-most important factor for long term athletic development is fun. More fun = better consistency and adherence = better outcomes. If they hate training at age 12, you can bet they’re going to be uninspired – or completely absent – by age 18.

— Eric Cressey (@EricCressey) May 3, 2019

Top Instagram Post of the Week

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BIG NEWS: this winter, @cresseysportsperformance will be moving our Florida location a few miles south as part of an exciting public/private partnership with the city of Palm Beach Gardens. The new location will feature: 1⃣ a state-of-the-art, brand new 10,000 square-foot training facility 2⃣ covered pitching mounds and hitting cages 3⃣ two large turfed agility infields that will also serve as Miracle League fields for charitable initiatives 4⃣ a larger showcase stadium field The Burns Rd. athletic complex is home to many other baseball fields and associated amenities, and will soon become one of the best baseball destinations in the country. We’re tremendously honored to be part of the project and so appreciative of the support of our vision from so many motivated, visionary people at the @cityofpbgardens. These facility upgrades will enable up to expand our offerings to baseball players of all levels, as well as play an active role in the wellness initiatives in the PBG community while encouraging tourism in the area to benefit the city economically.

Elite Baseball Development Podcast: Kids and Curveballs

Thu, 05/02/2019 - 07:53

We’re going to deviate from the normal single-guest model for this episode, and instead rock a collaborative effort between me and Cressey Sports Performance – MA pitching coordinator, Christian Wonders. We’re going to discuss the debate on when kids should start throwing curveballs and sliders.

A special thanks to this show’s sponsor, Athletic Greens. Head to http://www.athleticgreens.com/cressey and you’ll receive a free 20-pack of Athletic Greens travel packets with your first order.

Show Outline

  • What research says about youth pitchers throwing breaking balls
  • When the right time is to begin integrating a breaking ball into a young pitcher’s development
  • How Christian introduces a young pitcher to spinning a curveball for the first time
  • What steps Christian takes to progress a young pitchers from simply learning to spin a baseball to consistently throwing breakers in a game
  • Why youth pitchers should prioritize commanding fastball and changeup before jumping to learn a big breaking ball
  • How the delicacy involved in throwing curveballs takes young pitchers away from working late arm speed and powering through the baseball
  • What common mechanical compensations arise as young pitchers try to throw a quality curveball
  • How Christian plans to develop a curveball with his 10 year old brother
  • Why it is so crucial for pitchers to find a consistent and comfortable curveball grip that works for them
  • Why Christian never has any of his pitchers, youth, high school, or college, throw more than two off speed pitches in a row in bullpens
  • Why it’s important to replicate fastball arm speed on breaking pitches

You can follow Christian on Twitter at @csp_pitching, and on Instagram at @csp_pitching. Also, for more information about our upcoming CSP Elite Baseball Mentorship, be sure to check out www.EliteBaseballMentorships.com.

Sponsor Reminder

This episode is brought to you by Athletic Greens. It’s an all-in-one superfood supplement with 75 whole-food sourced ingredients designed to support your body’s nutrition needs across 5 critical areas of health: 1) energy, 2) immunity, 3) gut health, 4) hormonal support, and 5) healthy aging. Head to www.AthleticGreens.com/cressey and claim my special offer today – 20 FREE travel packs (valued at $79) – with your first purchase. I use this product daily myself and highly recommend it to our athletes as well. I’d encourage you to give it a shot, too – especially with this great offer.

Podcast Feedback

If you like what you hear, we’d be thrilled if you’d consider subscribing to the podcast and leaving us an iTunes review. You can do so HERE.

And, we welcome your suggestions for future guests and questions. Just email elitebaseballpodcast@gmail.com.

Thank you for your continued support!

Sign-up Today for our FREE Baseball Newsletter and Receive Instant Access to a 47-minute Presentation from Eric Cressey on Individualizing the Management of Overhead Athletes!

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Elite Baseball Development Podcast with Adam Ottavino

Tue, 04/30/2019 - 19:24

We’re excited to welcome New York Yankees relief pitcher Adam Ottavino to the podcast. A special thanks to this show’s sponsor, Lumberlend. Head to www.Lumberlend.com and enter the coupon code CSP to get free shipping on your order of two or more bat mugs.   

Show Outline

  • Why Adam opted to attend Northeastern University instead of immediately pursing professional baseball when drafted out of high school.
  • How Adam learned to spin the baseball well at a young age, and how aspiring ball players can become masters of manipulating the movement on a baseball.
  • How Adam developed his current pitch arsenal as he progressed through pro ball.
  • How altitude influences pitching and the hidden advantage of pitching at Coors Field.
  • How Adam made a successful transition from a starter to reliever.
  • Why Tommy John turned out to be a blessing in disguise for Adam, as he took advantage of his time away from the game to prepare physically and experience the mental reps necessary to be immediately successful upon his return.
  • How the tribulations of the 2017 season led to the creation of Adam’s “lab” in Manhattan and the diligent work that followed to propel him to a successful 2018.
  • Why it’s important to differentiate between a cutter and his slider
  • How Adam keeps a level head through the emotional roller coaster of a major league season.
  • Why it’s so important to play meaningful catch, throw with conviction, and understand when the best opportunity is for you to refine your various pitches.
  • Why advice from Adam’s little league coach proved to be one of the most impactful lessons of his baseball career

You can follow Adam on Instagram at @adamottavino.

Sponsor Reminder

This episode is brought to you by Lumberlend Co. If you’re looking for a unique gift for a baseball fan in your life, you’ll definitely want to check this out: they’ve hollowed out the bat barrel and created a cool drinking mug. You can customize these with colors, names, logos, and photographs. They’re also an officially licensed MLBPA product, so you can get your favorite teams and players incorporated into the designs. I’ve used these as gifts with great feedback, so I’m confident you’d experience the same. The crew at Lumberlend is offering free shipping on two or more bat mugs with the coupon code CSP at checkout. Just head to Lumberlend.com to design yours today.

Podcast Feedback

If you like what you hear, we’d be thrilled if you’d consider subscribing to the podcast and leaving us an iTunes review. You can do so HERE.

And, we welcome your suggestions for future guests and questions. Just email elitebaseballpodcast@gmail.com.

Thank you for your continued support!

Sign-up Today for our FREE Baseball Newsletter and Receive Instant Access to a 47-minute Presentation from Eric Cressey on Individualizing the Management of Overhead Athletes!

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Subscapularis 101

Sat, 04/27/2019 - 06:43

The subscapularis is the largest of the four rotator cuff muscles, but it might also be the most misunderstood. With that in mind, I thought I’d use today’s video as a chance to bring you up to speed on it:

This video is an excerpt from my popular Sturdy Shoulder Solutions resource. For more information, head to www.SturdyShoulders.com.

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 4/26/19

Fri, 04/26/2019 - 05:08

Today, I’ve got a little recommended reading and listening to wrap up your week! Before I get to it, though, just a quick reminder that the early-bird registration deadline for my June 2 shoulder course in St. Louis is quickly approaching. You can learn more HERE.

Just a Coach in the Strength and Conditioning Profession – Jim Ferris is an accomplished coach whose social media posts are always super entertaining. He’s got a great sense of humor and a lot of experience, so it’s awesome to see him publishing articles now.

Strength Training for the Softball Athlete – I joined the National Fastpitch Coaches Association podcast to talk about strength and conditioning in the softball world. It covers a wide range of topics, though, ranging from long-term athletic development to specific injury prevention.

How to Show You’re Passionate in a Job InterviewOn the surface, this has nothing to do with strength and conditioning. However, just about everyone who interviews for a S&C position invariably falls back on leveraging their passion to make their case. If you’re going to use that approach, keep these strategies from the Harvard Business Review in mind.

Top Tweet of the Week

Lesson for injured athletes: learn why. I sent @Mike_Soroka28 my Sturdy Shoulders course wks before we met. He watched all 7hrs & showed up w/a list of questions & had already started implementing correctives he’d identified as key for him. Knowledge is power; own your career.

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Elite Baseball Development Podcast with Bob Tewksbury

Tue, 04/23/2019 - 19:52

We’re excited to welcome retired MLB pitcher and current Chicago Cubs Mental Skills Coordinator Bob Tewksbury to the podcast. A special thanks to this show’s sponsor, Lumberlend. Head to www.Lumberlend.com and enter the coupon code CSP to get free shipping on your order of two or more bat mugs.   

Show Outline

  • What made Bob Tewksbury a successful MLB pitcher for 12 years.
  • What inspired Bob to pursue a career as a mental skills coach.
  • Why Bob returned to school after his playing days to obtain a Master’s Degree in sport psychology and counseling from Boston University rather than relying solely on his professional baseball experience to propel his career as mental skills coach.
  • How we can end the stigma around mental skills coaching and the idea that mental practice is only necessary when things are not going right.
  • How Bob established credibility as a mental skills coach and how parents and coaches can distinguish charlatans from reputable professionals in the industry of sports psychology.
  • How to overcome the reluctance players have towards discussing the vulnerable topics of mental skills.
  • What strategies Bob uses to open the conversation with players who need help.
  • Why self awareness is important for building a system to govern your mentality.
  • How developing mental skills with high school, college, and professional athletes is similar and different
  • How parents and coaches can learn to foster a positive environment, more effectively monitor each child’s psychological needs, and better develop the youth they influence.
  • Why it’s important to understand the difference between fantasizing and imagery and how grounded goals give visualization substance.

You can pick up Bob’s awesome book, 90 Percent Mental, here.

You can follow Bob on Twitter at @bob_tewsbury, and on Instagram at @btewksbury39.

Sponsor Reminder

This episode is brought to you by Lumberlend Co. If you’re looking for a unique gift for a baseball fan in your life, you’ll definitely want to check this out: they’ve hollowed out the bat barrel and created a cool drinking mug. You can customize these with colors, names, logos, and photographs. They’re also an officially licensed MLBPA product, so you can get your favorite teams and players incorporated into the designs. I’ve used these as gifts with great feedback, so I’m confident you’d experience the same. The crew at Lumberlend is offering free shipping on two or more bat mugs with the coupon code CSP at checkout. Just head to Lumberlend.com to design yours today.

Podcast Feedback

If you like what you hear, we’d be thrilled if you’d consider subscribing to the podcast and leaving us an iTunes review. You can do so HERE.

And, we welcome your suggestions for future guests and questions. Just email elitebaseballpodcast@gmail.com.

Thank you for your continued support!

Sign-up Today for our FREE Baseball Newsletter and Receive Instant Access to a 47-minute Presentation from Eric Cressey on Individualizing the Management of Overhead Athletes!

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 4/20/19

Sat, 04/20/2019 - 09:02

I hope you had a great week. In case you’re looking for some recommended reading while you’re sipping coffee this weekend, here’s a good collection:

Overcoming the “Best Coach on Staff” Problem – This might be my favorite blog post that my business partner, Pete Dupuis, has ever written. This is a problem that just about every gym faces as they experience growth.

5 Simple Hacks You Can Use in the Gym Today– Here’s a collection of programming and coaching strategies from Mike Robertson that you can immediately apply in the gym.

5 Reasons for the Increase in Lat Strains in Baseball -It’s early in the season, but we’ve already seen several noteworthy lat (and teres major) injuries in professional baseball. Here are some reasons why.

Top Tweet of the Week

Young athletes need to be given opportunities to fail in training without significant consequences. Beyond the obvious motor learning benefits, it keeps them humble and hungry.

— Eric Cressey (@EricCressey) April 13, 2019

Top Instagram Post of the Week

        View this post on Instagram                  

I intended to take this video as a example of how going to one-arm pressing can be a great way to train rotary stability while preserving a training effect with less external loading. When I watched the video, however, it actually served as a reminder that I need to keep my head on the bench when I’m pressing – and this is probably part of why my neck gets cranky sometimes. You’re never too experienced to use video to fine-tune training technique. #alwayslearning #cspfamily

A post shared by Eric Cressey (@ericcressey) on Apr 13, 2019 at 9:11am PDT

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Elite Baseball Development Podcast with Ryan Flaherty

Thu, 04/18/2019 - 11:36

We’re excited to welcome Cleveland Indians utility player Ryan Flaherty to the podcast. A special thanks to this show’s sponsor, Lumberlend. Head to www.Lumberlend.com and enter the coupon code CSP to get free shipping on your order of two or more bat mugs.   

Show Outline

  • How being a multi-sport athlete from Maine had a profound impact on Ryan’s early athletic development.
  • How Ryan’s recruiting process led him to Vanderbilt to play for Tim Corbin
  • How he transformed from a gangly, undrafted high school senior into a SEC standout as a freshman.
  • How Ryan’s early struggles in college led him to became a utility player
  • Why the versatility a utility player adds to a MLB lineup is so crucial – and how Ryan prepares for these demands
  • Why third base was the most challenging position for Ryan to learn as a utility man.
  • What Ryan’s routine is when he does not start, but needs to be ready to strategically enter in later innings.
  • Why Ryan could be a managerial candidate after his playing days due to his appreciation for the behind the scenes influence of coaching in the game of baseball.

You can follow Ryan on Twitter at @RFlaherty3, and on Instagram at @RFlaherty27.

Sponsor Reminder

This episode is brought to you by Lumberlend Co. If you’re looking for a unique gift for a baseball fan in your life, you’ll definitely want to check this out: they’ve hollowed out the bat barrel and created a cool drinking mug. You can customize these with colors, names, logos, and photographs. They’re also an officially licensed MLBPA product, so you can get your favorite teams and players incorporated into the designs. I’ve used these as gifts with great feedback, so I’m confident you’d experience the same. The crew at Lumberlend is offering free shipping on two or more bat mugs with the coupon code CSP at checkout. Just head to Lumberlend.com to design yours today.

Podcast Feedback

If you like what you hear, we’d be thrilled if you’d consider subscribing to the podcast and leaving us an iTunes review. You can do so HERE.

And, we welcome your suggestions for future guests and questions. Just email elitebaseballpodcast@gmail.com.

Thank you for your continued support!

Sign-up Today for our FREE Baseball Newsletter and Receive Instant Access to a 47-minute Presentation from Eric Cressey on Individualizing the Management of Overhead Athletes!

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Mid-Week Movement Miscellany

Wed, 04/17/2019 - 13:37

With the launch of my new podcast, I’ve been a bit quiet on the blogging front. However, I’ve got plenty of thoughts rattling around in my brain, so I thought I’d pull together an article on the topic. Heck, we might even make this a regular series. Here goes…

1. On average, female athletes respond differently to eccentric stress than male athletes do.

Last year, I wrote a blog (Making Movement Better: Duct Tape or WD40?) that touched on the fact that many pitchers lose range of motion at the shoulder and elbow as adaptations to the crazy high eccentric stress experienced during pitching. I also was careful to note that not everyone loses range of motion; in fact, some athletes gain motion (become more unstable). 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, research in the softball pitching world shows that females don’t lose range-of-motion following softball pitching even though they’re still encountering noteworthy eccentric stress. Females are more likely to be hypermobile, so it makes sense that they become more unstable than they do “tight.” In short, you probably aren’t going to have to work as hard to gain ROM in softball pitchers; your efforts are better directed at regaining neuromuscular control with low-level stabilization exercises.

2. Reaching exercises should drive thoracic flexion and scapular upward rotation, but not necessarily pec recruitment.

On a recent Instagram Q&A, I received the question (paraphrased), “How can I get better scapular contact on the ribs during reaches without too much pec recruitment?” Here was my answer:

3. The best coaching cue for an exercise might just be to do a different exercise.

Also on that Q&A, I got an inquiry about what to do with low back pain due to excessive arching at the bottom of an ab wheel rollout. The answer was pretty simple: regress the exercise; you aren’t ready for ab wheel rollouts.

With anterior core exercises like this, it works a bit like a seesaw: the further the arms go away from the body, the harder the exercise feels (imagine moving a little kid to the end of a seesaw; his weight doesn’t change, but the amount of force at the other end of the seesaw needed to offset him does simply because of his positioning). When an individual dumps into anterior pelvic tilt/lordosis (excessive arching) as the arms get further away from the body on a rollout, it’s one means of shortening that distance. And, it allows the individual to hang out on the passive restraints on the posterior aspect of the spine instead of using active muscular control to create stability.

A better option would be a stir the pot, stability ball rollout (if you don’t go DOWN as far, you don’t go OUT as far), or even just a regular prone bridge. These regressions are easy inclusions that are tremendously helpful when dealing with less trained individuals or athletes with long limbs (and spines).

If you’re looking to learn a bit more about this topic, I’d encourage you to check out my resource, Understanding and Coaching the Anterior Core. This seminar presentation is a thorough tutorial on how to best coach and program these invaluable exercises.

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Elite Baseball Development Podcast with Steve Cishek

Thu, 04/11/2019 - 07:59

We’re excited to welcome Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Steve Cishek to the podcast. A special thanks to this show’s sponsor, Lumberlend. Head to www.Lumberlend.com and enter the coupon code CSP to get free shipping on your order of two or more bat mugs.   

Show Outline

  • How underdeveloped, high school Steve Cishek sent VHS tapes to college coaches enticing them to recruit him
  • Why Division 2 Carson-Newman College was the right fit for Steve and his development
  • How Steve’s arm slot has remained consistent throughout his career, and he has instead manipulated his trunk position to find the pitching delivery that works best for him
  • How Steve’s appearance in the 2013 World Baseball Classic contributed to his struggles in April 2013 following the WBC, and what he learned about his fastball and what makes him effective as a pitcher during this time
  • How Steve’s slider developed in the minors
  • Why Steve’s humility has made him a popular player in every clubhouse in which he plays
  • How Steve modified his throwing program daily to account for his workload as a reliable reliever in-season
  • How Steve remains even keel through the ups and downs of a season
  • How Steve approaches in-season training
  • Why Cishek’s fastball usage is increasing when fastball usage is trending down across most of MLB
  • Steve explains ways young pitcher’s can build rapport with their catcher.

You can follow Steve on Twitter at @srShrek31, and on Instagram at @srShrek31.

Sponsor Reminder

This episode is brought to you by Lumberlend Co. If you’re looking for a unique gift for a baseball fan in your life, you’ll definitely want to check this out: they’ve hollowed out the bat barrel and created a cool drinking mug. You can customize these with colors, names, logos, and photographs. They’re also an officially licensed MLBPA product, so you can get your favorite teams and players incorporated into the designs. I’ve used these as gifts with great feedback, so I’m confident you’d experience the same. The crew at Lumberlend is offering free shipping on two or more bat mugs with the coupon code CSP at checkout. Just head to Lumberlend.com to design yours today.

Podcast Feedback

If you like what you hear, we’d be thrilled if you’d consider subscribing to the podcast and leaving us an iTunes review. You can do so HERE.

And, we welcome your suggestions for future guests and questions. Just email elitebaseballpodcast@gmail.com.

Thank you for your continued support!

Sign-up Today for our FREE Baseball Newsletter and Receive Instant Access to a 47-minute Presentation from Eric Cressey on Individualizing the Management of Overhead Athletes!

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Elite Baseball Development Podcast with Joe Panik

Sun, 04/07/2019 - 06:08

We’re excited to welcome San Francisco Giants infielder Joe Panik to this week’s podcast. A special thanks to this show’s sponsor, Athletic Greens. Head to http://www.athleticgreens.com/cressey and you’ll receive a free 20-pack of Athletic Greens travel packets with your first order.

Show Outline

  • Joe’s journey to MLB and the developmental years he spent in college and minor league baseball to grow into the player he is today.
  • Joe discusses the challenges of being scouted as a hitter from the Northeast and how this impacted the direction of his early career.
  • The reason he chose to attend St. John’s and honor that commitment despite enticing offers from bigger schools.
  • Joe’s response to high school scouting reports on him
  • How criticism and speculation in Joe’s early career propelled him to be meticulous in mastering his craft.
  • The fundamental focused mindset that has led Joe to become the consistent Major League player he is today.
  • How Joe has modeled his game to play to his strengths, allow him to be himself on the field, and find success at the highest level.
  • The culture of the San Francisco Giants and how coaches and veteran players can make the transition to the next level easier for young players.
  • Joe’s hitting approach and why he continues to have a low strikeout percentage when the game of baseball is trending in the opposite direction.
  • The adjustments he has made to his swing and training in preparation for the 2019 season.
  • Joe’s thoughts on characteristics of the most impactful coaches he’s had

You can follow Joe on Twitter at @JoePanik, and on Instagram at @JoePanik.

Sponsor Reminder

This episode is brought to you by Athletic Greens. It’s an all-in-one superfood supplement with 75 whole-food sourced ingredients designed to support your body’s nutrition needs across 5 critical areas of health: 1) energy, 2) immunity, 3) gut health, 4) hormonal support, and 5) healthy aging. Head to www.AthleticGreens.com/cressey and claim my special offer today – 20 FREE travel packs (valued at $79) – with your first purchase. I use this product daily myself and highly recommend it to our athletes as well. I’d encourage you to give it a shot, too – especially with this great offer.

Podcast Feedback

If you like what you hear, we’d be thrilled if you’d consider subscribing to the podcast and leaving us an iTunes review. You can do so HERE.

And, we welcome your suggestions for future guests and questions. Just email elitebaseballpodcast@gmail.com.

Thank you for your continued support!

Sign-up Today for our FREE Baseball Newsletter and Receive Instant Access to a 47-minute Presentation from Eric Cressey on Individualizing the Management of Overhead Athletes!

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff you Should Read: 4/6/19

Sat, 04/06/2019 - 09:52

It’s time for my first installment of recommended reading for April of 2019. Here goes…

EC in St. Louis Seminar Announcement – I’ll be speaking in St. Louis on June 2, and I’d love to see you there.

Why Rotating Exercises is Critical for Long-Term Progress – Mike Robertson might have authored the top article of 2019 here. I can’t possibly agree more with the points he makes.

The Dichotomy of Leadership – I’m currently about 2/3 of the way through this audiobook from Leif Babbin and Jocko Willink. If you liked “Extreme Ownership,” you’ll love this one, too.

Corey Kluber on the Elite Baseball Development Podcast – My first podcast was a great hit; be sure to listen to one of the best pitchers in the game share his thoughts on Pitch Design, Developing a Process, and Preparing for Long-Term Success.

Top Tweet of the Week

Posterior pelvic tilt increases lower trap activation. Just a friendly reminder to all the college baseball players doing ugly band routines this weekend; control your core! It should look like the one on the left. https://t.co/RM9ltuxYiH pic.twitter.com/0RqSxclAe2

— Eric Cressey (@EricCressey) March 30, 2019

Top Instagram Post of the Week

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I call this one the “uh, we don’t know why your anterior shoulder hurts, so we’ll just throw some poop on the wall and see what sticks” cupping pattern. It’s often accompanied by a haphazard “biceps tendinitis” diagnosis.

Elite Baseball Development Podcast with Corey Kluber

Thu, 04/04/2019 - 19:17

We’re excited to welcome two-time American League Cy Young winner Corey Kluber to this week’s podcast. A special thanks to this show’s sponsor, Athletic Greens. Head to http://www.athleticgreens.com/cressey and you’ll receive a free 20-pack of Athletic Greens travel packets with your first order.

Show Outline

  • Corey’s journey to MLB and the developmental years he spent in college and minor league baseball to grow into the player he is today.
  • The establishment and refinement of Corey’s process.
  • Corey’s creation of routines to inspire comfort on game day.
  • The pre-pitch routine and mental approach Corey implements when he toes the rubber.
  • Having a feel for pitches, reading hitters, and building a relationship with the catcher to have the ability to make adjustments on the fly and compete at the highest level.
  • The design of Corey’s pitching arsenal, including: developing his slider, learning to throw a 2-seam fastball, and having confidence in the changeup.
  • A discussion of the throwing and training programs Corey relies on to remain durable.
  • The entertaining story of CSP-MA pitching coordinator Christian Wonders’ first day throwing with Corey.
  • What advise current Corey would give to the teenage, college, and minor league Corey Kluber

You can follow Corey on Instagram at @ckluber28, and on Twitter at @CKluber. To learn more about The Kluber Foundation’s charitable initiatives, be sure to check out www.CoreyKluber.org.

Sponsor Reminder

This episode is brought to you by Athletic Greens. It’s an all-in-one superfood supplement with 75 whole-food sourced ingredients designed to support your body’s nutrition needs across 5 critical areas of health: 1) energy, 2) immunity, 3) gut health, 4) hormonal support, and 5) healthy aging. Head to www.AthleticGreens.com/cressey and claim my special offer today – 20 FREE travel packs (valued at $79) – with your first purchase. I use this product daily myself and highly recommend it to our athletes as well. I’d encourage you to give it a shot, too – especially with this great offer.

Podcast Feedback

If you like what you hear, we’d be thrilled if you’d consider subscribing to the podcast and leaving us an iTunes review. You can do so HERE.

And, we welcome your suggestions for future guests and questions. Just email elitebaseballpodcast@gmail.com.

Thank you for your continued support!

Sign-up Today for our FREE Baseball Newsletter and Receive Instant Access to a 47-minute Presentation from Eric Cressey on Individualizing the Management of Overhead Athletes!

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