Sunday, December 11, 2016
Functional Training Bands
These fit easily into an equipment bag and can be attached to a fence or post. Great option for core/shoulder stability strength.
I would go with the extra light (purple) or light (magenta) versions. In this case you're using these bands to help develop movement control and not maximum strength. Ideal for teenage athletes.
This week on Instagram I will be sharing videos of my favorite exercises using these bands.
Outstanding tool for developing rotational power required for hitting, throwing, pitching and even running the bases (turn and go!). I suggest 4 pounds for middle school athletes and 6 pounds for high school athletes. You don't want to go to heavy here. The emphasis is on efficiency and speed of execution. If the ball is to big/heavy it tends to lead to compensation and poor mechanics.
These are ideal for throwing in to brick walls or up against the fence. Check my Instagram out the 2nd week of January for exercises using med balls. Why January? This is when you'll want to start incorporating these into your offseason training program.
These are small but pack a powerful training punch. They easily fit into your baseball bag. These bands can be an outstanding tool for conditioning the hips. Hip rotation is an often overlooked quality when it comes to conditioning for baseball. You can use mini bands to help prepare your hips for the rotational demands of playing baseball. I would go with all 4 resistance options (Light-X Heavy).
I will be posting mini band hip conditioning exercises on Instagram the 3rd week of January. I will give you a few pointers on how to effectively use mini bands.
I just checked and the mini bands and the functional training bands are on sale this week. Just follow the link.
If you haven't started thinking about your off season conditioning plan now would be a good time to start. The three training tools that I listed here are all easy to implement options that will help you perform better on the field and help ensure your durable enough to stay there!
Sunday, November 20, 2016
Sunday, October 2, 2016
Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers described the relative age effect in sports; athletes born in the month(s) immediately following the age-cutoff date are disproportionately overrepresented in the sport.
For example, data kept from 1950-2005* shows that most American Major League Baseball players were born in the month of August (503). Further, every month after August of a particular birth year until July 31 of the following year, (313) there was a steady decline in the likelihood that an American child would become a major leaguer.
What is so magical about August? For more than 55 years (beginning in 1950 when organized Little League baseball got its start), July 31 had been the age-cutoff date used by virtually all non-school affiliated baseball leagues in the U.S.
The Baseball Info Solutions (BIS) database contains birth information about all major and upper-level minor league players active since 2002. According to the data, 18.6 major league players were born per day in August, compared to just 12.5 players per day in July. The BIS data also shows a 26.6% spike in August while July comes in at 15.4% below average.
In almost every American youth league, the oldest players had been the ones born in August, and the youngest were those with July birthdays.
For example, someone born on July 31, 2000, would almost certainly have been the youngest player on his youth team in 2011, his first year playing in the 11-and-12-year-olds league, and of average age in 2012, his second year in the same league. Someone born on Aug. 1, 1999, by contrast, would have been of average age in 2011, his first year playing in the 11-and-12-year-olds division, and would almost certainly be the oldest player in the league in 2012.
Twelve full months of development makes a huge difference for an 11- or 12-year-old. The player who is 12 months older will, on average, be bigger, stronger, and more coordinated than his younger counterpart, not to mention more experienced. And those bigger, better players are the ones given opportunities for further advancement. Other players, who are just as skilled for their age, are less likely to be given those same opportunities simply because of when they were born. Bryce Harper would've been a star no matter his birth month, but a player like Dustin Pedroia (8/17/83) who has less natural aptitude for the sport, might have gotten a small leg up over similarly skilled players because he's an August baby. It's clear by the numbers that this small advantage can have an impact that lasts a lifetime.
In 2006, USA Baseball changed the domestic age determination date to April 30 of the current year. The age of a baseball player as of April 30 is that player's "league age" for the season.
According to USA Baseball:
The primary reason to change the domestic determination age is so most players on a team will spend the majority of the regular season at the same chronological age as their league age. Currently, more than 95 percent of all local Little League programs start their seasons before May 1.
Most youth baseball organization members under the jurisdiction of USA Baseball have adopted the April 30 age determination date.
With the new rule it will take a while to shake out how this affects rosters at the Major League level but I think we should definitely be aware of the historical data. Those who fail to acknowledge history could lose out on a significant pool of talent if we don’t think this thing through a little more critically.
For example, does moving the cutoff date from July 31 to April 30 really matter? It doesn’t’ appear that this will actually fix anything over the long-term. All that will likely happen is that kids born in the month of May will now have a big advantage. After all, players born immediately after the age determination date have been shown to have a decided advantage over players born in the months just before it because they are more physically mature and able to dominate their competition at the youth level.
Allan Simpson in the February 2005 edition of Baseball America wrote-
Research has shown that a majority of players on youth league all-star teams of all age groups are born in the four months immediately after July 31. That advantage carried forward to the major league level, as more 2004 big leaguers were born in August (123) than any other month, and the fewest were born in July (89).
If we chose to we could acknowledge that cutoff dates matter. We could set up different tracks of development, one for the early developers and one for the potential late bloomers. Keep those late bloomers involved during their developmental years and continue to provide them with quality coaching and instruction. The results should be significant. In 2 or 3 years, you would have a much larger talent pool to choose from.
According to Bill James online:
If organized baseball could manage to develop these overlooked ballplayers as well as it develops August-born (now May) talent, there would be 25% more MLB-caliber players. The league could expand to 7 or 8 additional markets without a drop in quality, leading to more revenues for the league, owners, players, and individual cities.
The solution won’t be easy but even a small group of committed individuals can make a big difference. By placing an emphasis on athlete development rather than arbitrarily rewarding those with the happy fortune of being born in August… or now May we can start to create the necessary social proof that will be vital for getting the attention of the entire baseball community.
The organization that decides and acts to serve in the best interest of their young athletes will undoubtedly become an Outlier, an organization with humble intentions that will become the beacon for others to follow.
*In 2006, the age cutoff date moved from July 31 to April 30.
Tuesday, September 13, 2016
Tuesday, August 30, 2016
- They lose shoulder internal rotation (this is what happens on the follow through)
- They gain shoulder external rotation (this is the lay-back, cocking position, a case where more is not always better)
- They lose elbow extension (the ability to straighten your arm)
- They lose shoulder and scapular strength
- You will lose overall body strength and power
- Your posture and alignment will change
October- No baseball skill work. Get to work on cleaning up your nutrition, sleep, and hydration habits. Also hit the books hard while you one less obligation. Attach these things as if they are part of your baseball preparation because they are.
Sunday, August 7, 2016
Tuesday, August 2, 2016
Daniel led the team in just about every offensive stat! I had several, several parents comment on Daniel's speed improvement this spring (eye ball test "he looks faster") and I have a feeling Daniel will have some company heading to the training facility this fall and winter to work with you!
- Chris, father of JV Baseball player
My girls’ soccer team worked with Coach Loomis last winter. His focus was on building a strong core for our female athletes. Injury prevention and proper technique were taught to our athletes. This past spring our team suffered very little, if any injuries. I believe that our lack of injury this season can be attributed to our girls participating in Phil Loomis’ off-season program.
- Todd, Troy Athens Varsity Soccer
Congratulations on your being named one of the International Youth Conditioning Associations Coaches of Distinction… USAH appreciates the time and effort our volunteer coaches, like you, put forward for the kids.
- Bob, USA Hockey’s American Development Model Regional Manager
Freddy really enjoyed your training program and we could really see the difference in both his body and his attitude.
- Jim, father of 4 year Varsity infielder
Phil takes my development personally. My goals are his goals. He is committed to pushing me to reach those goals so he constantly adapts my training to fit my needs as an athlete. Phil deeply cares about me as a person as well as an athlete.
- Matthew, joining U16 New York Red Bulls Youth Soccer Academy, Fall 2016
Our son thinks your approach to core training, plyometrics and neuromuscular training is the best!
- Bruce, father of Division 1 Scholarship Big Ten Football Athlete
We love the influence you have in Damian’s life. Lucky mom!
- Jinny, mother of 2 times Division 1 High School State Tennis Champion
Beth and I sincerely appreciate your work with Daniel this winter, and the note that you sent out to the players that did not make baseball teams this spring was right on the money. Today, he hit what I would call a routine grounder to short and I am still amazed that he beat it out. I don't think he would have made it last year and while some of it is that extra edge I think not making the team last year has given him, I also know it was your work with him this winter.
Thanks for your coaching and your belief in my son.
- Chris and Beth, parents of JV Baseball player
You are very much a main part of Michael’s life right now. You may not realize the effect you have had on him over the past few years. His maturity and strength-of-self have exponentially grown over the course of his high school years
- Kyra, mother of 3 boys
Thanks for all the time an effort you have put in to Drew’s training. Drew definitely enjoys training with you and trusts and respects you very much and for that I appreciate all you do.
- Dan, father of High School varsity Baseball player
Thursday, June 23, 2016
I have been working with a young athlete the past two years whom has really developed himself into an excellent soccer goalkeeper.
He was recently invited to spend a week with the US National Team in Bradenton, Florida. You would expect that this athlete has been specializing in soccer most of his life (16 years) and more specifically has been groomed to be a goalkeeper.
That is not the case. He only recently (within the last two years) converted to goalie after have been a field player throughout most of his soccer experience.
The evaluation from the folks with the National Team was that he just needed more “reps.” This makes sense considering his relative lack of experience at the position. I think it’s very important to note that he wasn’t told that he needed to get more athletic (stronger, faster, more agile/powerful).
This young athletes’ athletic development was as close to ideal as can be expected in the modern youth sport culture in America. He played multiple sports growing up and when he decided to stick with one sport (in mid teens) he learned how to play the entire game. Now he takes that diverse athleticism and knowledge of the overall game of soccer and applies it to his development as a goalkeeper.
To often these days not only do kids specialize way too early they also specialize within the sport and this is highly restrictive to optimal athletic development. Think of specialization as Saran Wrap on your potential and intra-sport specialization as a manhole cover!
This young athlete just needs more reps this will require great attention to detail and a commitment to put in the essential work. At 16 years of age with highly supportive parents this is well within his capabilities. However if he were told he wasn’t athletic enough that would have been a HUGE issue. At 16 in most cases that critical window of general athletic development is nearly closed and further improvements would be very slow to occur and would likely not evolve to the level required for advanced sport competition.
At the age of 16 he is at the prime developmental age to turn his training focus toward intra-sport specialization because… The foundation has been set! His overall athletic ability is firmly entrenched. Because of this foundation he has given himself the opportunity to maximize his sport specific skills.
If the movement foundation is built upon sport specific skills (often due to early sport specialization) it intentionally restricts athletic diversity, adaptability and movement exploration, and therefore, limits the ability to develop highly technical skills and athletic instincts (unrehearsed or spontaneous movement, those plays that make your jaw drop and force broadcasters to say “you just can’t teach that!”).
Physical Therapist and Athletic Development coach Bill Hartman summarizes this process expertly:
These limitations in athletic learning result in novel experiences on the field of play being perceived as threats and the nervous system will limit human system variability to perceived demands of the sporting activity as a means of protection.
Limitations in human system variability (including movement) limit ultimate sports performance.
Early specialization is in direct conflict with the optimal long-term development of young athletes.
In other words limited athletic/movement experience (sport specialization) is like riding the brakes. It will dumb down a process that should be highly refined and instinctive and makes it robotic and slow.
Another key element that must be acknowledged in the athletic development process is the quality of coaching.
In America our most skilled and experienced coaches apply their trade to the most elite of athletes at the Division 1 Collegiate, Professional and Olympic levels.
Meanwhile, volunteers who also have to manage the demands of a full-time job often coach young athletes. This is not a recipe for developing expert coaching skills. Skilled coaches are necessary for helping athletes develop highly technical sports specific skills.
I will use the example of the young goalkeeper. He has developed to the point where now he needs very technical coaching to take his skill to the next level. He simply can’t get the coaching he needs here at home. He must travel to Chicago to work with an elite goalkeeper coach and at best this happens one maybe two times per month. This is likely not enough to get the “reps” required to meet his goal.
So the family has to explore life-changing options such as moving to an area that has an elite athlete development infrastructure in place.
Am I saying that if you really want to become an elite athlete your family has to leave the great state of Michigan?
No! I am saying however that in Michigan we do not have an established elite athletic development infrastructure in place, yet…
Some folks are working on it but it will take some time. As always follow the money trail. Elite coaches deserve and should expect to earn elite salaries. Only D1 Sports and the Professional Leagues have the backing to support those types of salaries.
In time hopefully we evolve to the point where as a society we deeply value the role teachers and coaches play in the lives of our kids and compensate them accordingly. Truly they are responsible for the long-term health and prosperity of our nation.
What to do in the interim?
The best strategy is to expose kids to a variety of activities and sports from a young age. We need to encourage multi-sport participation through the 10th grade. In the late high school year’s specialization can take place though it is not essential and it must have guidelines such as off-field training to counteract the sport specific demands while also encouraging diversity/playing multiple positions within their sport of choice. Additionally accountability, commitment and being a good teammate are best established at this point and we should be well equipped to serve as role models in this area of life.
If we don’t have elite coaches at the youth level we need to let kids play and discover what they are good at. We should give them general guidelines and teach them the basics and fundamentals of sport. We need to put our bias aside and realize there is no such thing as perfect form/technique and even if there is we probably aren’t skilled enough to know neither what it is nor how to teach it.
The young goalkeeper has not played the position long enough to establish poor habits/mechanics that need to be corrected. He is like a clean slate. As a result when he gets the elite coaching he learns better because he doesn’t have any barriers to breakdown before he can move forward.
I have spent a great deal of time over my 13 years as an athletic development coach interviewing elite coaches and time and again they tell me that they want athletes! “If you give us a great overall athlete we can teach them the sports specific skills they need to excel.”
Swinging a bat, throwing a football or blocking a soccer ball is an act of athleticism. We need to give our kids the opportunity to develop a huge general base of athleticism so that when it is time to specialize they have the tools necessary to receive the elite coaching and transfer it to the field of play.
If you coach young athletes or are the parent of a young athlete now is the time to invest in athletic/movement diversity. It will keep their bodies fresh and shield them against injury while also giving them the best chance at excelling on the field of play and in the game of life.
Author John Maxwell’s Law of Diminishing Intent says, “The longer you wait to do something you should do now, the greater the odds that you will actually never do it.”
Thursday, May 19, 2016
Thursday, March 31, 2016
If I know as a hitter that I can’t handle the high fastball on the inner half of the plate, my approach to each at-bat is "I am only going to swing at pitches middle away." If I follow my plan and hit a line drive that’s caught by the right fielder, I made an out. However, to me I should consider it a successful at-bat because I stuck with my approach in spite of the negative result. In this situation I could not control the result, which was an out, but I can control my response to that result. And if my response is a positive one then I was successful.
I wanted to highlight one of the young men that committed to our off-season program this past Winter. DG realized a tremendous return on the investment of his time and effort. We started our program back in November and we just wrapped up the first week of March. DG attended well over 95% of the available sessions, by far the strongest commitment of the boys that attended. We learned last week that DG made the Varsity baseball team after being cut as a freshman and sophomore. That rarely happens! First of all most kids give up on the sport. If they don't give up they still haven't been in the program the previous two years so they really have to stand out to get noticed.
DG's baseball tools don't jump out at you but he has the essential skill that is vital to maximizing your ability. He never gave up, he invested in himself and he sought help to achieve his goal. Determination and passion are just as important as running speed, hitting power, or pitching velocity. Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard!
If you need proven program that will get you on the right track to playing your best click here