Tuesday, August 30, 2016

How To Get The Most Out Of Your Baseball Off-Season (Part 2)

How to get the most out of your baseball offseason

  In part 1 of this 2-part article on how to get the most out of your baseball offseason I offered the first two of my four recommendations.

Taking time off from baseball skills work should be priority number one closely followed by mastering behaviors that are well within your control (sleep, hydration, nutrition, and academics). For a more thorough vetting of these topics please check out part 1.

Without further adieu here are my final 2 recommendations for getting the most out of your baseball offseason.

Get a check-up/Get a clean up

The offseason is the perfect time to clear up any lingering issues that may have plagued you during the season.

Did your hips or hamstrings stiffen up?
Did you shoulder feel weak?
Do you feel flat and fatigued or run down?
Are you hurt? Do you have any aches or pains?

Now is the time to get those things taken care of! And the best thing you can do is to meet with a qualified professional and get yourself assessed.

I assess all of my athletes prior to starting an offseason program.  I look at joint range of motion, movement quality, tissue quality and posture. I also do a mind-set check. I ask the athlete to reevaluate their goals and ask them how they felt the season went and what they would like to improve.  If you don’t know where you are (assessment) and you aren’t sure where you want to go (reevaluate) it’s very tough to develop a strategy because there’s no direction.

After the assessment and reevaluation process we will develop the initial program that restores and rebuilds the athlete using exercises that are targeted toward improving flexibility, body control and awareness.  Basically we are giving them back what they most likely have lost after the long season.

Studies of pro baseball players reveal:
  • 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

Take the time to restore, regenerate, and rebalance (the 3 R’s) your body and mind before you…

Build and maximize your athletic qualities

This is the fun stuff right? After you take care of the 3 R’s it’s time to hit the weight room and the training floor to improve your endurance, strength, speed and power.

In calendar form assuming you stop-playing ball after September and have try-outs in early March your offseason should look likes this:


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. 

October/November- get assessed and get cleaned up! Your body and mind took a lot of abuse this past season you need to take time to restore, regenerate, and rebalance your baseball/athletic portfolio.

November/December- Work on your movement efficiency. This is the stuff you learned from your assessment. Move well before you move heavy stuff or run fast.

December/January- Develop your work capacity/Endurance and your foundational strength with an emphasis on optimal lifting technique.

January/February-The training will skew more toward general speed and power development.

February/March- it’s almost go time so now we turn our attention toward more specific speed and power development.

If you follow this sequence of events and do this right you have the formula to have an outstanding in-season performance. And you’ll have made huge strides toward meeting your goals on the field of play and in the game of life.

If you’d like to learn more about our formula I’d love to share it with you. Complete Baseball Performance was developed with the end user in mind; young athletes that want to maximize their potential in the sport that they love. Click here to learn how we will help you maximize your potential as a baseball player.

How To Get The Most Out Of Your Baseball Off-season

How to get the most out of your baseball off-season

  It’s been a long summer of baseball and it is time to start thinking about your offseason!

In an ideal world you would play another sport. This would be a great opportunity to give your body (and mind) a break from the baseball specific patterns that you’ve locked in for the past 6 months.

The athletic diversity you acquire from playing different sports will enhance your athleticism and durability both of which will help you maximize your baseball specific potential.

On the other end of the spectrum are the athletes that play fall ball and continue unimpeded with hitting and pitching lessons throughout the off-season. Definitely not the routes you want to be on if you plan on playing the sport at a high level (HS Varsity, Select Travel, College).

And then there is the middle ground that really gets you nowhere and that’s just “chillin” until try-outs come around in March.

Offseason training programs can provide a golden opportunity that many players do not take advantage of at the start of the offseason.  Think of it as setting the foundation to prepare your body to get the most out of your offseason training.

Here are the first 2 of my 4 recommendations to get the most out of the start of your baseball offseason training.

Take Time Off From Skill Work

One of the most important aspects to the start of the baseball offseason is to take a step back and get away from baseball.  While this may seem counterintuitive, I do believe it is critical to your long-term success.

Between traveling teams, tournaments, showcases, and grinding away at practice, the summer is almost as busy as the pro players!  I actually joke with some of my high school baseball athletes that they can’t wait to go back to school to take a vacation from their summer baseball travel schedule!

But there are important physical benefits of taking time off as well.  Throwing a baseball is hard on your body and creates cumulative stress.  Furthermore, several studies have been published showing that the more your pitch, the greater your chances of injury:

Pitching for greater than 8 months out of the year results in 5x as many injuries (Olsen AJSM 06)

Pitching greater than 100 innings in one year results in 3x as many injuries (Fleisig AJSM 2011)

Pitching in showcases and travel leagues significantly correlated to increased injuries (Register-Mahlick JAT 12, Olsen AJSM 06)

I have found that my younger athletes that play a sport like soccer in the fall tend to look better to me over time.  Sure, that is purely anecdotal.  But specializing in a very unilateral sport may actually limit some of your athletic potential, especially when you are in the certain age ranges where athletic development occurs.  Everything is baseball tends to be to one side.  Righties always rotate to the left when throwing and swinging, heck everyone even runs to the left around the bases!

Not only are these movements occurring at a high frequency to the same side over and over they also happen insanely fast!

Biomechanical analysis of a baseball swing reveals maximum pelvis rotational velocities of up to 714 degrees per second (Welch JOSPT 1995)

There is plenty of time to get ready for next spring.  Take some time off in the fall and let your body heal up.  You aren’t going to forget how to hit, pitch or lose your release point or feel.  You’ll come back stronger next season.

Focus on Small Hinges That Swing Big Doors

You were likely on the road all summer living out of a mini-van or cheap hotels all the while slamming quick but empty sources of nutrition like candy bars, Gatorade and Subway/McDonald’s.

It’s time to let replenish your body with plenty of the essentials:

Carry a water bottle with you at all times and start and finish the day with a full glass.

High quality sleep
Aim for at least 8 hours of sleep every night. Shut off the technology 30 minutes before bed and keep your room cool and super dark.

The focus here is on eating real food as often as possible. Stuff in a box or a pouch is not real food! Start every meal with something that is an animal (chicken, beef, pork) or comes from an animal (eggs, cottage cheese, Greek yogurt). Then eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables with every meal. Add whole grains like oats, brown rice, quinoa and sweet potatoes especially if you are trying to add muscle mass. Snack on things like nuts, fruit, and beef jerky. Use protein bars and powders only when you don’t have any other options. They are better than fast/snack food but real food provides the building blocks to strong/athletic bodies!

Take advantage of the time with no/light baseball activity by hitting the books as hard as you hit or throw the baseball. D1 college baseball has only 12.6 scholarships to offer. Full rides are rare but you can always find academic dollars to help make up the difference. More importantly baseball may help you get into a school you may not otherwise be able to attend. Learn how to study now so if you do get a “special” opportunity to attend a great university you’re prepared to handle the academic rigors.

The top two recommendations (take time of from baseball and take care of the basics) are well within your control and you can start right now! This won’t be easy but consider it part of the mind-set training you will absolutely need to achieve success on the field of play and in the game of life.

 I will get the rest of my off-season recommendations to you later this week. Until then do the simple things savagely well!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Complete Baseball Performance

Complete Baseball Performance
A total performance enhancement program for the developing baseball player

Baseball is a metaphor for my life and serves as my tool for leading young people and helping them maximize their potential on the field of play and in the game of life.  If you are an athlete interested in improving your baseball performance through cutting edge physical, mental and nutritional training join me at Complete Baseball Performance. The course begins September 8 and runs through March 1.

Complete Baseball Performance Program Highlights

Performance Preparation - Learn to mentally and physically prepare yourself to play consistently at a high level.
Sports Nutrition and Recovery - Understand health and nutrition strategies to optimize your performance and recovery.
Speed/Agility - Explore techniques to enhance your acceleration on the bases and range in the field.
Rotational Power - Improve your ability to generate power from the ground up to boost throwing velocity and bat speed.
Functional Movement Strength - Enhance your athletic strength and your ability to transfer it to the field.
Core strength - Boost your core strength -- a solid foundation starts up the middle. You can’t transmit force without it.
Shoulder and Hip PREhab - Optimize your range of motion and strength that are essential for durability and performance.  These joints transfer power and are involved in all baseball movements at high speed.
Flexibility/Mobility/Functional Assessment - Boost your flexibility and mobility to prevent muscle imbalances and overuse injury in this one side-dominant sport.
Character and mental skill development - Develop mental skills and strategies to keep all of the ups and downs in perspective. Baseball is a game of failure.  Learn an approach that allows you to thrive.

Complete Baseball Performance Specializes In Baseball Players

I played Division 1 College Baseball and have experienced first hand the impact appropriate strength and conditioning and the competitive edge that it can provide.

I coached my first baseball athlete in 2004 and have spent the past 12 plus years in the trenches with baseball players developing intimate knowledge of their unique needs.

I have dedicated the past 12 years of my career learning from elite baseball professionals. I have picked their brains to find out what is truly important for the developing young baseball athlete in our modern sport culture. My curriculum is based on what I have learned from leaders in:

Major League Baseball
USA Baseball
College Baseball
High School Baseball
Club/Travel Baseball

My direct involvement with professionals extends to learning from experts in the following domains:

Sports Medicine
Sport Performance Training
Sports Nutrition
Sports Psychology

Three other factors make Complete Baseball Performance unique and relevant.

1. I played college ball and I watch baseball – I am truly a student of the game.

2. I spend time on the field watching young ball players.

3. I understand the unique physical characteristics and demands of baseball players.

Complete Baseball Performance Begins With Love For The Game

This sport is in my blood! I never worry about growing old because there will always be baseball and that will always provide the “juice” that I need to live my life with passion and energy. Your team will win and lose (mostly they will lose) but the game gives you so much more than tangible rewards. I played the game in college and I know how it feels to play and what this game can mean to a young man. As an adult, I learned things that would have helped me immeasurably but no one ever told me when it would have mattered. This is why I am driven to share my experience with young men. The movie Field of Dreams captures what the games means to me. The entire movie speaks to my soul, but the scene where Ray has  “a catch” with his father captures my “why” perfectly. This “game” unties people and its bond is as strong as anything we’ve ever experienced. That’s why I created Complete Baseball Performance!

 You can learn more about Complete Baseball Performance Here

Why Strength and Conditioning is Essential for the Modern American Baseball Player...

  Here in the Midwest we are about to hit the fall sport season and high school football is about to "kick-off" and basketball/hockey seasons are just a few months away. It would seem that baseball would be the furthest thing from a young athletes mind right now.

Welcome to 2016 the era of sport specialization! Mother Nature used to limit our ability to play baseball during the late fall/winter but that’s not the case anymore. There is no shortage of facilities that cater to the needs of the baseball athlete. If an athlete wants to hit, throw or pitch during the winter they can do so under the expert tutelage of area hitting and pitching instructors.

I can opine until the cows come home that kids should take a break from year round sport participation but we can’t ignore the facts. Youth baseball is as competitive as ever and everyone is doing all they can to give themselves an edge.

I am not here to debate whether year round baseball is good or bad for developing young athletes… But if you truly have aspirations to be the best baseball player you can be you can’t ignore what happens as a result of this year round commitment to the sport.

I will circle back to the why but first allow me to introduce the what. Off-field strength and conditioning or Complete Baseball Performance (CBP) is essential for the modern baseball athlete!

As noted earlier everyone has access to expert baseball skill development through private/group pitching and hitting instruction. But there is a huge opportunity to set yourself apart with CBP. That’s because baseball players are an incredibly neglected population with respect to strength and conditioning.

Most training programs for young athletes are based off bodybuilding, football strength and conditioning or Cross-Fit. None of which are ideal, in fact they may do more harm than good.

A good baseball strength and conditioning program must address the unique demands of the sport. Baseball is a rotational sport with significant overhead activity with high velocity repetitive movements.

In fact throwing a baseball is the single fast motion in all of sport!

Humeral (upper arm bone) internal rotation velocity during throwing may reach 7500 to 7700 degrees per second.

And swinging a bat is not exactly a slow motion either…

During the baseball swing maximal hip rotational velocity reaches up to 714 degrees per second, where the pelvis rotates over a relatively fixed femur (thigh bone).

While qualities such as strength, speed and power are just as important in baseball as they are in other sports, it’s how you go about obtaining them that makes all the difference.

Now let’s get back to the why behind CBP.  First from a performance perspective two key qualities must be enhanced through training:

Durability- this allows you to stay on the field, where you’ll have the continuity to develop your skills. If you’re always hurt or experiencing pain you won’t be able to stay on the field.

Athleticism- the better athlete you are the better things tend to “stick.”  In other words the more fertile your athletic soil is the better the seeds your coaches’ plant will grow into something special!

There are also two other factors that necessitate CBP for the modern baseball player.

Sport Specialization- not only do you need CBP to counteract the demands of the sport, you’ll also need it to provide the diverse athletic stimulus that you’re missing out on by not playing other sports. This keeps your body fresh and increases your ability to adapt and develop elite level skill.

Athleticism is the foundation for sport specific skill; the more diverse and “deep” that foundation the better chances you’ll have to support high-level sport specific skill. If your foundation is to narrow it’s like trying to shoot a canon from a canoe! You’ll likely “sink” before you reach your potential.

Posture- due to modern technology kids are slouched and hunched over all day long leading to poor joint alignment and when you add on top of that extremely fast/one-sided/highly repetitive motions it can lead to significant muscle imbalances.

Start paying attention to how you stand at rest. Additionally, look around and notice how others stand at rest. I bet it looks a lot like the picture below (weight shifted into the right hip/low right shoulder/nipple, lower right hand, just to name the most obvious). This is something I see on extreme levels in some of our right-handed throwing athletes; they’re right handed people, in a unilateral sport, in a right-handed world!

Think of the poor alignment/posture as the athlete’s starting position. Their bodies have to work so hard just to play “catch up” (get the joints in position to execute the skill) it will likely lead to excessive stress on muscles, tendons, and ligaments in addition to the wear and tear on joint surfaces.

At least this will lead to poor timing and rhythm of hitting and pitching mechanics at worse it can lead to significant injuries to the shoulder, elbow, low back or hips.

Simply restoring alignment as close to neutral as possible could unlock significant gains in potential bat and running speed as well as throwing velocity.

Most strength and conditioning programs ignore this unique demand imposed upon the baseball athlete.

Baseball is an extremely fast sport and the one-sided nature and rotational demands require specific programming variables that simply aren’t addressed with Cross-Fit, Football based programs nor Stack.com.

The off-season is the ideal time to develop the body armor you’ll need to stay on the field and the athleticism that is necessary to develop elite level baseball skill.

Final Thought

Last week I spoke with my old friend Carlo Alvarez, Sport Performance Coordinator for MLB's Pittsburgh Pirates. There are two things from this conversation that I wanted to highlight.

First, Carlo told me that of the 40 athletes that the Pirates drafted this past June 39 had to be regressed from his basic conditioning program. He said they were a "mess" and lacked fundamental movement and general athleticism; they were not physically prepared for professional baseball. So essentially he had to take 39 kids that were skilled enough to be drafted and take them back to the basics (running, jumping, skipping, crawling...).

Secondly, the best athletes in America aren't playing baseball. 50% of the athletes in professional baseball were born outside of the U.S. Take a glance at the rosters of the 30 MLB teams and look at the starting shortstops... This is arguably the most athletically demanding position on the field and there are few American born athletes (7 out of 30 or 23%) playing that position at the MLB level.

What does all this mean? It tells me that there is a tremendous opportunity for those that make the commitment to improve their performance preparation and overall athleticism. If our best athletes don't play baseball then the kids that do choose the sport can make a huge leap by focusing on improving athleticism outside of baseball skill development. Further, skilled baseball players that are good enough to be drafted are grossly under-prepared for the demands of high-level baseball. This means athletes aren't doing the right things away from the field and they will likely stall out before reaching their potential.

The modern American baseball player spends plenty of time on skill development (possibly to much) and they are just as likely devoting time to speed and agility training and weight training that is not addressing their unique needs.  It's pretty clear (by the numbers) that the current formula is flawed, it's simply not working! If we keep running into the wall maybe it's time to find another way to get around it...

Learn why and how Complete Baseball Performance will allow you to maximize your full potential click here

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

What people are saying about the Complete Performance Program

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