Having been out of the country for the 2014 MLB Draft I’m a little late to the party.
Having worked with Kody for his first three years at Sacred Heart, I can tell you that teammates always recognized him as having the hardest pitches to hit not for velocity, but for movement. At the beginning of his Junior year, he focused hard on adding weight and taking his training to the next level. Adding about 15 lbs to his frame that off-season equated to about 5 MPH on the mound, topping out at 95. Check out the differences in stats from his FR/SO years to his JR/SR campaigns.
Willie Rios– 26th Round Arizona Diamondbacks- Willie been listed as a legit 2-way player on the mound and at bat and had offers to sign in the top 3 rounds this year. Willie will have many options for the future and if he decides to go the college route we will push his development in search of breaking into the first round via Maryland. More info here on his draft status.
As we get prepared to kick start the baseball season I wanted to list some of our athletes that are committed in ink for this season and the fall. Many more to come, but here is the short list.
Mike Foley- University of Rhode Island
Clients and friends were sending over lots of great articles this week for me to share as well as some resources I suggest to my athletes for self-care.
This is a great feature on how the Red Sox play Moneyball with the ability to spend some serious cash. Here they speak to how they handle injuries, especially soft tissue work.
Boston’s approach to treating conditions like Ortiz’s is simple, yet brilliant. For most teams, the process of getting players healthy and keeping them that way has remained the same for a long time. Every club employs a small group of trainers and a strength and conditioning coach, and many also employ an orthopedist. This personnel group is built for broad treatment, because baseball players suffer a wide array of injuries. The Red Sox, however, have come to believe that broad treatment isn’t enough, and that specialization is an essential part of fostering player health.
“We recognize that the management of soft tissue is the critical component to a player’s health,” said Red Sox GM Ben Cherington. “As it relates to David [Ortiz], that was an issue of soft-tissue management. His Achilles had not ruptured. There was no broken bone. He was a 36-, 37-year-old who had soft-tissue management issues that were causing a lot of pain and discomfort. It wasn’t a lack of effort on his part to get better. We just had to figure out what would help him do it.”
In the same way that teams employ roving pitching, hitting, fielding, and baserunning coaches to help players focus on certain elements of their game, the Red Sox realized they could find specialists to deal with these soft-tissue concerns. Physical therapists craft regimens to help players avoid the kind of nagging injuries that can linger for far too long; when those injuries do occur, they can help players recover in weeks instead of months, or days instead of weeks. In essence, the Red Sox are using a physical therapist like a roving medical coach. This helped Ortiz last year, and the Sox hope it will help players like the oft-injured Grady Sizemore this year. In fact, if the Red Sox weren’t this confident in their health regimen, they probably wouldn’t have gone after a beleaguered player like Sizemore at all.
While Cherington understandably wouldn’t go into great detail about the team’s physical therapist program, he lit up when talking about the potential benefits. “If we can find people who are at the top of their field to be hands-on with our players and create, I don’t know, a 5 percent difference in how much [the players are] out there or their level of physical fitness when they’re out there, that can translate into greater performance. So, yes, we have spent a lot of time on the medical area in the last two years, and that’s only going to continue.”
Kelly Starrett is a physical therapist/strength coach best know for his work with with self joint mobilization. Becoming a Supple Leopard is an easy to use guide that will highlight limitations and show you exactly how to address those restrictions.
The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook is another guide which allows athletes to find soft tissue restrictions that can limit performance and cause referred pain. No only is this book great for athlete’s but people that have everyday aches and pains can put this very inexpensive book to use in only minutes a day. I have first hand seen athletes gain complete shoulder mobility back with just a few minutes of soft tissue work to the pecs and infraspinatus (detailed in the book).
Sam Miller absolutely crushes this article on key components to being a successful base stealer. A must read for runners, pitchers, coaches, and fans.
Today’s post is going to be quick as I am off to talk to the Fairfield American Little League Program’s coaches about injury reduction and red flags with their athletes.
One of the main points I try to make at these talks is to refer out ASAP if there is pain. Orthopedic doctors are great, but in most cases it’s more advantageous to see a qualified Physical Therapist or Chiropractor first.
Much of the research references acute lower back pain. Within the studies they show the typical cycle of back pain, waiting a few days, calling the orthopedists, waiting a few days to get an appointment, going to the appointment, getting an MRI and/or x-ray, then being referred to PT. In most states, Direct Access is available to walk directly into a Physical Therapy office and get treated. Some argue there is a fear factor, as PTs don’t do X-rays or MRIs, which I completely understand. In rebuttal to those claims, a good PT or Chiro will evaluate pain and immediately refer out if they believe you need a second opinion or diagnostic imaging.
“A 4 year study of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Maryland claims data and found that total paid claims for physician referral episodes to physical therapists were 2.2 times higher than the paid claims for direct access episodes. In addition, physician referral episodes were 65% longer in duration than direct access episodes and generated 67% more physical therapy claims and 60% more office visits. The HSR study looked at a far more extensive number of episodes than the previous study, and also controlled for illness severity and other factors that could have affected the patients’ outcomes.”1,2
60% more visits and cost is a large time frame and price to pay just for going to the Orthopedists!
The take home point of this info is not that going to the doctor is a bad thing, but waiting around for your pain- regardless if its back, elbow, neck, knee, hip, whatever- to subside magically instead of getting treatment will cost you in the long run; both in time and money. Have a trusted team of professionals to turn to immediately when you are in pain, and if you need the opinion of your doctor those professionals will gladly send you their way, but wasting time to get into the doctor or for the pain to go away is just that, a waste.
Good luck to everyone in their seasons!
1. Pendergast J, Kliethermes SA, Freburger JK, Duffy PA. A Comparison of Health Care Use for Physician-Referred and Self-Referred Episodes of Outpatient Physical Therapy. Health Serv Res. 2012;47(2):633–654. doi:10.1111/j.1475-6773.2011.01324.x.
2. Mitchell JM, de Lissovoy G. A Comparison of Resource Use and Cost in Direct Access Versus Physician Referral Episodes of Physical Therapy. Phys Ther. 1997;77(1):10–18.
This weeks post I am going to share a readers question and my response about weight training his younger athlete. If you have a question you would like answered feel free to shoot me an email.
What would you recommend for a 13 yr old 7th grader, honestly? I am not wanting him to do more than hi-rep, bodyweight exercises at most. He’s 5’9” (and growing), 110 lbs. throws pretty hard – has a nice arm, and I want to keep that intact. Staring the travel ball with a good, established organization in IL this year…what are your thoughts on throwing curve balls, if taught by a former pro pitcher, etc? (I am leery of that).
As I said in the webinar, if you can play organized sports, you can train (and its safer!). High rep stuff is fine, but that’s where we usually see injuries because of fatigue and poor form. Moderate weights would be a better option for him. Move well and then move higher weights.
Here is my take on youth curveballs; research wise if it’s being taught properly (mechanically efficient) there is not a huge chance of injury. That being said, there are a ton of bad coaches out there (not that his is bad–I have no idea), but being a former pro doesn’t automatically qualify you to be a “good” or well researched coach.
From what I have seen in the rehab and coaching world, poor progression of throwing (jumping up in intensity or mainly volume) too quickly leads to lots of issues. The kids who throw “too many curveballs” are usually the kids who cant compete with just a fastball. And as I have written about before, skipping on fall/winter baseball is a must.
At this point in my career, if my child was a pitcher in little league I would encourage fastball and change up location and speed, that alone will keep batters off balance. Once they start shooting through puberty (13-15 years), I would let them play with curveballs with a coach that is highly qualified. I grew up with a coach who said “never two curves in a row” for both practice and play. Great rules to help set-up hitters and stave away from overuse.
The image attached is a visual of when portions of the arm ossify. The medial epicondyle is the last to fully fuse and we should always proceed with caution.
On the other hand, Phil Rosengren does a great job at expressing why he thinks kids should be tough the curveball at a younger age. To be frank, I don’t disagree with any of his points. And to Phil’s credit, every athlete he has sent me has never had an elbow pathology.
Many people are racing for their kids to be on ESPN in the LLWS. I think they are racing the wrong race. I’ve had the opportunity to work with many kids whom have been on ESPN before the age of 13… some of what they are dealing with mentally are so unfathomable it’s disgusting. Not to mention some of the injuries I’ve seen especially from the “best” players on those teams.
Move Fast, Throw Hard, Live Well – Mound Height, Throwing Programs, Links Between Foot Function and Upper Extremity Surgery
This article was shared with me by one of our in house PTs whom treats a ton of throwing shoulders. The foot starts the chain reaction of throwing. Without effective transfer of force from the foot there are links to upper body dysfunction, and in this case, surgical repair.
Picking out quality shoes and cleats can have a dramatic impact on ones movement and performance, make sure to get fitted by a qualified professional whom understands how your foot functions.
As we head towards the pre-season, pitchers often rush themselves back to the mound in hopes to catch up to their more conditioned counterparts. Unfortunately, poor preparation and progression leave their shoulders and elbows in pain. This article gives good info on how the stress of throwing on a mound is higher than flat ground throwing. When returning to the mound, progressing methodically with a throwing program is a necessity if you want long-term health and performance.
Move Fast, Throw Hard, Live Well – Tommy John Surgery, Lactic Acid, and the Physiological Response to Pitching
Mike Reinold, former Physical Therapist for the Boston Red Sox does an outstanding job at laying down realistic expectations in regards to ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) reconstruction. This is a must read for all pitchers!
This is an older journal article that takes an in-depth look at how the body responds to pitching 7 innings. The researchers provide intermittent data within the game and 24 hours post game.
Dr. Burke does a nice job at explaining the reasons why “lactic acid” is not the issue the day after a workout. I can’t begin to explain how often athletes, coaches, and parents talk about how they need to “clear the lactic acid” from the previous days workout. As Burke states “lactic acid is completely washed out of the muscles within 30 to 60 minutes after you finish riding. Since muscle soreness does not show up until 24 to 36 hours later, scientists have been exercising their brains to come up with another explanation.”
The next time a coach or trainer tells you are doing distance running as a “flush run” or “to clear lactic acid” start asking why, because the science in no way backs this claim.
2013 proved to be the busiest of years in all aspects of my life. A short list of events include: buying a house, getting engaged, moving my fiancé to another country, starting my Doctorate of Integrated and Natural Medicine, and seeing over 100% growth from 2012 in our performance and fitness division. On top of all of those things, I still manage to spend 10-20 hours reading research, blogs, and conduct case studies, because I truly love it and want to provide my clients and readers with the best information available.
The reason I write all of this is I plan to write, at minimum, once a week on any research, articles, cases or thoughts. As always, any suggestions or comments please provide below.
Without further adieu…
Thoracolumbar Range of Motion in Baseball Pitchers and Position Players
“Pitchers have a greater amount of rotation ROM towards the non-throwing arm side as compared to position players. Pitchers also have a greater amount of rotation ROM to the non-throwing arm side as compared to their throwing side rotation. Because pitchers often present with posterior shoulder tightness and subsequent altered shoulder horizontal adduction and internal rotation ROM, the increase in non-throwing side rotation ROM may occur in response to these adaptations. More specifically, this increase in non-throwing side trunk rotation ROM may allow such athletes to bring the arm across the body during the follow-through phase of the throwing motion despite posterior shoulder tightness.”Thoracolumbar fascia is a large, fibrous tissue located in our lower back that connects into our lats and glutes; a powerhouse for generating force in rotational athletes. In pitchers, I have often said that improved extension and external rotation of the arm will lead to more powerful pronation and velocity increases. This research gives added validity to rotational training in both directions to allow the non-throwing side trunk to create a larger lever to generate more trunk force and increase MPH.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3867070/
Overuse injuries and burnout in youth sports: A position statement from the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine
This is a must read for any coach or parent. A portion of the younger athletes I evaluate play one sport all year round, deal with nagging and long term injuries, and have many of the symptoms of burn-out. Worse part is when I pull the parent aside and explain how I think playing multiple sports “for fun” will be incredibly beneficial they often ignore the advice until the child has a serious injury.http://www.amssm.org/Content/pdf%20files/2014_OverUse_Injuries-Burnout.pdf”
Differences in physical fitness and motor competence in boys aged 6-12 specializing in one versus sampling more than one sport
The researchers found “multiple comparisons revealed that boys aged 10-12 years, who spent many hours in various sports, performed better on standing broad jump and gross motor coordination than boys specializing in a single sport.”http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Differences+in+physical+fitness+and+motor+competence+in+boys+aged+6-12+specializing+in+one+versus+sampling+more+than+one+sport.
So… you’re saying that playing multiple sports will give my athlete a chance to be more powerful, more athletic, and help avoid long term physical and psychological dysfunction?
Earlier today I had a video consult with a 28 year old powerlifter with femoroacetabular impingement copmaining of hip pain while squatting, and atrophy of the glute medius region. This athlete had consulted with numerous surgeons and rehab specialists trying to figure out how to address his impingement with and without surgery. As the athlete noted, some surgeons he spoke with had a good grasp of what his options were and possible outcomes, while some had no idea and offered completely outdated information.
I sent him the following literature to highlight some of the more current research on possibly dodging a total hip replacement. As stated, there are no guarantees and every case is different, but some of the facts are very much in his favor.
“Attached is research on patients whom have an arthritic hip and had arthroscopic surgery. The study tracks incidents of total hip arthroplasty post-arthroscopic debridement. Out of 564 patients in the sample, only 16% (90 patients) eventually required THA over the 7-year period. The mean age for the subjects was 55 years old.
To me, this gives high hopes for a younger athlete like yourself whom wants to avoid having total hip replacement and wishes to compete at a high level. I think the most enlightening information from this study was “75% of the patients with severe OA did not require THA by the end of the study.”1
Obviously there are lots of variables for each patient, but with a great surgeon and rehab specialist you should mitigate a ton of your long term risks.”
1. Haviv B, O’Donnell J. The incidence of total hip arthroplasty after hip arthroscopy in osteoarthritic patients. Sports Med Arthrosc Rehabil Ther Technol SMARTT. 2010;2:18. doi:10.1186/1758-2555-2-18.