I can’t get recruited
I get overlooked
My son doesn’t get fair playing time
They are prejudice because I’m too… short, skinny, slow, etc.
These are phrases we hear all the time.
The “I get over looked… I can’t… my coach…” garbage is just that, garbage. When presented with athletes or families that come saying those phrases we try to change word choice and outlook from day one. Many think they are going to be the next Bryce Harper, but let’s face it, the odds are highly against you.
To be fair, we are lucky to have many amazing athletes and families that are supportive and realistic with where they currently are and where they need to go to reach their goals.
Enter Tom Henderson
After working a showcase with Wayne Mazzoni, he suggested I reached out to Tom as he was a LHP senior in high school with good arm action, good grades, but just needed to get bigger and stronger to have a chance at the next level.
Tom was a whopping 135 lbs at 6’2″ with strength to match his frame— practically none.
Completely out of his comfort zone, Tom came to train 3-4x a week for the next 12 weeks along side pro, college, and signed high school ball players. Being able to do only 1 push-up on day one is pretty humbling when you have athletes tossing around 100lb dumbbells or 14-year olds doing 20 push-ups in a set.
But bust his butt day in and day out he did
After about 2 weeks we sat down and had our nutritional talk. We evaluated where he currently was with his eating and created a plan on how to add some serious size to his frame over the next 12 weeks. We implemented simple weekly check-ins to monitor progress, but attached some deterrents for each missed a weigh-in.
Tom soon felt what it was like to be truly “full”. The first weekly weigh-in he was up 5 lbs. Second week, another 4. Third week, another 4. For those 12 weeks, Tom treated eating like it was a full time job.
Those 12 weeks passed without a missed weigh-in and Tom was now tipping the scales at 170lbs. Along with his new found weight, his strength gains were impressive to say the least. Push-ups had become relatively easy and his deadlift was up over 100 lbs. Most importantly, Tom’s velocity on the mound had jumped.
Prior to his weight gain adventure, I promised Tom if he put in the work, I would vouch for him at his #1 prospective school, Marist College. Upon speaking with the coach I realized they had no more roster spots for the following year. Without any hesitation, Tom said he would end up going there when he was accepted and walk on. Little did he know that 6 weeks later I would get a call from that coach stating they just cut a handful of guys from there program and wanted to extend a roster spot for Tom for the coming year.
Fast forward to today
Tom is now a role player for his DI program and touts a .077 batting average against. Currently sitting at 185lbs with a fastball that nearly tops the 90mph mark. With a frame that can still handle adding another 30-40lbs and project him to add another 5-10 mph on his fastball and 3 more years of eligibility, Tom has a lot to look forward to.
Without Josh’s expertise and connections I would not have had the opportunity to play baseball at Marist College. Josh, along with his terrific staff, have pushed me for two years, and have helped me gain a total of 60 lbs, 35 of those in my first 12 weeks of training. This weight has taken stress of my elbow and shoulder while allowing me to increase my velocity by upwards of 10 MPH, nearing 90 MPH. The key to our training is the focus on muscles and movements that put by body in better positions on the mound, which directly correlates to what you need to continue to succeed and play at the next level.
Are these the type of results you are looking for?
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On August 2nd 2013, I made the following post on facebook:
As I mentioned in that post, Alex is the type of client that makes me look great. Simply put, my job is to keep our athletes healthy and progressing while providing guidance wherever needed. For an athlete like Alex who shows up early, stays late, listens, asks well thought out questions, is process oriented, and consistent– he will be successful no matter what he puts his mind to.
Alex spent the summer entering his junior year of college split between the New England Collegiate Baseball League and the Cape Cod Baseball League. Having MLB scouts show interest there was some talk of getting drafted junior year, but to be honest, coming from a program with 3 draft picks in the last 34 years, it was a long shot and not expected.
Eventually, the draft came and went without a call and he reported back to the NECBL for the summer. During that time we spoke openly about how the next 12 months were going to go. The primary goal was to graduate on time with his mechanical engineering degree and play affiliated pro-ball whether or not he was drafted.
Speeding up to present time, Alex earned his degree and got the call he was waiting for from the Brewers and as I write this he is on a plane to their Arizona Rookie Ball affiliate. A well-earned opportunity for someone who dedicated themselves to taking one step at a time, staying focused, and never excepting anything less than being better than yesterday. That is how big goals are accomplished and dreams are realized.
With the rigorous in-season schedule of games, practice, school, and life adding lean muscle mass can be very challenging. Add in distance running, hot weather, and a lack of training it can feel impossible to maintain bodyweight, let alone add some clean LBS to a wiry frame.
Why is muscle mass so important?
Muscle mass and increased bodyweight increases potential force output, which is one of the keys when trying to run faster and throw harder. Not only is added muscle mass important for injury prevention, but it terms of health and longevity there are few indicators better than muscle mass.
I held a webinar last year and release my “90 MPH Formula”. As you can see below, I’m a huge believer that strength gains and bodyweight are near necessity to throwing above 90. Mechanics and a whole host of factors play into this, but my athletes have shown me the information listed is accurate over and over again.
I encourage you to compare your favorite collegiate or MLB team roster to the “90 MPH Formula”.
The performance indicators and decreased risk of injury are great for athletes, but why else would this matter for collegiate coaches and MLB organizations?
For the most athletes, adding a significant amount of muscle mass requires intense dedication. Having seen 100+ athletes add 20 lbs in 10 weeks, I know this is not for the faint of heart. The ones who go on to add 30-40 lbs over a 6 month period have a level of need for the weight and self-discipline that is impressive to say the least. Dedication, toughness, and sacrifice for a larger goal (like significant muscle gain) is something all highly competitive teams want.
Baseball, like most sports, is highly speculative. As I tell our draft eligible guys, all it takes is one scout to fall in love with you and you will be picked up. Same holds true for college coaches. Being undersized by 30-50lbs while being scouted or recruited is going to portray a less than ideal image of what you can offer, even if you are an exceptional athlete. As one of my good friends often says “dress for the job you want, not the job you have” prior to your college visits or your draft eligibility it is important to present yourself physically prepared for that next level of play. Leverage your opportunity to have those coaches speculate you are the hardest worker they have ever met.
During the first day of the MLB draft coverage, the hosts continually commented about how a bunch of the athletes were “gym rats”. They classified these guys as “workers” and would be an asset to each ball club they were about to join. Many college and pro organizations see the value of athletes who train hard, are more durable, and reach their potentials. Take the time now to dedicate yourself to being consistent while training hard and smart year-round.
With the draft only a few days away, this list will bode well for many of my clients and readers hoping to one day be drafted.
“According to TrackingFootball.com, 224 of the 256 players chosen during the draft were multi-sport athletes in high school. Of all draftees, 63% participated in track and field, 48% played basketball and 10% played baseball.”
Research has been pointing athletes towards playing multiple sports for maximum athleticism and decreased risk of overuse injury for years now. In my collegiate and clinical coaching experience, anecdotal evidence has been overwhelming that multi-sport athletes are healthier and reach high levels than their specialized counterparts.
“I hate the specialization with kids, when they’re playing on these travel squads when they’re like 12, 13, 14 years old, only dedicated to one thing, Traveling all the time. Paying exorbitant amounts of money to play baseball with hopes they’re going to become a professional baseball player. “I think that’s crazy. I love cross-pollination when it comes to athletes, You get guys that did not just play baseball, meaning they’ve been around a different set of coaches and styles and ways to get in shape and thoughts. I love that.” Maddon said
Many parents I speak to are terrified that their child will not be prepared to play a high level of high school sport, will not get a scholarship, and will not get drafted. I understand the worry, but many are racing the wrong race. The goal should be to maximize enjoyment of the game, become as athletic as one can become, and keep on developing. Development is a process, not a destination.
This week I have been bombarded with muscle gain and weight gain questions. With the summer approaching, many athletes are looking to pack on weight while playing and training hard. This can be tough, but is done every year in our gym— usually 20-30lbs in a 3-month window. These three tips help many of our ball players stay on track during these bulking phases.
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.