Measurements—The Key to Growth

By: Flint Wallace

 

My main job as the Director of Player Development at the Texas Baseball Ranch® is to help design our assessment and training protocols. We believe in a Hyper-Personalized Training system that focuses on developing a training program based off of information we have accumulated through our various assessments.

 

We see tremendous growth in many of the athletes we work with while they are training with us in person at the Ranch. However, when some of these athletes return home, they stagnate, or even sometimes regress, while others continue to grow in their development. The main difference we have observed between the ones that continue to progress and the ones who don’t is not the workout program per se, but instead how they go about their training.

 

While a player is working with us in person, we are measuring and tracking as many parts of their workout as possible. Whether it is counting how many reps they can perform of a movement or exercise in a set amount of time, or measuring distance or velocity of other activities, we try and measure as many different aspects of their training as possible.

 

I feel this is one of, if not the biggest reason, we see growth in the athletes while they are with us at the Ranch. The measurements give the athletes something to strive for and to compete against; it gives them a way to track their progress.

 

We also have consequences, like having to do a push up or a burpee, if they don’t beat their previous best time, distance, or velocity. Most of the time, our consequence of choice is a Hindu Push Up (if you don’t know what that is, just look it up on the web). These consequences are just small reminders to always keep trying to improve.

 

The athletes that continue to see improvements when they head back home and continue to train on their own are the ones that, at least a couple of times a week, are measuring their progress. The ones who stagnate or regress are the ones that just go through the motions and get their reps in every day.

 

The problem with that is, most of the time that player is training in what we call the “Dead Zone” or “Comfort Zone”. They may think they are working hard but, in reality, the intensity of their training is just not at a high enough threshold or level to result in a physiological adaptation or change.

 

I am not saying that an athlete should try to go all out every day. They do need to cycle in the workload and intensity so they can recover and not over train, but 2-3 times a week, they need to work in an intensity zone that is going to force the body to adapt.

 

We advise our athletes to have a weekly cycle of 2 light days a week, 2-3 medium days a week, and 2 heavy days a week. We feel this type of structure works well to make sure the athlete is working at an intensity level (heavy days) a couple of times a week to trigger that physiological change that they are after. This cycle will also give the body time to recover (light days) and build a bigger base or work capacity (medium days) without overtraining.

 

I found that the key to the heavy/high intensity days is the measurements. When I was coaching in college, once our fall season was over and we had about a 6-week period of a true offseason, we would have 2 heavy/high intensity days each week (Mondays and Fridays). Those were the 2 days that we really measured and tracked everything we did that day. On both days, we would do a hurdle-a-ladder routine to get the neuromuscular system firing—we counted how many hurdles they went over or ladders they went through in 5 seconds.

 

On Mondays, we would measure how many times they hit a 14lb. double handle medicine ball against a wall in 12 sec., doing various exercises. We also measured the max. distance they could throw. On Fridays, we would break out the radar gun to measure how hard they threw a 4lb. medicine ball against a wall while doing different exercises, and we would radar a few different throwing drills to see what their max. and average velocity was for each drill.

 

This was always the time of year that I saw the greatest growth in our players. I know a small part of this growth may have come from just doing the exercises and the throwing, but we did those same exercises, long tossed, and did the same throwing drills all year long and never saw the same type of growth as we did during that 6 weeks’ time period.

 

I believe the real reason for the growth during that time frame was because we measured and tracked all of it. This provided the players with a quantifiable number for them to try and beat, and that forced them to move with intent and at an intensity level that triggered a physiological change.

 

So, I believe the key to continual growth is to measure your training to make sure it is being executed at a high enough intensity level to force the physiological change you are after.

 

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Important TBR Updates

 

  • As a result of the smaller size of our boot camps due to the Corona virus, we have added an additional Elite Pitchers Boot Camp in October.  It is being held over the Columbus Day weekend October 10-12. In addition, all our Fall/Winter dates are set.  More information can be found at www. TexasBaseballRanch.com/events.

 

  • After numerous requests, we have added a Youth Pitchers Camp (ages 8-12 years) to our fall schedule.  It is being held October 17-18.  Over half of the spots have already been reserved so don’t delay in registering if you want to attend. For more information on this camp, please visit www.TexasBaseballRanch.com/events. 

 

  • Response to our “Ranch Remote” training option has been exciting. It’s a program for people that would still like to get access to, and ongoing instruction from, the TBR staff but prefer to avoid travel due to the virus. Click here to get more information on this NEW, hyper-personalized training option.  Space is limited in this program and we only have a few spots still left so if you’re interested, don’t delay.

 

  • Mark your calendar:
    • Our 21st Annual “Ultimate Pitching Coaches Bootcamp” is December 4-6 with bonus night on December 3rd.  Details coming soon!
    • Our 2nd Annual “Elite CATCHERS Bootcamp is December 11-13th.  Space limited to the first 30 catchers ages 14 & up.  More information coming soon!

 

Please call (936)588-6762 or email us: info@texasbaseballranch.com
for more details or to sign up for any of these options.

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