Valentine’s day was Saturday…
Went to a nice restaurant on the beach in Clearwater.
Our table had a beautiful view of the beach and a small courtyard where the resort was hosting one wedding after another. Guess it was a good day for romance.
As our meal concluded I noticed a wedding beginning. It was a small event, maybe 20 people in attendance, but it was sweet. The bride was a pleasant looking blonde in her mid 30s.She wore a beige lacy dress that matched exactly the oufit of the other bride — another middle aged blonde. That my friends was a first for me (not that there’s anything wrong with that).
After lunch, we had some ice cream, talked to a guy who was smoking cigarettes and selling pictures. For 20 bucks he would use your cell phone to snap a few shots with his two live parrots.
Next we found table at the Surfside Taphouse Bar and Grill where we enjoyed a cold beverage and listened to a live guitar player, sing bad Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young covers.
We capped the evening off with a trip to the movies.
Seems my wife bought us tickets to some flick about a guy with an erotic relationship with an all you can eat buffet. I think it was called “50 Shades of Gravy”… or something like that. Best I can recall, the first scene was at a Golden Corral. Not real sure, though.
I fell asleep.
Anyway, when we got home and turned on the news, I saw all these reports about the snow in Boston.
Wow! Sorry ’bout all that!
Those of you in the Northeast are getting hammered!
All that cold weather reminded me of a common problem every ballplayer has experienced — especially in cold weather states… SHRINKAGE.
It happens every year.
Pitchers come to us in the off-season.
We interview them.
How much did you pitch this past off-season?
What is the number one constraint holding you back from improving and advancing the next level in your game?
Is it velocity, command, recoverability, or arm health?
Then we do a physical assessment.
We look for limitations in scapular rhythm, shoulder mobility, thoracic mobility, hip mobility, and ankle mobility.
We conduct a Functional Movement Screen, and a high-speed video analysis of his movement patterns.
We sit down, prioritize his limitations and significant opportunities and come up with a training plan – the perfect blend of drills and exercises to help him achieve his goals.
And then we get to work on getting the guy where he wants to be!
Make no mistake, the work is hard… and it’s smart.
The goal is always to have the player performing at peak level when he toes the rubber for the first outing of his season… and our guys are ALWAYS ready.
But many times, when they join their teams, the plan changes.
Business around here gets slow. Our students are unable to come to us for training, because their time is consumed with practices filled with important activities like hitting fungoes and shagging fly balls.
The typical pattern is this.
They start out like gangbusters.
Their physical constraints are erased.
Their movement patterns and clean.
They’re throwing laser guided missiles and deadly off speed stuff.
They feel good. Their confidence is sky-high.
As my friend Dr. Tom Hanson would say… they’re PLAYING BIG!
During the season they try to stay locked in.
They pitch. They rest. They throw pens. They rest. And they pitch again.
But as the campaign progresses, physical constraints begin to leak in.
Corrective exercises previously executed to improve variables like hip mobility, thoracic mobility, and shoulder mobility, get neglected and soft tissue reverts to its prior length.
The drills employed to eliminate mechanical flaws are shelved.
Movement patterns left unattended begin to erode.
Pitchers lose command.
They lose velocity.
And ultimately they have pain.
Their performance falters and they lose confidence.
They are no longer PLAYING BIG…
That my friends is what I call SHRINKAGE…
(What? What did you think I meant?)
By the time the season ends, many pitchers are mere shells of their former selves.
So what can we do about it?
How do we maintain our off-season gains during the season?
How do we prevent shrinkage?
I believe shrinkage can be avoided during the season by frequently revisiting the training plans you performed in the off-season.
You have to keep doing what you did to get you where you are.
It seems self-evident to me, but you’d be surprised how many people just don’t get it.
I’m not saying you need to aggressively chase velocity or focus on high intensity motor building during the season.
Think of it like this.
Imagine you love coffee.
You need coffee.
Coffee makes you feel great.
Feeling great gives you confidence.
Confidence makes you great!
Now suppose you wake up one morning and make a big pot of coffee, pour yourself a cup and season it exactly to perfection. You return the rest of the coffee pot to the burner and keep it simmering. You’re hoping you can make that cup last the entire day. You sip a little at a time, savoring every drop. But as the day progresses, your coffee starts to get cold. It loses its taste and you can’t make yourself choke down another drop. What can you do to get that coffee buzz going again?
It’s easy really.
Just go back to the pot and refresh your blend.
Pour in some hot Joe, add a dose of sweetener and some lactose-free creamer, and you’re back to being…
One of the keys to consistent and lasting performance during the season is active pursuit of recovery.
If you’re going to be your best every time out, you have to FEEL your best every time out.
Back in December, I wrote E-book called The Elite Pitcher’s Ultimate Guide to Recovery. In that book, I outlined the physiology of recovery and offered a plan for a seven-day rotation typical of a college or high school starter.
I realize now that the recovery plan I suggested was incomplete, because it did not include the relievers and the pro guys who operate on a 5-day rotation. In retrospect, my “ultimate guide” wasn’t so ultimate after all.
Today I refreshed my own blend, and I present to you the Revised, True, Final, Comprehensive, Complete, Total, “Hey It Sounds Like a Pretty Good Idea… Until I Have a Better Idea” Ultimate Guide to Recovery.
I just uploaded the revised version you can download it at
Until next time,
Stay warm and stay BIG!