Monday, April 16, 2012

Is Your Baseball Coach In It For You? Or For Themselves?

This article comes from a member of's Network of Academies and Teams, The Baseball Zone. Be sure to check out this and many other informative posts from Canada's leading baseball training academy.

Is Your Baseball Coach In It For You? Or For Themselves?

Over the years I have seen and played for a lot of different coaches spanning various sports. Most of us have. And they can be categorized in many different ways – a yeller versus a quiet, thoughtful approach; more technical versus motivational; organized versus “winging it”; and so on. I submit to the readers now a new category – coaches that work for you versus working for themselves.

What I mean by this category is the following – does the coach ramble on and on with no apparent organization to their sermon, or do they come across as having a clear and concise goal for that particular session? The human mind – as powerful as it is – has a very difficult time being consciously aware of more than one new concept at a time. So is the coach focusing their efforts on a singular, EFFECTIVE goal or are they taking every opportunity to just spew information, whether germane to the overall intentions or not, just to show how knowledgeable they are to the masses? Is it truly about you? Or them?

In my opinion, the greatest coach who has ever lived (at least in North American contemporary times) is the college basketball legend John Wooden (did you know his favourite sport was baseball?). Coach Wooden called himself an average game coach but a great practice coach. Why? Well no matter how many championships he won (10 NCAA titles by the way) he maintained the humility and discipline to prepare for every practice. He even kept the practice plans for every single one he ever conducted until the day he died. He never thought he was too good to prepare. He had a clear and concise goal or goals for every practice and every drill, whether they were individual or team based. Certainly after 10 or 5 or even 2 or 1 National Championships he could have easily just cruised a bit and gone on without a plan wowing them every day with his knowledge and what he had accomplished in the past, right? But would that be serving the players or him?

Wooden and other great, genuine coaches are not victims of what some have coined “The Me Disease” – the belief that things happen (good or bad) because of who you are, not because of what you do. With Wooden it was never about who he was. It was about the responsibility he took in his position of leading young men, and developing and maintaining the constant effort and discipline it took to provide them with what he felt they deserved. It was about what he did and he knew how easily that could slip away if he started believing it was about who he was. It was that humility and LACK of self-importance that kept him so great for so long.

So the next time you are deciding on a new coach or deciding whether or not to keep a coach, ask them – and yourself – what they are doing for you when you are not working together. Are they taking time and putting forth great effort to synthesize, prepare and implement a development plan for you? Or not? Are they planning out the next practice or groups of practices for the team or group? Or not? Are they of the mind that it is an honour for them to be working for you? Or the other way around? Is success about what they do? Or who they are? Simply put – Are they in it for you? Or are they in it for themselves?

Good luck in searching for a coach you deserve. I hope this helps.

Mike McCarthy, Co-Founder - The Baseball Zone

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Whip The Hip!

Rotational movement integrated with precise timing/sequencing
of the hip and glutei muscles will help give you the elusive power
you seek. So few people understand how to rotate at the hip and
engage the glutes with powerful contraction combined with rear
foot plantarflexion.

This lack of sequencing and movement patterning means a loss of
durability and inhibited optimum performance. Lack of ‘hip whip’
manifests itself in too much muscle recruitment from the upper
torso and the client will ‘bleed’ unproductive energy. It is a term
that represents the motion of powerful active contraction of the
glute with rotational power of the hip joint.

It’s the ‘snap’ of activation with intent of movement that counts.
No sloppy follow thru .The rear leg should have a tense activated
glute and the rear foot should be plantar flexed with minimal
weight resting on the ball of the foot. I tell my clients if I walked
behind you and hit that butt I better bounce off. No loosey

Don’t worry about the front leg glute. That will be activated
because you are standing on it with more transferred weight. Pay
attention to the rear leg. Try the rotation without active glute
contraction and then with contraction. Tell me what difference you
feel? You feel much more powerful and stable right? Take a look
at this picture below to see a representation of an end phase ‘hip
whip.’ This is a high stability, loaded movement pattern. Top of
the ‘food chain’ in the 4-stages of owning the whip you will see
listed below.

The glutes are really nice to look at I know, ( well some are) but
the important thing in performance is how they function. Can
they activate? Can they sequence? You may need to spend time
teaching clients how to disassociate the top and bottom of the
body first and then move into locking in transitional patterns.
Start with no load and then increase to resistance bands, and
finally cables.

If you can master the power of the hips and glute you will
unleash the secret weapon of performance. All things being
considered you must own the ‘hip whip’ by progressing thru 4

1. Insure adequate mobility is on board in the hips. Particularly in
extension and internal rotation. Look for asymmetries.

2. Fascial snags and glutei trigger points must be released and
addressed because they will cause soft tissue extensibility
dysfunction and loss of mobility.

3. Glutes must be activated in relationship to the calves and
iliacus Glutes are often inhibited and weak in relationship to
facilitated calves and iliacus. Release the iliacus by manual
pressure and foam roll the calves, followed immediately by supine
hip bridges to activate the glutes. Be careful of doing the wrong
thing to the psoas. It is often tight and weak, indicating a need
for stretching then immediate strengthening. Simply stretching a
tight and weak muscle is asking for TROUBLE!

4. Movement patterning and motor control. Gaining stability of
the hips in static position, then proceeded by dynamic, and finally
loaded high threshold movement so you can lock in the new
mobility with neural control.

Precision of movement. Quality over quantity. Better is better,
more is not better. These are your guiding principles of power.
Now go have fun whipping your hip!

Rodger Fleming, ATC, LMT
Body Awareness Therapeutic Massage
Macon, Georgia