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Stay in the loop and get the latest up-to-the-minute stories from Recruits, including top players, team-worthy news, upcoming events and top baseball news.


 

One of the many hidden benefits of weighted baseballs

Most coaches / instructors at least think they understand all the benefits of weighted baseballs...  Building arm strength (overload), building arm speed (underload) are both positives associated with the use of weighted baseballs, but the benefits to positively affecting arm action, timing, and efficient movement patterns be of greater value.  The body recognizes the additional weight and understands that to preform the throw it MUST be more efficient in its movement pattern.  There are very specific drills and movements that can be done to really help pitchers "clean things up" and truly feel what its like to throw in the most efficient and healthy way possible. The feeling of doing it correctly is far more valuable and effective in correcting mechanical flaws than trying to adjust the delivery to a coaches verbal ques. 

Overload Drill promoting a more efficient arm action...  Jumping on the spiral staircase bandwagon?  Not a new thing for us, but we can teach you! 

 

WARNING!!!!  BEFORE STARTING A WEIGHTED BALL PROGRAM MAKE SURE YOU GET WITH SOMEONE WHO CAN GIVE YOU AN ASSESSMENT PRIOR TO STARTING!  A ONE SIZE FITS ALL THROWING PROGRAM IS NOT THE MOST BENEFICIAL, AND CAN CAUSE SERIOUS INJURY!

Want to see the benefits of a weighted ball program designed specifically for you???  Elite Pitching Development can help!! 

Elite Pitching Development - A case of results...

I wanted to take the time to share some results of our Elite Pitching Development Program and show you firsthand how we are making positive and substantial improvements in pitchers of all ages.  The results I am sharing today are from a high school pitcher who was seeking better, more effective instruction.  He was working with another area instructor and nothing was getting or feeling better. Arm pain each time throwing, ultimately pushed him to make a change.  Where do we start?  First we must, and I say must assess the client.  Strength, range of motion, mechanics, and arm health history are all things I take into consideration before building a program.  I don’t use a one size fits all type thing.  All pitchers are different and a program specifically created for the individual is the quickest way to reach the goals at hand.

Results of the original testing were as follows…

Pull downs

5oz. 79.3mph average

7oz. 75.6mph average

9oz. 71mph average

4oz. 83.3mph average (unable to finish set due to arm pain)

Mechanical Assessment – poor direction to the plate, unstable front leg, lack of leg drive, inconsistent front side, stiff and robotic arm action.  (All common flaws we see kids come to us with)

Range of Motion Assessment – lacks scapular function, lacks internal rotation, unable to touch toes (tight hammies)

Arm Health – Pain in front of shoulder prior to ball release through pronation

His program…  We began with an arm care / strength program, no I will not share it…  Why?? It won’t work for you!!  It is individual!  We then began cleaning up his mechanics.  We did this by using several different methods to force positive changes in pitchers, and he took to it quickly.  BE CAREFUL TRYING TO FIX WHAT YOU THINK IS A MECHANICAL FLAW!  IT MAY JUST BE A TIMING FLAW THAT IS EASILY CORRECTED!!!  AND DO YOURSELF A FAVOR!!!  GET WITH A COACH THAT UNDERSTANDS NOT ONLY WHAT THE FLAW IN YOUR DELIVERY IS, BUT ALSO KNOWS WHAT IS CAUSING THE FLAW TO OCCUR.  IF YOU ATTEMPT TO FIX WHAT THE PROBLEM IS CAUSING INSTEAD OF WHAT IS CAUSING THE PROBLEM, YOU WILL NOT SEE GOOD RESULTS!

So… On with the new results already!

Pull Downs

5oz. 83.3mph average

7oz. 80.6mph average

9oz. 76.3mph average

4oz. 86.3 average

The best part about his most recent testing was the fact that he was able to complete the entire test without any arm pain at all!

His mechanics improved drastically, his range of motion increased (which showed to positively change his arm action), and his arm pain went away!

 

Still wondering about Elite Pitching Development or are you ready to sign up?

Importance of Strength and Conditioning

Strength and Conditioning is one of the most overlooked aspects in youth baseball.  Sure, fixing some mechanical issues in a pitching motion or hitting swing can result in one throwing harder and hitting farther.  But what happens when that velocity plateaus or those power numbers aren’t there? Have dreams of playing college or professional baseball? Let’s be honest, coaches everywhere are looking for bigger, faster, stronger.  So what do you need to do to get to the next level?  GET IN THE WEIGHT ROOM!

When it comes to youth training, parents get the common misconception that because their children bodies are not fully developed, they shouldn’t participate in a strength and conditioning program. I always tell them there are many different ways to improve strength and overall athleticism. Whether it be in the form of resistance bands, medicine balls, or even using the body weight as resistance.

Traditional lifting and training practices should not always be used for baseball players.  So what should baseball players focus on when it comes to training you ask?  To answer that question, try to think of the movements the players perform on the field.  Throwing? Hitting? Sprinting (running the bases)? Well what do these movements have in common? They are all quick and explosive movements.  So why not translate that to the weight room.

The ability to exert force (power) and amount of time it takes to exert that force (rate of force) are both important in the development of bat speed, exit velocity, and throwing velocity.  As baseball players, we want to not only just lift the weight but move it fast.  As weight increases however, the velocity at which we lift the weight decreases.  Only using heavy weights or just getting through the movement does not always produce the best results.

 

As baseball players, the objects we use to perform movements on the field are of lighter weight (a baseball is 5oz and a bat is 29-35oz).  Focusing on lighter weight, proper form, and the velocity of the movement being performed can produce greater results on the field.

Importance of Arm Strength

The importance of arm strength when it comes to infielders, outfielders, and catchers.
 
Many people still subscribe to the age old philosophy of long toss in order to build arm strength in youth, high school, college and professional baseball players. While long toss does help, there are many other ways we can work to build strength, mobility, and speed in position players’ arms. Currently, depending on who you follow on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook etc… you can find posts and videos of pitchers working on gaining and maintaining velocity, using various methods including; weighted baseballs, underloaded baseballs, arm bands, long toss, weight training, shoulder stability exercises. My question to position players is, “Why are pitchers the only ones doing these exercises? What are they ultimately trying to do? They’re trying to gain arm strength and arm speed in order to be more effective/electric on the mound, which will in turn increase interest from college/pro scouts. The harder a pitcher throws, the more desirable he is to a recruiter. Here’s a breakdown when it comes to recruiting pitchers and velocities TYPICALLY required to be recruited at each level of college baseball. 
 
Consistent Velocity Required for Pitchers at Each Collegiate Level
 
Divison 3 
RHP - 80 mph 
LHP - 77 mph
 
Division 2
RHP - 85
LHP - 83
 
Division 1
RHP - 88 mph
LHP - 86 mph
 
Obivously, pitchers are busting their tails to throw harder and harder, trying to grab as much college money as possible at universities across the country. You may not know this, but college coaches also have a similar requirement for their outfield and infield recruits. Here’s a look:
 
Consistent Velocity Across the Infield for Infielders at Each Collegiate Level
 
Division 3
80 mph
 
Division 2
84 mph
 
Division 1
88 mph
 
Now, other factors play into these numbers a bit, such as athletic ability, range, footspeed, and overall hitability, but these are baseline numbers recruiters at each college level use on a consistent basis. For first basemen, arm strength is not much of a factor. First basemen must be able to punish the baseball and possess more power than most anyone else on the field. It is truly an offensive position
 
Consistent Outfield Velocity from a Crowhop at Each Collegiate Level
 
Division 3
82
 
Division 2
86
 
Division 1 
90
 
Along with infielders, outfielders arms aren’t the only thing looked at, but with outfielders the arm is more important the player’s overall ability to field a hit ball. Outfielders are strongly graded on their arms and their bats and their speed. Corner outfielders are graded tougher on arm strength and hit and power tools, where as center fielders are graded stronger on speed and contact, with a little less emphasis on arm strength. 
 
Catchers, you are graded almost solely on your pop times (glove to glove on throws to 2b), with the bat being a factor and ability to receive and block the baseball. Typical college pop times are as follows. Keep in mind, fantastic defensive catchers with great D1 pop times can find themselves at the D2, D3 level because their bat is weaker than others, and vice versa for stronger hitting catchers with lower defensive ability and higher pop times. It usually depends on what each recruiter coach is looking for at the time.
 
Consistent Pop Times for Ctachers at Each Collegiate Level
 
Division 3
2.2 seconds
 
Divison 2
2.0 seconds
 
Division 1
1.9
 
Almost every method, tool pitchers are using to strengthen and speed up their arms can be used for infielders, outfielders, and catchers. Don’t just buy into long toss programs and think it’s going to be enough. Maybe 10 years ago it was, but baseball players are evolving at an exponential rate and more and more players are reaching potentials they never would without these outside the box, non-traditional techniques. 
 
All of these arm strength, arm speed, arm health techniques are used by Recruits coaches and players and are also used by Practice Factory instructors during lessons. Our players and students are consistently seeing gains and proven results from these methods and will see continued success on the ball field because of them. If you have any questions about how you can help increase arm strength and speed, reach out to us and we will get you on the right track.
 
 
 

Baseball Showcase’s… To go or not to go?

There are many showcase companies that have popped up over the years, and different events that market towards showcasing players.  What makes a good showcase event?

Will there be multiple schools attending or just one?  This is more of a bang for your buck thing, and obviously the more coaches attending the better…  This helps to create more opportunities for the attendees, and better opportunity to strike the interest of coaches.  

Will there be schools attending that fit your level of play?  Example, if you are a division 3 type player, there is no need to attend an event with only division 1 schools.  Most players are unaware of their level of play, so look for showcases that are well rounded with schools from various levels.

Will there be schools attending that fit your needs academically?  There are some showcases that market to a specific academic level…  Make sure that some of the schools attending fit your needs here.  Remember we are STUDENT athletes!

Will the event provide open and honest feedback?  At the end of the day you want to know your strengths, weaknesses, and what level you fit in at.  Gaining the understanding of what you do well and what you need to work on can be very valuable information!

These are just a few thing that we have found to be the most important when deciding to attend a showcase or not…  The Recruits Baseball Club holds an annual showcase each year that is open to all players who fit the profile (not just Recruits players).  We get schools from the D1, D2, D3, NAIA, and JUCO levels to attend as well as several pro scouts.  One of our goals is to help all players who wish to play at the next level find a fitting home, and expose players to all the different levels of baseball beyond High School.

For more information on our annual showcase, or to request an invite to the event, information can be found at www.recruitsbaseball.com

 

 

Q & A with Eli Fox

I recently brought in Recruits 2016 C/MIF, Eli Fox. Eli is one of the hardest working, focused, and intense individuals to ever come through the program. The combination of Eli’s drive and desire to make it to the next level, combined with his high-level baseball skills landed him offers from numerous schools. Eli chose Illinois College to further his education and baseball journey.

 

 

You live in Gillespie, IL, about an hour outside of Saint Louis. What made you choose the Recruits Baseball Program, based in Saint Louis?

 

I wanted to center myself with other players who had common characteristics as myself of dedication, hardworking, and the desire to get to the next level. 

The first time I met with Coach Stein and Coach Wiggins, I knew they would be giving their all to help me achieve my goals.

 

 

Attending a smaller school like Gillespie HS, explain your experience in that particular program up through your Senior year. Compare the level of competition you faced in HS vs. the competition during your summer seasons with the Recruits.

 

Like most small schools the GHS program relies on their players to take initiative in the off season.  My high school conference (South Central) is very competitive.  Playing with the Recruits has allowed me to compete at more of a national level.

 

 

Tell me about your experience in the Recruits Baseball program. For example; relationships you built with teammates/coaches, your overall development as not only an athlete but also as a young man.

 

 

The Recruit’s program is truly an extended family.  We spend a lot of time together.  Everyone works hard, so it not only makes the team stronger; it also develops lasting friendships. 

The program gives you elite instruction, builds character, and the coaches are fully invested in all their players.

 

 

Explain how the recruiting process went for you. Did it go as expected?

 

Getting recruited is a learning experience.  I went into it thinking it was going to be hard, and it was.

 

 

What was it about Illinois College that made you feel it would be a good fit for you, not only athletically but academically as well? How was your communication with the coaching staff from day one?

 

From my first visit to IC I felt at home.  IC has an excellent academic reputation, and offers my area of study.  Athletically I am very excited to play at IC’s brand new stadium.  I feel I can compete for a starting position as a freshman.

My communication with Coach Eckhouse is very good and has been from the start.

 

 

 

After going through the recruiting process and eventually making a commitment to a school, how big of a role do you feel the Recruits Baseball program played in all of it?

 

While there is no doubt you have to be proactive and assertive yourself, the Recruit’s directors play a huge role in the process.  The coaches make sure you get to tournaments that put you in front of college coaches.  Also, the coaches communicate on your behalf to assist you in committing to the college that is right for you.  For me personally, Coach Stein responded immediately with recommendations, and emails on my behalf to many colleges during the recruiting process.

 

 

What advice would you give to young baseball players who aspire to play at the collegiate level? Both academically and athletically.

 

If you want to play at the college level you must take excellent care of your grades all four years of high school. 

 

You must be committed to training and willing to make sacrifices that other don’t.

Being Ready to Hit and Attacking Fastballs Early in the Count

 
In the Recruits program we have a uniform hitting approach that our coaches/instructors continuously work on manifesting in our hitters. The approach is simple; swing early, swing often, and swing to make hard contact. In order to effectively implement this approach, the hitter must have a “swing first, take second” mindset, meaning the hitter must be ready to swing the bat before every pitched ball in order to get his swing off on time, especially on fastballs. Too many times you see hitters take good fastballs over the middle, inner third or outer third of the plate and you sit there scratching your head wondering why he just did that. We believe the main reason kids take good pitches, especially early in counts, is because they have been conditioned to see the ball, decide if it is a pitch good enough to swing at, and then fire off their swing. A lot of times, that process has taken place long after the ball has reached the hitting zone and the hitter is either late or so late that he can’t trigger his swing. In our program, hitters are thinking SWING long before the ball has been released, before the pitch has been read, and before the location has been seen. This doesn’t mean they’re swinging early, it means they are preparing to swing before deciding if the pitch is NOT good enough to swing at. It’s so much easier to start your swing and hold up on a bad pitch than wait to start your swing until you get a good pitch and fire it off in time to make good contact. 
 
The video below will show Josh Donaldson taking a pitch. Look at how dynamic his take is. Look at how much barrel movement he is creating before committing to the pitch. He has started the process of his swing long before recognizing the pitch and all he has to do to get his swing off is release his barrel once he decides he wants to keep his swing going into the baseball. 
 
 
A good majority of the greatest hitters in the world use this same approach and see tons of success. Yes, kids aren’t as big and strong and athletic as big leaguers, but they do have the ability to approach hitting the same way these guys do. All of our professional hitting instructors have bought into this approach and teach it relentlessly. If you would like to learn more, please contact us at…
 
 
 
 

MLB Skill Set

Ever wonder what an average MLB players skill set is and what it takes to play professional baseball?  Here is a quick run down on what the big league averages are for your baseball skill sets...

Power - 16-19 HR per season

Catchers pop time - 1.95

Throwing Velocity - 91

Base on Balls per 9 innings pitched - 3.3

60 yard dash - 6.9

Home to 1st time - 4.25

These numbers grade out as just average on a big league scouting scale! 

DEVELOPING INTO A BETTER PITCHER…  THE SMART WAY!

 

There are a lot of so called quick fixes, magic formulas, and secret programs on the market today, all selling the ability to turn you into a better pitcher (throwing harder) if you complete their short program.  Every day I read about this club’s new program or this person’s on-line complete kit or this trainer’s magic bullet – and by the way most of these guys have never pitched at a high level! The truth of the matter is that there is no replacement for hard work done consistently and over time. The other truth is that good pitchers have more than just velocity. 

A few years ago I put together a program to develop my pitchers. I took the time to evaluate what I was doing right and wrong in my lessons, I considered the training programs I used as a professional pitcher and as a college player, I researched new tools and new technology and then I tested it on a few players before I began to roll it out on a national level. From all of that research, I developed the Elite Pitching Development Program. All I can say is that it must be successful because every pitching guy / program in the area is copying the parts they can figure out. The other thing I can say is that my pitchers are consistently seeing results – not just in velocity gains but also in arm care, command and control in their pitching.

Given the popularity of these programs, I wanted to take a minute and share with you how the Elite Pitching Development Program is different than others on the market today, and why our pitchers see results.

Yes, our program, like the others has a velocity building portion.  All of our pitchers are given a comprehensive test to determine what areas need improvement (strength, mental, command, mechanics and etc.).  Questions, such as, what is causing the player to not be able to reach their full velocity? We spend time talking to our players and getting to know them. Each player has their own style and approach and we work together to determine that style and approach and then use that knowledge to develop the program around the player.

Our program has an individual player approach – it is not one size fits all. We work to get to the root cause of why a player is having issues, why they might not be performing at their peak level and where do they need to improve. Is it lack of arm strength? Lack of arm speed? A mechanical flaw? Poor range of motion? An unbalanced throwing shoulder?  All of these are real problems decreasing a player’s velocity.  After the test we then create a program for that specific thrower and not simply give them a one size fits all program that doesn’t address the problem at hand. 

The individual plan

Each player’s plan includes the following:

·       Mechanical drill set to correct flaws in the pitching / throwing motion

·       An arm care routine fit to the individuals needs

·       A stretching / range of motion routine to work on flexibility deficits

·       A weighted ball program based around what the testing numbers tell us

·       Follow-up with the player

Elite Pitching Development is a continuous process and not a short class. There is no magic bullet!

The other things…

Command building – Being able to put your pitches where you want is key in successfully getting hitters out.  Location, Location, Location is a must to pitch at a high level.

Secondary pitch development – Mastering a breaking ball and changeup is also a major factor in being successful on the mound.  Understanding how to throw them, when to use them, and having the confidence in throwing them when you need to is necessary.  

The mental side – Understanding how to be the most successful you can be, knowing what kind of pitcher you are, learning how to read hitters tendencies are all things we focus on in Elite Pitching Development.

 

These are just a few of the things that are different about our program vs. others, and what makes Elite Pitching Development a necessary component of every pitcher aspiring to play at a high level.  We have pitchers from all levels using Elite Pitching Development from college and pro guys, to high school and youth pitchers.  There is a reason that high level pitchers are using our program.  Don’t miss this opportunity to become the pitcher that you have always wanted to be!

GETTING ON PLANE

One thing that remains consistent beetween today's Elite Hitters and the Elite Hitters from the past is bat path. Whether we're talking Ted Williams or Albert Pujols the bat path remains the same. The idea is that we want to get the bat flat and on plane as early in the swing as we can. From this flat position, or the shaft to shoulder position as we like to call it, the idea is we want to release the barrel. We want to generate as much bat whip as we can and throw the barrel to the ball, not the hands. This completely contradicts the usual push the hands idea or "hands to the ball" bat path. Directing the hands to the baseball creates a cutting motion with the barrel throughout the zone and that is not at all an ideal bat path. On top of helping to generate more power, this flat position ensures that our barrel is in the hitting zone for as long as possible. Below is a video showing today's top hitters as well as the past greats getting the bat flat and on plane early. 

watch video

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Setting Expectations and Motivating Players

 

Coaches in the Recruits program not only teach and instruct young players on the fundamentals and finer points of the game, they MOTIVATE players as well.

Motivation is essential in helping kids work towards and achieve success in baseball at a high level. Recruits coaches set team and individual expectations, explain individual roles and encourage players to not only meet, but exceed set expectations. A player who knows his coach is interested and fully invested in his development and success will be motivated to perform and excel at a high level. In the Recruits program, we encourage our coaches at every level to identify players’ strengths and weaknesses by evaluating them in practice and in-game scenarios and take the information they have gathered and utilize it to help each player improve and reach his goals.

If you are looking for a program that places an emphasis on player development and has coaches who motivate and encourage their players to reach their full potential, don’t hesitate to contact us!