It is the final baseball-less weekend before the 2010 season gets underway. I use the term “baseball-less” loosely, seeing as I had to go over to the field for about a half hour yesterday to “report” for spring training, and three-hour physicals began at 7:45am this morning. Today is last day without any baseball activity until April 6, the day after camp breaks.
For the last three weeks, my strength and condition workouts shifted from the Minor League complex in Tempe to Athletes’ Performance, a training facility located in north Phoenix. Athletes’ Performance has four locations in Arizona, California, Florida, and Texas, and has earned an esteemed reputation for training elite collegiate and professional athletes. Working out at Athletes’ Performance is one-stop shopping as far as an integrated strength, conditioning, agility, and nutrition plan goes.
All athletes undergo an introductory evaluation where body composition, functional movement, target cardiovascular heart rates, and goals are evaluated. From there, a nutritional blueprint is constructed for the athlete to follow that identifies the proper carbohydrate-protein-fat ratio to obtain the target amount of daily calories. This nutritional information is also used to develop the formulae for the pre-workout shooters and post-workout shakes that are given. The shooters are consumed by athletes before workouts to increase workout capacity while minimizing fatigue, while the shakes are taken after workouts to repair and build lean muscle.
The actual workouts comprised of pre-movement prep, movement prep, speed work, plyometrics, and strength development. Pre-movement prep involves trigger point release techniques and movement prep focuses on active stretching and movements to warm-up muscles. Once the body is loose, speed work and plyometrics are integrated using medicine balls, bounding, resisted cables, and a variety of other toys only strength and conditioning coaches could find joy with. After this is strength development, with three circuits of about four exercises comprising this phase. Wrapping up the two-hour workout is cardio work, which generally involves interval training of some kind, whether that is shuttle runs or alternating stints on VersaClimbers and treadmills.
I have to thank Mike Roberts, head coach of the Cotuit Keetlers of the Cape Cod Baseball League and Director of Baseball Operations at Athletes’ Performance, for this great opportunity. I also need to thank my beloved girlfriend, Juliet, who served as Coach Roberts’ Head Athletic Trainer at Cotuit this past summer, and was able to introduce me to him when the need arose for a catcher at Athletes’ Performance. When pitchers and catchers reported to Major League spring training, the catchers who were catching pitchers had to leave, and a catcher was needed for the pitchers who had yet to report. Juliet suggested that I could fill the void when she learned of the situation, and Coach Roberts presented me with the opportunity.
Training at Athletes’ Performance was an amazing experience, and I was able to realize improvements in running technique and overall movement coordination in the short time I was there. I have John Stemmerman, GM/Performance Manager of Athletes’ Performance and my workout group’s coach, as well as the rest of the dedicated staff to thank for the gains I was able to make. Their expertise and attentive instruction was invaluable and has given me useful knowledge moving forward in developing my baseball abilities.