Parents… Stop Wasting Your Money – Part 3 (Catchers and Position Players)

By Bahram Shirazi (BSEE, MBA, Co-owner RPP)

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Here we go with Part 3 of this series on “Stop Wasting Your Money”.  This one is for catchers and position players (please click here for Part 1 and here for Part 2, related to pitchers).

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Training Velocity in the Weight Room with VBT

By Nunzio Signore (BA, CSCS, CPT, NASM, FMS)

VBT Top 1

Athletes who are able to recruit higher ratios of Type II “fast twitch” muscle fibers have shown to be able to produce more power.  For ballplayers, this means that they are more likely to throw harder off the mound or have a higher exit velo at the plate.  Genetics do come into play, but many times they only give us a better “starting point”.  By no means should they dictate a definitive “end-point”.  After reading a copy of Dr. Bryan Mann’s book on velocity-based training (VBT) a light went off in my head as to how elements of VBT could be implemented here at RPP.    [Read more…]


RPP Baseball Off-Season Offerings

Off-Season Baseball Summary Chart

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Training Explosiveness through Strength Training

By Nunzio Signore (BA, CSCS, CPT, NASM, FMS)

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For parents of some young athletes (for the scope of this article I’m talking about athletes ages 13-16), lifting heavy weights seems to get a bad rap. Years ago players were told not to lift weights because it would make them too “big”.  You could even hear words like “stiff” or “tight” getting thrown around at the drop of a hat.

While I whole heartedly believe in the phrase that “age is wisdom”, this would be one of those times that I beg to differ.  Being strong is a good thing.  And if you want to be explosive you have to be strong first.  Performance, speed (have I got your attention now?) and injury prevention all are built on a foundation of strength. But exactly what type of strength training and at what age seems to be where parents (and strength and conditioning coaches for that matter) get tripped up.

Most of you who read my blogs know that I spend a great deal of time emphasizing training according to where the athlete is during the season. Let’s take a look… [Read more…]


Improving Lead Leg Strength – Force Development

By Nunzio Signore (BA, CSCS, CPT, NASM, FMS)

Improving Lead Leg Strength - Force Development Top

While getting strong is a given in any sport, how quickly we can apply that strength (power) is what separates good from great. In a nutshell, the quicker you can produce force the harder you’ll throw.  [Read more…]


Interview with Hockey Player Anthony Firriolo

By Nunzio Signore (BA, CSCS, NASM, CPT, PES, FMS)

Anthony Firriolo PictureToday my interview is with Anthony Firriolo.  An excellent hockey player I had the pleasure of training last summer.  Anthony is a graduate of Don Bosco High School and the NJ Hitmen program and will be joining the Colorado College hockey program this coming September.  He is back for the summer continuing with his off-ice training.

Anthony came to RPP last March and trained with us for nearly five months until his departure in August to join the Kingston Voyageurs in Canada’s Ontario Junior Hockey League.   Upon Arrival in Canada he made a smooth transition and an immediate impact on Kingston’s blueline, recording 4 goals and 22 points in 51 games, as a defensemen.  The 18-year old earned the eyes of the scouting community, which ultimately ended up in him being picked-up by Colorado College’s hockey program.

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Growth Doesn’t Happen Without….

By Bahram Shirazi (BSEE, MBA, Dad and Co-owner at RPP)

Today my guest post is by my business partner, Bahram Shirazi, who will talk about the growth of our business here at RPP, and the how and the why.

RPP Growth 2012 - 2016

As we look forward to hopefully another great year here at RPP, it’s a good time to review where we have come from and how we got here.  RPP’s youth clientele has increased nearly 6-fold since 2012. By any measure, that’s great and we are very proud of what we have accomplished.  But explosive growth doesn’t happen for NO apparent reason; it certainly doesn’t happen overnight, and it definitely doesn’t happen without sleepless nights. [Read more…]


The Need for Speed… Lateral Change-of-Direction – Part 5

By Nunzio Signore (BA, CPT, CSCS, NASM, PES, FMS)


In Part 5 of this 6 part series I am going cover later change-of-direction speed (click here Part 4).  This is an area where I find many athletes make the most mistakes. It’s also an area where top-end speed is not a factor, making athletes who are great movers in a short area (such as baseball players) excel. [Read more…]


The Need for Speed… Lateral Acceleration – Part 4

By Nunzio Signore (BA, CSCS, CPT, NASM, PES, FMS)


In Part 4 of this series on Need for Speed (click here for Part 3, Part 2, Part 1), we’re going to talk about lateral acceleration. As far as court and field sports go, lateral acceleration is where the athlete can separate himself among the pack. The ability to accelerate or change direction quickly while maintaining an athletic posture sets an athlete up, not only from a performance standpoint, but also visually speaks volumes about their athleticism during any recruiting process as well. [Read more…]


The Need for Speed… Linear Acceleration – Part 3

By Nunzio Signore (BA, CPT, CSCS, NASM, PES, FMS)


In Part 3 of this series on Speed Development, we’re going to get moving (click here for Part 2 and here for Part 1)… literally by starting with linear acceleration (forward). This means getting our center of mass moving as quickly as possible. Linear acceleration relates to all sports, but is best put to use on the baseball field in the form of base running, stealing and in the outfield.


Today, I’m going to break it down into three phases and explain how we train each phase separately and eventually connecting them into one fluid movement.

Phase 1- Posture – Correct running mechanics begin with good static posture. We start every session with Glute / Wall Iso Holds to help simulate what good posture looks like in mid-run.

Some of our cues are:

  • Feet approximately 3 feet away from wall (distance can vary based upon height of the athlete)
  • Wrists at shoulder height or slightly below – It’s important not to bring the hands and arms up too high due to the fact that we want to make sure the core can handle the body posture and stabilize the pelvis based on where the hands are.
  • Straight line from ankle to shoulders.

Check it out.

(Glute / Wall Iso Holds)

Phase 2 – Starting Phase (Power) – The initial push-off all the way to the first 2 or 3 steps is where 75% of the battle is won (or lost). This is also known as “first-step quickness” or “first 10-yards”. Call it whatever you want, I call it getting a good stable base of strength in the weight room before you try and go out and be powerful. Anything less is merely leaving half of it on the table.

With that being said, one way we can train power in the starting phase, is with a drill such as ½ Kneeling Starts. This drill helps to “over emphasize” the starting or “push” phase by adding extra resistance, forcing the athlete to emphasize the initial front leg push into the ground preventing a “lag in their start.  This in turn carries over to a more explosive start when in a more athletic position. We like to cue “load the front leg” as well as “throw the arms back” to help drive the same side leg up into flexion and get the athlete up quicker.

(Half Kneeling Starts)

Phase 3 – Drive Phase – Once the athlete is up and moving we need to make sure that he is continuing to accelerate by using an aggressive arm action which in turn creates a longer ground reaction time helping to produce a longer stride as well as a stronger and higher hip and knee drive. We also cue “chase the shoulders” to ensure we are keeping the load on the front leg throughout. Step drills are great to help feel what an in-sync pattern feels like.

(Step Drill)

Stay tuned for next time when we’ll talk about Lateral Acceleration.

See ya’ in the gym…


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