How Did Revolution Players Spend the Off-season?

When we set out to form our own travel baseball program, we wanted to make sure that player development plays a significant role.  Player development can mean a lot of different things depending on who you ask.  Some consider player development to be skill-based, while others consider it to be physical development.

For us, player development means a holistic approach to developing the athlete. As players and parents look to the next pitch or next at bat or even the next game, we are looking out 2-4 years from a medium to long-term development standpoint.  What do we mean by this?

This past year over 100 athletes tried out for our travel program, Revolution Baseball.  Instead of forming many teams at different ages, we formed a single team.  We wanted to make sure that we execute well and have player development take center stage.

We selected the most athletic 13- and 14-year-olds and formed one 14u team.  We recognized that the 13-year-olds may be a little more raw relative to the older guys, but we were generally looking at players with a decent level of athleticism that can benefit from our programming.

So, how did the Revolution guys spend the off-season?

It was a multi-faceted approach which included a variety of topics, from strength training to speed mechanics, fielding, hitting and pitching.  Here is a broad summary of how we spent the off-season.

Saturdays (at the SuperDome Bubble)

    • Fielding
    • Base Running

Sundays (at RPP)

    • Hitting
    • Speed Mechanics
    • Athleticism / Global Movement Patterns

Weekdays (varied days at RPP)

    • Strength Training (2x / week)
    • Pitching / Hitting (small groups)
    • Live at Bats

Other Miscellaneous Topics

    • Intro to Importance of Nutrition
    • Intro to Aspects of Mental Performance
    • Intro to Recruiting

For the purposes of this article, we are going to focus on what we did outside the nets in 3 different categories, strength, speed and athleticism.

Strength Training

At this point, Revolution players have been strength training for 7 straight months, 2x / week.  Their bodies have all changed and for many it’s quite noticeable.  The training began during the off-season, and we have since switched to in-season training.

Our programming parameters adjust based on the time of year, throwing schedules and whether games are currently being played. The workouts are “full-body” and focus on the primary lifts to develop:

    • Lower Half Strength (the posterior chain / quad dominance)
    • Upper Half Strength (pushing and pulling )
    • Core Strength (all 3 planes… anterior, rotary, and lateral stability)
    • Arm Care (scapular stability)
    • Plyometrics (jumping and landing mechanics)

Speed Mechanics

Revolution players participated in an 8 week speed mechanics program which focused on proper movements as it relates to speed mechanics. This included:

    • Linear Acceleration
    • Lateral Change-of-direction
    • Deceleration Mechanics
    • Base Stealing
    • Upper Body Running Mechanics

Teaching speed mechanics at this age is about the fundamentals.  Strength training alone will help them run faster.  But teaching them speed mechanics from a young age will help them lean to utilize their strength more efficiently.

Athleticism / Global Movement Patterns

In addition to the above, beginning with half way through the off-season, every workout began with a progression of  athleticism / global movement patterns program.

The purpose of these movement patterns is to create athleticism starting from the ground up. We find that often younger athletes lack the initial proprioception to know where their bodies are in space. These global movement patterns create body awareness which optimize movement efficiency and enhance performance.

The net result has been amazing. The players are stronger, faster and more athletic.  Their improvements are quite visible.

Live Game Action

Below is a series of videos from recent games.  These guys are 13 – 14 years old.  A couple more off-seasons like this one and these guys will all become elite high school players.

Closing Remarks

It’s important to remember that “nothing happens in isolation”. Training the physical, mental and technical side of the game is paramount in order to reach the next level. For us, keeping a medium term outlook as we help develop these young will be great fun to watch.

Interested in learning more? You can sign up for one of our upcoming tryouts.

By Bahram Shirazi and Nunzio Signore