When it comes to learning and “buying-in” to a training regimen, most highly motivated and highly skilled athletes are all ears. This is called “athlete education” and nothing can be more rewarding than watching them “do what it takes to be exceptional”, while reaping great results at the same time.
Ramsey High School’s Ryan Vatcher, who is now up at Babson College, is a perfect example. Ryan opted not to play summer ball last year. Instead, he enrolled in our Summer Velo Program choosing to work on his strength and mobility by living in the gym and working on fixing some mechanical issues through an intensive 5 day / week throwing-lifting program. This helped him create a higher velocity ceiling, as well as give him a better chance to succeed coming down the mound.
After a thorough physical assessment, as well as force-velocity profiling to gauge his power output, we designed a 5-day / week strength training program for Ryan specifically tailored to his needs. During the initial assessment, we also conducted a thorough initial throwing evaluation with our 4-camera video system. The combination allowed us to create a highly customized blueprint to allow his throwing and strength and conditioning programs to work “hand-in-hand”.
As a part of Ryan’s mechanics evaluation, we identified a few issues such as a quad dominant delivery which was causing him to open up his upper half early, hijacking much needed energy from his lower half as well as creating “early arm speed”. We prescribed corrective drills into his 3-week ramp up to clean up some of these mechanical issues.
In addition, as a part of the program, Ryan (and frankly all participants in the Summer Velo Program) was re-assessed every 4 weeks. These “re-assessments” serve the purpose of seeing how all the pieces of the training program are working together for each athlete. A well thought out velo program, which includes both throwing and strength training, can and should change and evolve based on re-assessments during the program, summer playing volume and how the athlete feels inside the nets. Too often, pitching is discussed in a vacuum that neglects strength, conditioning and mobility.
The strength portion of Ryan’s program was 100% designed around his specific needs to address his strengths and imbalances. But generally, the program’s focus is on further developing movement (mobility) and functional strength to help improve overall pitching mechanics and performance on the mound.
At completion of the 12-week program, in September he came into the college baseball season at 210 lbs., up 28 lbs. from the 182 lbs. frame he started back in the early summer. The extra muscle mass helped to create a more athletic delivery as well as alleviating stress in his lower lumbar, anterior shoulder and elbow.
(Ryan Vatcher Run and Gun – August 2017)
Ryan returned to RPP during winter break and continued with his strength training as well as participating in our College Winter Throwing Program designed to maintain the condition of his arm and mechanics while on break from school.
All this hard work eventually carried over to his performance on the mound. Last June, Ryan was sitting at 83-84 mph. By September, he was sitting at 87-88 and this March, he’s now currently sitting at 88-90 at Babson College. We can’t take the credit for all this. Ryan just “did what it takes to be exceptional” and went from 83 – 90 mph to get ready for his first year at Babson.
For more information on our “Summer Velo Program” click here or stop in and check us out in person.
See ya’ in the gym…