By Bahram Shirazi (BSEE, MBA, Co-owner RPP)
My prior article on our Secret Sauce at RPP (click here) ended with this “Oh, and making our pitchers as strong and explosive as we can, in all the right places”. In this article, I would like to go a little further and review why and how we have been successful in training high performance athletes. The truth is, it’s all about mass customization. Strength training is science but it’s also art. I have heard my partner, Nunzio Signore, say to clients a million times “the body is connected in all parts and ways, a potential issue in one location may very well be due to an issue somewhere else”. The reality is that every athlete that walks into our facility needs a different road-map to be the best they can be. So here we go with the Top Secret stuff…
When my older boy was growing up playing ball, I took him to various places for strength training during the off-season. They all said they know how to train ball players. I remember going into sessions where the strength coach basically blurted out “do 10 of these”, “do 8 of those”, then do “10 of these”. I wondered whether the coach even remembered what my son did the last time (nothing was being notated) or what he had planned for the next time. It all seemed so unorganized. One coach said do not lift after you pitch. Now… I have learned from Nunz, that’s just pure silliness. After you pitch or play, happens to be the best time to lift (provides you with the most recovery time). None of these strength coaches had a short, medium or long-term development plan for my young ball player. When I look back at all the money I spent on strength training, I now wonder what the heck I was doing. I feel like I was gipped.
Fast forward to present day, let me walk you through why our training at RPP is so effective, especially as it relates to the older athletes that can train in our Monthly Programs. It all begins with an assessment. The funny thing is many times when we mention “assessment” to a new client, the immediate reaction is “is that really necessary?” I think they think it’s similar to the exorbitant price we pay for a first-time doctor’s visit. Equally amusing is that 100% of the time when they sit through the complete assessment, they get it and they become members.
In total, during an assessment we evaluate nearly 50 different points of mobility, strength and power and the programming is 100% reliant on this assessment. It takes 45-60 minutes and what goes into it is rather impressive (if I may say so). I never imagined when I was driving my son around to train with different coaches that you’d need an assessment. But I can tell you today that a training program without a thorough assessment is a complete waste of money (as an aside also be wary of those without a thorough and extensive understanding of Exercise Science or Kinesiology running or providing training programs).
Following an assessment, the athletes in our Monthly Program receive programming which is 100% designed FOR them. 100%. That’s really the power in our training. It’s 100% individualized and customized for each athlete catered to each individual’s strengths and imbalances. Depending on how often the athlete wants to train, they can be structured as 2, 3, 4 or 5-day training programs. Their monthly program has their name on it and changes every 30 days. What we do during September-October is completely different than what we do in November-December, and then again different from January-February. Here is an example of a 5-day program for a single month (yes it’s fuzzy on purpose):
It sounds simple but the science that goes into it can get very complicated, especially when you introduce topics like Velocity Based Training (VBT), which we implemented this fall for our more advanced athletes. I have seen those that participate in our “monthly” programs develop before my very own eyes. Those who take it seriously and commit end up flourishing. It’s almost magical. Their bodies change. Their self-confidence improves. They feel stronger and more agile. They start to hit harder, run faster and yes! throw harder. And they know it too, they feel it in their bones. This is especially true of pitchers whose bodies go from 0 to 80 mph, or more, in under 2 seconds.
If you have ever been to In-N-Out Burgers on the west coast (over 300 locations) you may have heard of the Secret Menu. It’s amazing. You can’t find it on the menu boards. You can’t find it on the printed menus. You can’t find it on the website. But it’s there. The regulars know all about it. A major burger chain with secret items on their menu! Imagine that. It’s truly special. Only those “in the know” know.
Our training programs and everything that goes into them is on our secret menu. They are not on the website. They are not summarized some place. You can’t find them on flyers at the front desk. You need to be pre-approved to participate, and those that do also get the Secret Sauce.