By Nunzio Signore and Bahram Shirazi
As we get closer to the end of another year here at RPP, it seems like a good time to reflect back on 2017, and provide you with a glimpse of where we might be headed in 2018.
During 2017, we continued to relentlessly invest in our business including new equipment, technology, personnel, training programs and most importantly our own internal continuing education. Below is a summary of 2017 and how we pursued our mission of providing the best training ground available to our athletes.
Investment in Technology
VBT – Earlier this fall we took our strength training to a whole new level for the more advanced athletes by implementing Velocity Based Training (VBT). Simply put, using linear sensors, we can now measure and target bar movement rates during training to pinpoint the optimum loads to use to develop power and explosiveness. We are very excited about the prospects of VBT and we believe it will yield big results come spring when our athletes hit the field. Here is a link if you’d like to read more on this topic.
Rapsodo – We have installed a Rapsodo camera in the pitching nets to better assess our pitchers and help guide their development. The information coming out of the device, from spin rates to ball trajectory, is just incredible. The real art, however, is knowing what to do with all the information and our Pitching Lab Coach Robbie Aviles is fully versed in this world of pitching data. Being a pitcher with the Cleveland Indians, perhaps one of the most advanced teams pursuing data / science-based training, has its benefits. It’s going to take our pitching instruction to a whole new level. Please click here for additional information.
Assessment Software Program – As many of you know, we have developed our own internal evaluation software program for performing assessments. We continually augment and improve this software program. The program has the ability to track nearly 100 different mobility/strength metrics, and use this info to simultaneously prepare three different reports that we use to design the athletes’ individualized programs:
- A strength/power report utilized for programming by our coaches,
- A mobility protocol for in-house training by the athletes, and
- A mobility protocol that athletes can implement on their own away from the gym.
Pitching Analysis Software Program – On the other hand most of you may not know, but we have also developed our own internal evaluation software program for pitching video analysis as well. Although our customers don’t see this piece of software, it provides a thorough bio-mechanical report to help target specific pitching disconnects. This information is invaluable in preparing our pitching correctives and training programs. It tracks 26 different pitching disconnects, and it uses the information to generate two different reports:
- A bio-mechanics report used for programming strength/mobility issues we observe during the delivery, and
- A video review and analysis report for pitching correctives.
We would not be able to provide the quality or the volume of training on an individualized basis without these programs. They are invaluable tools in our arsenal for training our athletes. Every athlete is different and their programs should reflect that.
Summer Velo Program – Last summer we initiated our Summer Velo Program which is only available to the older, more physically mature and advanced pitchers. It is a comprehensive 10-12 week program to help improve pitcher’s velocity, and it incorporates weighted balls and extensive strength training. Please click here for additional details.
Exit Velo Program – This past fall, in conjunction with Coach Mike Rozema, we began our Exit Velo Program. The program’s sole purpose is to increase exit speed for players. It incorporates weighted bats and strength training. It is a comprehensive 10-12 week program to help improve exit velocity. Please click here for additional details.
Pitching Lab Improvements – We have implemented several changes in how the Pitching Lab operates, including complete video analysis on every pitcher before the start of the throwing phase. Each pitcher now has specific pitching correctives assigned to them for the issues confronting them and the activities inside the nets are now 100% coordinated with what we do outside the nets. In addition, all pitching sessions are now completely 100% mapped out. We know what we want to get out of every single session.
RPP Pitching Seminar – We started our first annual Pitching Seminar this past year in January. It’s a FREE resource to parents and coaches which brings together great minds in the industry to provide a one-day seminar on education and training for pitchers. Please click here for additional details.
Expanded Internship Program – We have significantly expanded our Internship Program. We now have relations with nearly 10 schools with Exercise Science programs. Our Coach Interns spend a full semester with us, during which they receive school credit and get a hands-on training experience with athletes and adults. Please click here for additional details.
Expanded Monthly Program Design – We significantly expanded the availability of Monthly Program Design to our athletes. Athletes can train 3, 4, or 5 times per week independently (with supervision). It is 100% customized for the individual athlete and represents the most advanced training program we can offer. There are currently nearly 100 athletes in this program. It is how we help athletes become beasts in their respective sports.
Introduced Floor Coaches – Hand-in-hand with the expansion of our monthly program design, beginning this fall, we instituted a new coaching position we call the “Floor Coach”. As our monthly program design has expanded, we saw the need for permanent coaches on the floor to not only provide on-going assistance but also provide on-going supervision to our athletes.
Investment in Equipment
We continually invest in our strength training equipment. This can range from replacement to additional equipment based on what we perceive we need to deliver world class training. Here is a partial list:
- Safety Squat Bars
- Slide boards
- Weighted vests
- Forearm rollers
- ShoulderSphere machines
- T-Row machines
- King of the Hill
- Weighted balls
- Weighted bats
- Over 4,000 lbs. Olympic plates
As our business has grown, we have also added to our coaching staff this year. Dante Tobler and Alex Cutrone joined us this fall as strength coaches, both highly qualified coaches that worked with as Coach Interns before joining us this winter. At this time, on any given day, we may have up to 10 strength coaches working with our athletes.
On the pitching side, Robbie Aviles (pitcher with Cleveland Indians) joined us at the Pitching Lab. Having spent years as a professional ball player puts Robbie at the forefront of pitching knowledge. Please click here for an extended interview with Robbie prior to his joining us.
Continuing Education – We take great pride in continually educating ourselves and our coaches and pursue cutting edge training methods. Whether its seminars offered by others or on-going daily education through webinars provided by those respected in the field, we strive to be at the forefront of training in every way.
In-Service Education – We continually educate our coaches with the latest in training methods and/or knowledge. In-service sessions are conducted on a weekly basis to our coaches where we review the latest in training methods and new protocols.
Blogging – Hand-in-hand with educating ourselves, we take great pride in sharing this knowledge with our customers and the community at large. During 2017 alone, we published nearly 90 articles on various topics which we distribute regularly to our email lists and various social media outlets (free of charge by the way!!). Topics included strength training, hitting, pitching, recruiting, player development among others. Please click here for access to our blogs.
Upcoming in 2018
As we look forward to this coming year, we are very excited about what’s ahead. First and foremost, we will continue to expand and improve on all of the above. Our programs are extremely successful and their results speak for themselves. We can’t wait to see how they continue to further develop this coming year. Here is a summary of a few other upcoming developments:
New Summer Programs
Beginning this June, we will offer the Exit Velo Program that we offered this fall during the summer months. With the showcase season in full swing, there is no better time than June through August to develop exit speed and show case it to scouts.
This summer, we will also begin to offer Summer Pitching Camps, 2 day comprehensive weekend events that will help pitchers address mechanical disconnects and help improve performance through an intensive program.
With the Pitching Lab having sold out this winter, we will be adding an additional pitching lane in Sloatsburg by expanding the dirt mound area and pitching nets. This will allow us to increase capacity next year by 50% and offer a broader range of appealing hours to our customers.
Last but not least, we will be looking to expand our business by opening a 2nd facility. Although the location is in flux, it will be located south of our current location, most likely in Bergen county.
All-in-all, we are very happy to report that we have had yet another record year at RPP and we owe a deep gratitude to all of you for helping us further develop our business.
Wishing everyone a happy Holiday Season and looking forward to a successful 2018 together.
All the Best,
Nunzio Signore and Bahram Shirazi
Rockland Peak Performance