Thursday, May 28, 2015

Importance of Developing Proper Movement Patterns at a Young Age

Let’s face it, making movement pattern changes can be difficult and very frustrating especially if proper movement patters weren’t developed at a young age.  Think about the first time you started throwing a baseball, whether you were 5 years old or 12 years old, you probably watched someone else do it and tried to copy what they were doing.  As you continued to throw over the years you started developing habit patterns as far as the way your body moved.

It’s just like learning how to run, everybody develops their own style and it becomes unique to you as an individual.Now someone who learns how to run but doesn’t have good posture or form is going to eventually start having aches and pains.  In order to get rid of those aches and pains in their joints they will either have to stop running all together or change the way they run.

Same with throwing a baseball, except throwing a baseball is a much more complex movement and therefor more difficult to change depending on how old you are.  Anytime you are having aches and pains it’s a signal from your body that something isn’t right.  Or if you aren’t having any pain but you feel like your velocity is much less than what it should be, you most likely aren’t moving efficiently and don’t fully understand how to use your body.

This is why it’s so important for kids to be active at a young age.  I love when kids are playing multiple sports rather than just one because it allows the body learn different types of movements.

When I was a kid, after I got home from school I was straight out the door and on my skateboard riding around the neighborhood with friends.  This is completely belief based and maybe kind of funny but I really think riding a skateboard gave me better hip strength and flexibility later in my life.  I would use both legs to push off from when the other started to get tired.The neuromuscular system is developing in young kids so it’s a crucial time for them to activate certain movements athletically.

For example, let’s say there’s two 21 year olds.  One is gifted athletically but for whatever reason has never thrown a baseball in his life.  He might be a running back or a point guard and is on a higher level than his peers.  The other one has ability but not nearly as gifted as the other 21 year old and from the time when he was 12 to 16 years old played baseball and pitched for a little while.

Take both of these kids at their current age of 21 and have them throw a baseball, the kid that played for those four years is going to be able to throw much more effectively than the athletically gifted kid because his neuromuscular system is going to remember that even though he hasn’t thrown a baseball in five years.  The athletically gifted kid doesn’t have that pattern stored in his body and it is completely foreign to him.  Obviously there are exceptions but for the most part this would be the case.  Think about when you watch a basketball player or a boxer throw out the first pitch at a major league game.  A lot of the time it is comical because they’ve simply never done it before but the fact that their throwing out the first pitch implies that they excel at their sport.

In baseball and more specifically pitching, it is extremely important to focus on skill development from a young age.  The life span of an athlete is much shorter than other professions and if you wait too long…well then it can be too late.  Kids these days are spending too much time playing games and not nearly enough time on skill development.  In my opinion baseball is way behind in this aspect.  You don’t get better playing games you get better practicing and developing your skills.  Baseball is a skill sport and that’s what makes it great, you don’t have to be the biggest fastest most athletic kid to have success.  And when you are competing against athletes that are more naturally gifted you can separate yourself by having exceptional skills.

I was watching an interview with Freddie Roach who is Manny Paquiou’s trainer.  If you don’t know who Manny Paquiou is then you either live in a cave or are disconnected from society.  If you’re reading this article then most likely that’s not the case but he is a boxer.  Anyway, Freddie was asked at what point he knew Paquiou was going to be a star.  His answer was it happened in one fight.  All of the sudden Paquiou was starting to put punching combinations together like it was second nature, he just started reacting without thinking and all of the hours upon hours in the gym started to show itself.  Everything they had worked on for years in the gym out of nowhere just clicked and it has changed the boxing world forever.  I am writing this article before the Maywether fight but win or lose he will go down in history as one of the best boxers to walk the face of the earth.

My hope in writing this is to raise the question in your mind about how you are going about  yours or your son’s development as a baseball player.  Just like a doctor or a lawyer needs to develop skills in their profession so doesn’t a baseball player need to develop the necessary skills at a young age in order to compete at a high level later on.  Sometimes you have to think outside the box and do what everybody else isn’t instead of following along with the crowd.  Less games more practice.

To your success,

Ryan Mills

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Friday, May 22, 2015

Between Innings - Why Kids Should Become Catchers

Catcher is one of the most respected positions in baseball. Russell Martin talks about why kids should get in the trenches to become a catcher.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Between Innings - Hitting With Runners On

Drive home runners when they're on base. There's nobody better to listen to than Matt Kemp.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

"King Felix" Herandez Pitching Mechanics Breakdown

I break down Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners pitching mechanics vs. the Angels. Hernandez is the best in the MLB at messing with hitters minds. What do you think... Does King Felix have perfect pitching mechanics or is there flaws that could be fixed?

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Monday, May 4, 2015

Between Innings - Teaching Speed

Speed kills, and baseball players are always trying to improve it. Jacoby Ellsbury has the low-down on how to accomplish that.

Friday, May 1, 2015