General Topics

Free flowing information about sports training, exercise equipment, and general topics of interest.

  1. The Strikeout: Important or Overrated?

    For pitchers, the strikeout can be a type of double edged sword. If a pitcher focuses too much on striking out a hitter, it can lead to increased walks, higher pitch counts, and consequently higher ERAs. Additionally, it tends to slow down the game by keeping the ball from being put into play as frequently and can cause much irritation with the rest of the team and especially coaches. But at the same time it is an important measure of the type of “stuff” a pitcher possesses. And let’s face it; scouts are always looking for indications on how good a pitcher’s pitches are. Continue reading →
  2. Why Crossfit is Not a Good Fit for Baseball Players

    I am not the first person to write an article on this topic and I probably won’t be the last, but I have recently heard of several baseball programs and players who are using Crossfit workouts as a conditioning program and I thought I would share my thoughts on this topic. First of all let me make clear that I am in no way saying that Crossfit is a poor workout methodology. In fact, I have been a member at two Crossfit gyms in the last 3 years and have performed a substantial number of workouts that Crossfit has to offer. And yes, most of them thoroughly kicked my butt and left me gasping for air by the end. But I am also a member of the general public these days. I am no longer a baseball player or pitcher who is trying to improve my specific skill set to help enhance my performance on a baseball diamond. These days I am just trying to stay in shape and find a way to be competitive while working out, which Crossfit is great at. Continue reading →
  3. Increasing Your Vertical Jump

    I know this may seem like an interesting title to one of my blogs as I normally write about conditioning regimens, workout equipment, or how to improve an athlete’s baseball specific skill set. However, my father and I have realized in the past few years that although a lot of the products Oates Specialties carries is designed with a baseball, softball, or throwing athlete in mind, the equipment has one universal characteristic: athleticism. What I mean by that is most of our conditioning tools encourage, require, or even demand that an athlete be as explosive and athletic as he or she can. This realization led us to begin promoting our equipment not just as baseball specific, but as tools that transcend individual sports to the broader theme of developing well conditioned and explosive athletes. Continue reading →
  4. D-Bat Tulsa: Training Regimen

    Baseball players in Tulsa, Oklahoma are a lucky group of athletes. Last week I spoke with Scott Glanz, a former professional baseball player who recently opened up a training facility in Tulsa. Just yesterday I had an interesting conversation with another group of coaches from Tulsa at the D-Bat facility in the Broken Arrow community. I began the conversation speaking with Richard Irvin and Danny Bean about their use of the Speed Chains when training baseball athletes who come to their facility. Danny immediately expressed his belief that the Speed Chains are phenomenal training tools but referred me to the D-Bat Tulsa’s strength and conditioning coach to learn more about the specific integration of the Speed Chains. Continue reading →
  5. Trevor Bauer and Pitch Trajectory Drills

    In this blog I want to discuss a few exercises and devices that can help improve the trajectory of pitches in a pitcher’s arsenal. For those of you who read my last blog or are familiar with the importance of pitch trajectory you already know that pitchers who can throw all of their pitches on the same plane as one another will more easily deceive the hitter and generally experience more success than pitchers who can not. This is because the flight path of the ball is the first thing a hitter processes and if a pitcher throws his breaking ball on a higher plane, meaning the ball pops out of the hand and has a larger arch on its way to the catcher’s mitt, then a hitter will quickly realize an off-speed pitch is on the way, giving him a better opportunity to be on time at contact. Continue reading →
  6. Pitch Trajectory

    Pitch trajectory is an extremely important but generally overlooked aspect of pitching. Most pitchers and pitching coaches spend their time focused on mechanics, velocity, or command and don’t think about the significance of how their pitches appear to hitters they face. For those of you wondering what I mean by pitch trajectory I’m talking about the path that a ball takes from the pitcher’s hand at release point to the catcher’s mitt. Continue reading →
  7. Exercises to Improve Neuromuscular Pathways

    In my last blog I discussed an athlete’s ability to train his neuromuscular pathways in order to improve athleticism. If an athlete specifically focuses on exercises that require quick, explosive movements, he can create more efficient paths between the brain and the muscle, resulting in greater athleticism. Today I want to share a few pieces of equipment that can help an athlete train to move his (or her) body more quickly and become a better athlete (improving those pathways). Continue reading →
  8. Neuromuscular Pathways: Why they're important to Athletes

    As soon as you begin research involving sports training or innovative new training regimens it is common to read about what the training does for your neuromuscular pathways. I had a basic idea as to what this means but I knew that I was uninformed of the science behind it and I figured others might be as well. So I decided to devote an article to this important topic. Continue reading →
  9. Hitting Weighted Balls

    Last week I wrote about our newest weighted balls, the TAP Extreme Duty, and how many coaches are using them in hitting drills in addition to their pitchers’ throwing programs. I recently had the pleasure to speak with Mike Ryan, owner of Fastball USA training center located outside of Chicago, Illinois, about using the TAP Extreme Duty weighted balls with his hitters. Coach Ryan has been using the weighted balls for the last three months and was able to give me some great feedback. Continue reading →
  10. Throwing a Curveball

    A topic I often hear discussed among baseball players and coaches is the breaking ball. This is not surprising as every pitcher wants to have the best breaking ball possible. Whether it is a slider, curveball, or somewhere in between, a good off-speed is crucial as a pitcher begins to face more talented hitters. I have heard of many different methods used to teach how to throw a good breaking ball. Some of these techniques are pretty good while others are pretty bad. The bad ones, in my opinion, usually try and over coach the pitch. They want to tell the pitcher every aspect of the pitch from how to hold it, to the hand position, to the feeling at the release point, and sometimes even what their thought process should be while throwing it. I want to address these general areas of the pitch and what I think would be a far more beneficial way to coach a player working on his breaking ball. Continue reading →

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