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Oates Specialties

  1. Off-Season Arm Care

    Last week I wrote about the routine I followed during the season to help keep my arm healthy and feeling fresh. However, there is more to arm care than in-season work aimed to help a player recover between games and stay off the disabled list. As many players and coaches finish up their seasons I wanted to address some off-season exercises that specifically focus on strengthening the arm and shoulder. Continue reading →
  2. Arm Care and Staying Healthy

    As the end of May approaches baseball teams at all levels are reaching the critical point in their seasons. High schools are in the playoffs, colleges are having their conference tournaments and everybody is eyeing their respective championships. This is an extremely important time for pitchers to be at their peak playing conditions and is certainly a bad time for them to head to the DL with arm injuries. However, it is often at this point in time that many pitchers do end up injured, as the number of games and innings pitched mount, and the stress that accompanies the importance of each individual game increases. Even the pitchers on those teams unfortunate enough to be through with their season are often heading to summer ball to log more innings. Because arm health is probably the most important thing to a pitcher (and often a team) I want to discuss a couple of things I did while playing at the collegiate and professional levels to help keep myself healthy and able to answer the bell when it was my turn. Continue reading →
  3. Tim Epling: Upper Deck Training and the WV Miners

    Beckley, West Virginia is a rather small town nestled in the heart of southern WV in an area known for its coal mines, it's in the same county as that tragic mining accident a few months ago, and its appeal to outdoorsmen as you can finding snow skiing, fishing, and white water rafting at your fingertips. However, baseball players and fans in the area are the truly lucky ones in this beautiful community. Continue reading →
  4. A Different Kind of Athlete

    My father and I returned from a two week trip to Taiwan and China this past Sunday after attending the TaiSpo and Canton Fair sports manufacturer conventions. We had a number of memorable experiences during our trip to Asia including climbing the Great Wall of China, but one thing that has stood out in my mind since Acrobatics picwe returned home was our night watching a flying acrobatic show in Beijing. During the hour and a half show, we witnessed 9 girls riding one bike, male acrobats jumping and flipping through different sized rings at different heights, a number of juggling acts, and acrobats holding one another in gravity defying positions. Continue reading →
  5. Minor League Game and Interview

    Last Tuesday I had the opportunity to travel to Winston-Salem, North Carolina to visit with a former college teammate of mine and watch him pitch a couple of innings. I played ball with Evan Bronson at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas for three years before he was drafted in the 29th round of the 2009 draft by Evan Bronson Picthe Washington Nationals. After being drafted, Evan was sent to play for the Vermont Lake Monsters of the New York Penn League. Evan had a phenomenal season coming out of the bullpen for the Lake Monsters as he went 3-0 with a 0.55 E.R.A. in 49.1 innings making the NY Penn League All-Star team. Continue reading →
  6. Dynamic and Static Stretching

    Now that we have discussed flexibility and its importance to athletes we can focus on the ways to increase it. But before I delve into the different types of stretching it is critical to note the importance of warming up the body first. Before an athlete can properly stretch his muscles they must first be warm. Generally a good warm up will increase an athlete's body temperature at least 1 degree while simultaneously raising the heart rate. This will lather up an athlete's body as the blood begins to circulate throughout the muscles and serves as a notice that work is about to begin. The worst thing an athlete can do is stretch cold muscles. Not only is it a huge waste of time, as you will not increase flexibility, but it can actually increase your risk of injury. A cold muscle is not as elastic as a warm one and asking it to elongate as you stretch can result in a muscle strain or tear. Continue reading →
  7. Flexibility in Athletes

    Flexibility is fundamentally important to many athletic movements as your body's muscles and joints play a critical part in your athletic ability, performance, and durability. With that being said, athletes often cringe when they hear a coach or trainer mention the word flexibility. I know I used to. Immediately thoughts of tedious and painful hamstring, hip, and groin stretches come to mind. However, as an athlete there are many sacrifices you must make and exercises you must do that you aren't enthusiastic about. Working on your flexibility should be a task of the highest importance to all serious athletes. Continue reading →
  8. Visiting the K-Zone Academy

    This past week I had the privilege of traveling to Apex, North Carolina, a suburb of Raleigh, to visit Dan Kopitzke and the K-Zone Academy. I enjoy watching and learning how different coaches, academies, and programs train their athletes. This experience was no different as I thoroughly enjoyed my visit with Dan and observing his athletes as they went through a workout. Continue reading →
  9. Little League Syndrome

    Injuries have become a prevalent part of the game of baseball in today's day and age as is evident by the increasing number of Major Leaguers who spend time on the disabled list during the course of a season. This trend is alarming enough for the grown men on big league rosters but what is even more distressing is the growing number of injuries to adolescent baseball players. Continue reading →
  10. Music and Working Out

    Has your favorite song ever been blasting from the speakers as you're on the mound warming up and you feel electric, as though the ball is jumping out of your hand into the catcher's mitt? You are all linked up and then the song is turned off and the batter steps in and you lose that feeling as your first pitch barely floats over the plate. Or how about a time when you felt completely gassed, you thought you had no more energy to get through your workout and then a great song starts bumping through your headphones and you catch a second wind? Continue reading →

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