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Tag Archives: training

  • Practice vs Training By: Coach Flint Wallace

    Practice and Training are terms that are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same.

    Every baseball team and player practices, but not all of them train.

    Let me explain what I mean…

    Practice is what we universally call anything that involves throwing, hitting, throwing a bullpen, taking ground balls and fly balls, etc.

    Practice is defined as, “Repeated exercise in or performance of an activity or skill so as to acquire or maintain proficiency in it”.

    Most practices are just designed to engrain or imprint a player’s current level of skill, so they can just perform that skill more routinely.

    The issue is that this is often the only development a player receives.  There is little or no portion of their time dedicated to training.

    Training is defined as, “The act, process, or method of one that seeks to improve skill, knowledge, or experience in a certain area”.

    Training would be things like working to increase bat speed, throwing velocity, running speed, fielding range, etc.

    Practice is applying what you learned.  Training is learning how to improve something or do something new.

    Practice is about getting enough reps in so you can perform your skill instinctively.  Training is about being able to perform that skill better than you could before.

    Practice is about successfully performing a skill over and over.  Training is about pushing until you fail.

    Practice is often about looking good.  Training often looks ugly.

    Practice is often about being efficient.  Training is about improvement.

    Practice is often the same old routine.  Training is about change and adaptation.

    Understand that top-level players train, they don’t practice.

    So please don’t mistake practice for training, but make sure every rep of every drill or exercise is working towards improving.

    Until Next Time… Keep Getting After It!

     

    At The Texas Baseball Ranch®, we can help you determine the specific areas you need to focus on in you’re training.

    We have three dates remaining in our 2018 Summer Elite Pitchers’ Boot Camp schedule.

    Learn more about these exciting, information packed 3-Day events at
    http://www.texasbaseballranch.com/events/elite-pitchers-boot-camps/

    OR

    If you’d like to spend more time with us this summer, check out our Extended Stay Summer Intensive Program.
    http://www.texasbaseballranch.com/events/tbr-summer-program/

  • If Babies Could Talk First, They Might Not Learn To Walk! - by Randy Sullivan, MPT, CSCS

    Until I met Frans Bosch at the 2014 Texas Baseball Ranch Ultimate Pitching Coaches Boot Camp, my coaching style was unremarkable and, in retrospect … suboptimal.  It was what I call TWT coaching.

    Tell the player how to do something.
    Watch them do it.
    Then, tell them how to do it better.
    And, when they don’t get it right, label them “uncoachable” and move on.

    It’s typical …

    and it’s highly ineffective.

    According to Bosch, one of the world’s most preeminent experts in skill acquisition and motor learning science, “The body shows remarkably little interest in what the coach has to say.”

    That’s because when learning and refining movement skills, a couple of truths exist.
    First, you cannot repeat a movement. Every repetition will result in a subtle deviation from the previous trial. “Repeatable mechanics” are a unicorn! Instead of being a guy who “repeats” his mechanics, you should strive to be a world class, in-flight adjuster to the deviations you make. And those adjustments have to occur subconsciously — without thought. You see, when we measure the amount of time it takes for a neurologic impulse to travel from the brain to the muscles and back up to the brain again, it becomes clear that there isn’t enough time for any adjustment in the pattern to occur by way of conscious thought.

    Our players are required to perform skills that don’t allow time for thinking. Therefore, we can no longer continue to coach them with methods that demand conscious thought all the time.
    “On your next pitch, I want you to focus on …”
    “Ok, on this one, you need to think about …”
    “When you get right here in the motion, you need to concentrate on …”

    Listen to us!! Can we please stop? There’s no time for thinking, or focusing, or concentrating!!

    Trying to enter a motor learning domain via a cognitive input is a futile endeavor. If words, verbal cues, and cognitive thoughts are the primary means of coaching, they can interfere with learning and erode performance.

    When you were a baby, and you learned to walk, we couldn’t use verbal cues to teach (thank goodness). Instead, we used one of the six different motor learning techniques we use at The Florida Baseball Ranch® to elicit the necessary movement pattern. we created a safe environment and gave you a goal — “Come to mommy (or daddy)”. Then we let your infinitely intelligent body self-organize until you accomplished that goal.

    Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?
    If babies could talk before they could walk, they might not ever learn to walk! As parents and coaches, we’d probably screw them up with verbal cues.

    We get banged on a lot about self-organization. Critics call it “FIO (figure-it-out) coaching” and when they do, it shows a gross misunderstanding of skill acquisition and motor learning science. Self-organization is far more complex than traditional explicit, verbal cue-laden coaching. It requires a lot more creativity and thought than “TWT coaching.”

    Here’s an infographic showing some the various ways we can influence a movement pattern without using verbal cues.
    Choosing and executing the right technique, on the right athlete, at the just the right time, and under just the right conditions — that is the art of master teaching.

    This is what I’ll be speaking on at The Florida Baseball Ranch®/Dutch Baseball Skill Acquisition Summit on Sep 8-9. I’ll be joined by several of the leading skill acquisition scientists and the most progressive thinking coaches, physical therapists and athletic trainers in the business. The scientists will lay out the theory and the coaches will show you exactly how you can implement it into your practices.

    It will be the first time ever that skill acquisition science will be applied specifically to baseball on such a grand scale.

    To Learn More or To Get Signed Up, Click Here.

    We can’t wait to see you at The Ranch®

    Randy Sullivan, MPT, CSCS
    CEO, The Florida Baseball Ranch®

  • What's the Goal Here? The First 5 Crucial Questions Surrounding Any Activity- By: Coach Ron Wolforth

    In 2003, Paul Nyman coined a definition that has become a centerpiece for us here at the Texas Baseball Ranch® for the past 14 years.

    Nyman refers to it as the Bernstein Principle: the body will organize itself based upon the ultimate goal of the activity.  It is derived from the works of the father of biomechanics, Nikolai Bernstein, a Soviet Neurophysiologist.

    14 years later it remains unassailable. Bernstein has actually become a verb of sorts at the Ranch. To Bernstein something at the Texas Baseball Ranch® implies we have a very clear goal, and we are acting in full accordance with that goal and not letting anything interfere with our efforts to achieve it. While the ultimate goal of this specific exercise certainly can and often will change or evolve, our commitment to our current stated goal at this moment must be unwavering. Distraction, diversion or interference must be kept to a minimum if we wish to grow and develop ahead of the rate of our competitive peer group.

    I find so many athletes and their parents confused, conflicted and/or bewildered regarding their personal development. They lack clarity and without clarity you are hard pressed to find conviction.  And without conviction... one cannot find consistent, exceptional performance at the higher levels of competition.

    But I personally believe the Bernstein Principle has merit way beyond the sports arena.

    On a regular basis, I believe one should have a built in personal dialogue loop that in almost every important endeavor undertaken... frequently asks 5 basic questions.

    #1. What's the specific goal here? (Perhaps even... what is the ULTIMATE goal here?)

    #2. Why is THIS goal so important to me?

    #3. What are the specific obstacles in my way to achieving THIS goal?

    #4. What are the dangers along this path to the achievement of THIS goal?

    #5. Who or what resources do I need assistance from to achieve THIS goal?

    For example:

    Debating whether to try to develop a slider instead of a curveball? Ask the 5 questions!

    Debating whether or not to take part in a velocity enhancement program? Ask the 5 questions!

    Deciding on the specific strength/stability or mobility/ flexibility program and process to use. Ask the 5 questions!

    Debating whether or not to transfer schools? Ask the 5 questions!

    Debating whether or not to ask a girl out on a date? Ask the 5 questions!

    Most athletes simply can't answer those questions clarity, self-actualization and self-awareness are too often lacking in their day to day world.

    So they get distracted. They drift off course. They get confused. They get angry. They get frustrated.  They get disheartened and disillusioned.

    As famous mountain climber Alison Levine shared in a TED talk regarding the lessons she learned from climbing Mount Everest:

    "Fear is absolutely' OK... it's normal.  It is complacency that will kill you."

    In my opinion, it is the same with skill development.

    Here's to you developing the habitual inner dialogue of a high performer. Practice utilizing the 5 questions as often as you can in your daily life. I promise you that your productivity will increase.

    Until next time,

    Stay Curious & Keep Fighting the Good Fight

    If you are a Ranch alumni we have a special holiday training session available- reply to this email to find out more.

    There are 2 opportunities remaining for players to join us this winter,  find the dates and more information at www.texasbaseballranch.com/elite-pitchers-bootcamp/ 

    We also have our annual Ultimate Pitching Coaches Bootcamp scheduled for Dec 8-10, you can register or purchase DVD's at PitchingCoachesBootcamp.com

  • 5 Major Changes and Upgrades at the Texas Baseball Ranch® by Ron Wolforth

    Based upon the works of Dr. Frans Bosch and Dr. K. Anders Ericsson, the Ranch training systems have significantly shifted toward the awareness of how the brain is being influenced and shaped during each training session and how our practice sessions are either developing/ optimizing or inhibiting with/ interfering with our athlete’s ability to adjust and adapt during competition. It has become painfully obvious to us that the traditional standard practice fare almost always represents a real limitation to an athlete’s ability to adjust.

    Therefore we utilize the concept of Differential Learning and Deliberate Practice in almost every single facet of our training. Our clients systematically enhance their ability to adjust, adapt and overcome…it’s baked into the training cake. It’s part of what they do every day…Practicing Adjustment.

    1). The Multi-colored Pad and Khaos balls are our newest training tools for a process we refer to as Khaos Training. By constantly changing the target and the size, weight and texture of EVERY Ball on EVERY Throw, 1) the brain is actively engaged and 2) The body learns to organize itself quickly and effectively over time.
    k-target-and-khaos-balls
    2). By staggering the distances of our Advanced Command Trainers and utilizing V Flex in our command series and charting our sessions, we have seen dramatic improvements in our athlete’s ability to adjust and engage the brain during otherwise mundane training sessions.

    command-trainer-v-flex

    3). We utilize many of the concepts of Jozef Frucek, Martin Bosy and Fighting Monkey™ and their paradigm of Earthquake Architecture.

    fighting-monkey

    4) We have expanded and improved our utilization of such tools as the Bell Club, Wrist Weights, Shoulder Tube™, Mini Bands and the Durathro™ Baseball Training Sock, *Take special notice the video screen in front of the athletes (red circle) playing slow motion and regular speed segments of elite, world class throwing athletes, focusing in on the specific movement segment the athletes are trying to reproduce*.

    throwingsockand-miniband

    5) We have modified our strength development and corrective exercises to focus on coordination, synergy, variability, malleability and strength specifically at end ranges of motion. Literally everything has at least a component of adaptability and adjustability to it.

    training-tools


    Note from Robert Oates:

    Would you like to learn more about how elite pitchers are developed and how Oates Specialties equipment is used to improve elite athletes? If yes, then I encourage you to attend the Texas Baseball Ranch Ultimate Pitching Coaches Boot Camp. For the past 13 years, this experience has been the annual highlight of my year.

    The always remarkable content offered at the event is from world class presenters, and the networking opportunity with people who live and breathe pitching always proves to be invaluable. From the program shown below, it is evident this year’s event will also be extraordinary.

    Coach Wolforth has given us the opportunity to offer you a $50.00 registration discount. Just enter the code OATES (be sure to use all capital letters) in the registration form found at www.CoachesBootCamp.com.

    This year’s Ultimate Pitching Coaches Boot Camp is slated for December 7 -10 (Friday through Sunday, with a bonus day on Thursday). Gunnar, Drayton and I will be there and hope to see you there as well!

    Robert


    The 2017 Ultimate Pitching Coaches Boot Camp

    For the first time ever the UPCBC will be held in the brand new 4700 square feet theatre and assessment center. (At the Ranch we refer to it as the BIG RED BARN). This allows us a temperature controlled theatre in an awesome facility for the lecture presentations AND immediate access to our two 3600 sq ft training barns for any break out and hands on sessions. In our opinion this property is the ultimate venue for an event of this nature.

    redbarn-at-tbr

    The Ultimate Pitching Coaches Boot Camp Agenda:

    Bonus Day: Thursday, December 7: You get insider access to all the latest methods we use with our MLB, college, and younger athletes at The Ranch.
    Boot Camp: Friday - Sunday, December 8-10: Three full days of expert sessions, Q&A, and camaraderie. Learn from your peers, make new friends, and form valuable new connections to further your career as a coach.

    Coach Wallace will talk about the efficient utilization of the Lower Half- both the back hip and glute as well as lead leg disconnections…and The Ranch process of Deliberate Practice in creating systematic gains in Command.
    Coach Kaday will discuss the Power Core 360 and how we enhance torque as well as increasing an athlete’s awareness of synergy, coordination and the summation of force.
    Coach Massey will talk about Recovery and how to dramatically improve it in your pitching athletes with some very simple steps.
    Coach Wolforth will discuss a myriad of topics- from simple ways to better engage the brain at practice for almost immediately higher levels of performance at game time; to the developing real leaders that actually make a difference inside your ball club and organization.

    And Our Guest Lecturers include:

    Jonathan Armold: Minor League Pitching Coach, Texas Rangers
    Brian Cain: World Renown Peak Performance Coach
    Jon Huizinga: Baseball Coach with a holistic training approach emphasizing fuel/nutrition.
    Jeff Krushell: Human Performance and Development Expert & Major League Baseball International Consultant
    Stephen Osterer: Doctor of Chiropractic at Totum Life Science
    Tim Nicely: President V-Flex Technology
    Martijn Nijhoff: Studied Under Frans Bosch; Talent Coach for Knbsb
    Gary Reinl: Author of "Iced - The Illusionary Treatment Option"
    Randy Sullivan: P.T and owner Florida Baseball Ranch®

    For More information or to Register: www.CoachesBootCamp.com

  • Are you evidence “based” or evidence “led” in your training? By: Gunnar Thompson, NASM-CPT, PES, CPPS

    Evidence and research can be a great thing. It is the basis for our never-ending quest for knowledge. But what if I told you relying on evidence and research could be harmful or even set you back in your training? I would venture to say most people would highly doubt such an opinion. After all, SCIENCE is ALWAYS RIGHT! I am not here to argue the validity of research, but I am here to ask if you need to be absolutely assured by scientific evidence that something is right before you place it into your training program? In my opinion, the answer to this question is no, not really. Let me explain.

    Continue reading

  • Stay - By Flint Wallace

    Over my career as an athlete, coach, and teacher, I have noticed that the most successful people are the ones who STAY.

    I don't mean they stay where they currently are in their growth…that is definitely one thing successful people do not do. Here is what I mean by ‘they are the ones who stay’.

    Continue reading

  • Start With The Pain - by Randy Sullivan

    In 2010, Coach Ron Wolforth coined that phrase, and it changed the way I practice physical therapy and forever altered the way I train throwing athletes.

    It just made sense.

    You see, in the Ranch System, pain is neither good nor bad.

    It is simply information  -- a beacon that lights the way toward dysfunction.

    Continue reading

  • Why Baseball Players Lie -by Randy Sullivan

    It's a fact...

    Baseball players -- especially pitchers – are conditioned to lie.

    Wow! I just said that out loud!

    But it’s true!

    All pitchers lie!

    This is not meant as a character assassination.

    Continue reading

  • Let’s Get Physical — Changing Pitching Mechanics is Serious Business - by Randy Sullivan

    Recently, I had a minor leaguer in for a Precision Strike, One Day, One-On-One Evaluation and Training Session. Since he’s currently in extended spring training with a pro team, he had to come in under the radar on a Sunday morning. So to maintain confidentiality, I’ll just call him “Lefty”.

    As I always do with minor leaguers, I asked Lefty what he thought were the biggest constraints keeping him out of the big leagues.
    Continue reading

  • How Chien-Ming Wang Got His Groove Back by Randy Sullivan

    Have you heard the talk of the town in MLB Cactus League?

    Seems there is a “rising phoenix” in Surprise, Arizona.

    And its got a lot of people confused

    The entire league is wondering how Chien-Ming Wang, a 35 year old, twice injured pitcher who was sitting at 86-88 mph in AAA last year is now bumping 96 mph and is showing better stuff than any time in his career.

    Continue reading

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