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How To Loosen Tight Hips, Importance Of Playing Multiple Sports From Steph Curry, Jalen Hurt Advice On Overcoming Adversity, & More! (Non-HPL Links)

Georgia’s Jansen Kenty hits game tying dinger in LLWS this year. His hitting coach teaches Catapult Loading System principles.

2018 was fantastic, and these were the HOTTEST topics on our social media throughout the year, according to you – the Hitting Performance Lab tribe.  Thank you ALL for the vote by: click, share, like, and comment – you guys rock!  My personal favorites were numbers: 3 (for selfish reasons of course 😉, 6, & 7… have a Happy and Safe 2019, and ENJOY the following 2018 lesson learned links…

 

#11 – Joe Maddon On The Importance Of Playing Multiple Sports

#10 – A Message To Parents: Why It Bothers Me That You Coach From The Stands

#9 – Too Many Kids Leave Sports Because Of The Car Ride Home

#8 – Parents Need To Stop Trophy-Chasing And Let Their Kids Learn

#7 – 8 Exercises for Tight Hips

#6 – Japan leaves touching thank you note and a spotless locker room after World Cup loss

#5 -Youth sports referees across the US are quitting because of abusive parents

#4 – #MannyMachado dirty or clean? “Sports do not build character. They reveal it.” – Heywood Broun 

#3 – Georgia Little League dad goes crazy for son’s game-tying HR – ESPN Video

#2 – Alabama’s Jalen Hurts Quietly Shows Young Athletes How to Handle Adversity

#1 – Steph Curry: Play Multiple Sports To Get Outside Your Comfort Zone

If You Don’t Pre-Hab or Rehab Your Ankles Now, You’ll Hate Yourself Later

 

Ankle Mobility: Freo or Slant Board
I sought out to do a 4-week case study – on myself – to see what the Freo Board could do for the chronic tightness on the inside of my right knee.

This was caused by playing 17 years of an unbalanced one-sided sport, baseball…along with a bad ankle sprain my Freshman year in college, and jamming my right leg into the hip climbing a wall going back on fly ball during a game against Fullerton my Sophomore year.

Also dumb knuckle-headed-ness like running a marathon in 2008, and doing high repetition Cross-fit WOD’s post marathon were straws that FINALLY broke the camel’s back (or in my case my knee).

I had been using a Foam RollTrigger Point, and stretching strategies in the past, and would feel better that day, but the tightness would return the next day.

And I’m happy to report that after one week of using the Freo Board, I haven’t had to Foam Roll or Trigger Point my TFL or IT Bands, or stretch out my hamstrings and calves in the last 3 weeks!

Some benefits I’ve felt:

  • Little to no tension on the inside of my right knee,
  • Better stability when changing direction,
  • More hamstring flexibility when bending over and picking things up,
  • Less calf tightness, and
  • Lighter on my feet.

Overall benefits of using a Freo or Slant Board…

  • Build better ankle mobility,
  • Secure better knee stability,
  • Make hip mobility better,
  • Overall better balance,
  • Great pre-rehabilitation for ankle, knee, and hip, and
  • Superb ankle, knee, or hip rehabilitation post injury.

Benefits for hitters…

  • Better dynamic balance on off-speed and breaking balls,
  • Will move better, therefore will perform better,
  • Boost in running speed and agility, and
  • More effective in dealing with and transferring Gravitational Forces.

Training Protocol

  • At least 4-5 days per week,
  • 5-10 minutes per day,
  • Do the “cross” foot positions on Days-1-3-5, and
  • Do the “X” foot positions on Days-2-4
  • Progressions: move the non-balancing leg in front, to the side, and behind the athlete

Resources mentioned in the above video

  • Yoga Mat,
  • Slant Board,
  • Freo Board (what I’m using in the video), and
  • GymBoss – Interval timer which I suggest setting at 20-secs work time, and 5-secs foot position switch time.

Look, whether you’re trying to reduce your risk for injury, currently rehabbing a recent injury, or the injury was a decade ago, the Freo Board will help…A LOT.

Please keep me updated on the progress of your hitters by using the Freo or Slant Board by sharing your thoughts in the comments section below…

The Imbalance Risks Hiding In Your Swing

8 Exercises To Help Fix Hitting Imbalances In 16-Weeks

Chicks dig the Fiddler Crab’s GIANT lopsided (and colorful) hook. Photo courtesy: AnimalsTown.com

In this post, I want to answer the following reader suggestion for future content on the HPL  blog:

“Exercises for imbalances created by hitting.”

I include the following corrective exercise strategy in The Truth About Explosive Rotational Power online video DIY hitting course.

And part of The Feedback Lab online video lesson program is prescribing a formulation of these exercises depending on what I see that’s possibly limiting range of motion for my local and online hitters.

A little background on my 10+ years in the corrective fitness industry:

  • Certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM),
  • Certified with Corrective Exercise Specialist (CES) through NASM,
  • Certified through the Functional Movement Screen (FMS),
  • Yoga certified through YogaFit, and
  • Youth Fitness Specialist (YFS) certified through the International Youth Conditioning Association (IYCA).

 

In Baseball & Softball, Imbalance is Not Only Tolerated, but Promoted

I was a right handed hitter and thrower for all 17-years of my playing career ending at Fresno State.

You don’t go to the gym and pick up a 30-pound dumbbell, do 100 bicep curls with your right arm, and then go home…do you?

People would think you’re nuts!

But think about what we have our players doing on the diamond…

How many swings and throws does a baseball or softball athlete take everyday, or at least every practice, without doing the same amount of repetitions on the opposite side to balance out?

It just doesn’t happen this way, right?! At least if we’re like most hitters that don’t switch hit.

My best friend and teammate, who was a switch hitter in college, would argue hearing me say this, but…

The ONLY advantage a switch hitter has over a dominant side hitter and thrower, like me, is a more balanced body.

The advantage IS NOT seeing a breaking ball “come into” the hitter.

Ted Williams and Babe Ruth did just fine batting left handed their whole career.  And I think Miguel Cabrera, Mike Trout, and Jose Bautista will do just the same batting right handed for the rest of their careers.

However, when it comes to body balance, all these hitters NEED to be doing something else to counter-balance the imbalance inherent in baseball and softball.

 

The Hitting ‘Governor’

What happens is what I call the Hitter’s ‘Governor Affect’.  Bus engines have what’s called a Centrifugal Governor in the engine to keep the bus from going too fast.

Here’s an example of how this works…

One of my other good friends who played baseball at Pepperdine, demonstrated this with his 2001 Chevy Silverado…

In the summer, we were in his truck driving to Calabasas for a party at his apartment with his roommates, when he said, “Watch this…”, and proceeded to put his pedal to the metal

I saw his odometer climb until it approached 90-mph on HWY-101, when the engine automatically down shifted, and I saw the odometer drop 20-mph in the matter of a few short seconds.  CRAZY!  At the time, I never knew anything like that existed.

Our brain does the same thing to our bodies when there’s a hip mobility, shoulder, or ankle mobility issue.  Sometimes there are more than one issue that needs to be addressed, in order to raise the limit of the brain/body’s own Centrifugal Governor.

 

How-to Fix an Imbalanced Athlete?

I’ve mentioned in a past post, the SIX most balancing disciplines to participate in are:

  1. Martial Arts,
  2. Gymnastics,
  3. Olympic Lifting,
  4. Yoga,
  5. Dance, and
  6. Swimming…

What if your hitters haven’t participated in any of these athletic endeavors for at least 3-5 years?

I’m presenting a 16-week corrective exercise program helping to make dysfunctional movement functional, in baseball and softball athletes, enabling them to move better, and as a result, will perform better.

This is NO joke!

Ask any bone Doc why they’re getting an increase in injured baseball and softball players over the past decade, and I bet you they’ll say overuse and imbalances.  Studies and research are showing that present day athletes spend 85% of their day sitting!!

AND, the sport of baseball and softball isn’t known to be the most active of sports.  Awhile back, I read another study that accumulated all the ‘active’ movement time in a 6-inning game, and I remember it concluding a total of about 4-minutes…

That was shocking to me!  I didn’t realize how ‘lazy’ my favorite sport was.

But that’s our reality, so we have to take care of our athletes…

Here’s the 16-week program to getting young athletes to move better, so they perform better (in order of highest to lowest priority)…

 

Weeks 1-4: Hip & Shoulder Mobility

Passive Leg Lower
  • Do once daily,
  • Weeks 1-2: 2 sets X 12 reps each leg, AND
  • Weeks 3-4: 2 sets X 15 reps each leg…

 

8-Way Shoulder Circles
  • Do 2-3 times daily
  • Three circles clockwise and counterclockwise at each shoulder position
  • Keep reps slow and controlled…

 

Weeks 5-8: Rotary Stability (Braking Systems) & Core Stability

Bird Dogs
  • Do once daily,
  • Add band resistance if necessary,
  • Weeks 1-2: 2 sets X 12 reps each leg, AND
  • Weeks 3-4: 2 sets X 15 reps each leg…

 

Super Plank
  • Do once daily,
  • Weeks 1: 1 set X 30-45 second hold,
  • Weeks 2: 1 set X 45-60 second hold
  • Weeks 3: 2 sets X 30-45 second hold
  • Weeks 4: 2 sets X 45-60 second hold, and
  • CLICK HERE for the Plank-Up progression if needed…

 

Weeks 9-12: Ankle Mobility & Glute Activation

Ankle Circles
  • Do 2-3 times daily
  • Three circles clockwise and counterclockwise at each ankle position
  • Keep reps slow and controlled and reach into those ‘corners’…

 

Single Leg Floor Bridge
  • Do once daily,
  • Add band resistance if necessary,
  • Weeks 1-2: 2 sets X 12 reps each leg, AND
  • Weeks 3-4: 2 sets X 15 reps each leg…

 

Weeks 13-16: Hurdle Step & Squatting Patterns

Super Mountain Climbers
  • Do once daily,
  • Incline to regress OR decline to progress intensity,
  • Weeks 1: 1 set X 30-45 seconds,
  • Weeks 2: 1 set X 45-60 seconds,
  • Weeks 3: 2 sets X 30-45 seconds, and
  • Weeks 4: 2 sets X 45-60 seconds…

 

Squat Pattern Progression
  • Do once daily,
  • Weeks 1-2: 2 sets X 12 reps, AND
  • Weeks 3-4: 2 sets X 15 reps…