Till I Collapse -My Journey to D1 Baseball and Beyond


#661

Made a slight timing tweak that got me back to the arm action I had over the summer. Instantly saw a huge increase in velocity and looks like in long toss at least it’s approaching where I was this summer.

The change was significant enough that I did struggle to command all 3 of my pitches in my bullpen with the slightly different timing that I was reverting back to. I had almost no feel for my off speed right away, so this will likely take a few days at least to re-adjust to. Happy that I figured out why my velocity was down but still need to work to maintain the same command I had a few days ago. It will all click again and I will have both the command and the velocity. Everything is a process!

Doc to answer your question, I’m throwing a circle change which is a floater unless I pronate it really hard and try to extend out in front. Our lifting coach is cressey style with a little more emphasis on olympic lifts and less emphasis on upper body strength


#662

Fall baseball is almost over. I’ve been working hard to get my velocity and command back to where it was this summer. Reinforcing keeping the shoulders closed while staying loose with the lower half has helped me get back to that point, although I still have work to do.

Although my previous two outings I was not throwing very hard (maybe mid 80s), things clicked a little this past week and I was throwing hard again, though I didn’t have a gun on me. Probably back in the 88-89 range, maybe more than that.

I still have yet to give up an earned run this fall, I’ve given up one bloop hit where I jammed the kid, and I’ve walked one batter over 6 1/3 innings total. Not quite back to where I want to be, but this past outing was a promising step in the right direction

One thing for you young pitchers out there: you might get down on yourself after a bad outing, especially one where you don’t have your best stuff. It’s fine to allow those feelings in, even embrace them in the short term. Every pitcher, myself included, has times when a bad outing allows some negative feelings and self doubt to creep in. The key is waking up the next day with a clean slate, realizing that what you did yesterday has no effect on what you will accomplish today. Some of my best flat ground sessions have come the day after my most horrendous bullpen sessions, and some of my worst throwing sessions have come the day after my best outings. Dwelling on your performances, good or bad, isn’t a long term recipe for success. Dwelling on how you can absolutely dominate your next throwing session is. Living in the moment and learning how to focus all your mental energy on each pitch is.

Allow yourself to chew on that self-doubt and self-loathing. Allow yourself to taste its bitterness, but have the strength of character to spit it out, stand up tall and wake up the next day ready to rock and roll.


#663

Great advice lanky


#664

Mechanically, things have been coming along nicely since the end of fall ball. I’m working on a modified slide-step since it turns out I’m about a 1.7 to the plate with my full leg-lift. It feels pretty comfortable so far, so we’ll see how that plays out.

I’m not sure where the velocity is at, although it feels pretty good right now. Will get some numbers next week. I don’t expect my long toss pulldowns to be that good - something about my footwork is off and I’m not throwing near as hard as I was this summer, although my flat grounds still feel pretty decent.

Strength-wise, I’m progressing slowly but steadily.
Maxing this week:
Front Squat: 335
Sumo Deadlift: 425
I also hip thrusted around 550 pretty easily for reps, Dumbbell rowed 120s for 8 with minimal “cheating” and box jumped onto a box that was just below chest height.

I weigh 221lbs right now, looking to add 9lbs in the next 6 weeks and then cut down to a shredded 215 to 220 over the following 4 weeks of winter break

The website is coming along nicely - its a great place to write about everything training-related in a more formal setting that is more accessible to a larger audience. Feel free to give me feedback or submit questions for the Q and A section as well.

thanks for reading guys,

Ben


#665

Good stuff man I’ll be sure to check out your site


#666

HOLY MOLY haven’t felt this good in months. Had a great long toss, made an arm action tweak that felt like it was back to the arm action I had this summer. Went out to 105 yards fairly easily, and my pulldowns had some POP again.

Worked on long change ups which helped me work on throwing it hard and keeping the same arm speed as my fastball

My flat ground was unreal…I finally had my arm action back where it needs to be, and that was reflected in all of my pitches and my command. I threw as hard as I’ve thrown in a long time, I commanded my change up which was dropping off the table and I commanded my slider which had as sharp a bite as it has EVER had.

I need to keep this up. KEEP IT SIMPLE. The shorter modified leg lift seemed to help simplify everything, and the arm action tweak (kind of coming set with my palms more down rather than facing me) felt really good.

Hopefully this stuff continues, I have a bullpen coming up soon

Ben


#667

Must have been the pre-workout pep talk some genius coach gave you :stuck_out_tongue:

Good stuff!


#668

Good stuff man keep it going


#669

Been away from the forums for a while, so I’ll give you guys a quick update on what I’ve been up to.

I’ve been taking the lower body lifting pretty easy lately to give the lower back a rest, which was tight on and off since the deadlift and squat maxing last month. We had some scheduled down time from throwing in there too so I was able to rest it pretty well.

Right now it’s about 90-95%, I don’t feel it throwing or lifting, but I’m still not unleashing it yet until it feels 100%. We’ve been throwing again for about 2 weeks now, just slowly ramping everything up, and everything feels good so far. Still working on a few things, especially the slide step and change up, so it will be good to see how those progress over the next month.

In other news, I’ve been cutting weight for the first time ever. I’m down to about 209 now from 220lbs and I’m looking for my ticket into Shreddedville. From 14% body fat to about 9% currently, I feel much leaner and more athletic. I don’t think this will negatively affect my velocity at all, given that I’m maintaining almost all of my (upper body) strength. As I’ve noticed before, my lower body strength has very little correlation to my velocity (or rather, increasing leg strength past a certain point seems to have no added benefit).


I’m also extremely excited for a winter class with the Washington Nationals head strength coach. Can’t freakin wait. I’ll keep you guys updated on how everything is going

Ben

PS
we’ve been adding tons of videos to our new youtube channel. Only a fraction of them are public right now but check em out if you get a chance!


#670

Awesome, Lanky, and nice to see you back on the forum. By the way, I think I detect a Cressey camo! My son is a Cressey guy. It’s such a great place. I like to go along and see the who’s who of high school and college baseball players (and some pros) walking in each Saturday. It’s an electric atmosphere and the guys really get after it.

I’m curious to see how the weight loss works out. I’m guessing you will be more explosive but I’ve always thought that the weight is a good thing (the right weight and to a point, of course). Are you concerned about lowering your weight coming into the season? Do you typically lose weight as the season goes on and, if so, will this be a problem if you drop (let’s say) below 200 pounds as the season grinds on?

On an unrelated topic (maybe I’ll start a thread), I’d love to hear your experience with the transition from high school to D1 college baseball. I’m sure there are a number of kids that would love to hear that, as well. My daughter bought my son a book for Christmas by a kid who played at D1 Binghamton who relates his experiences. My son has not put it down and found, in particular, that the recruiting process was dead-on to the one he experienced. He will be heading off in September to play D1 baseball and is pretty excited and a bit nervous. He’s heard the stories of 6 a.m. lifts followed by classes followed by practice followed by mandatory study hall. Any truth?


#671

That’s just a warm up, wait till you factor in the travel to and from for away games.

It really is a grind playing at the Collegiate level regardless what level you happen to slot into, it can be overwhelming at first but time management is key.

Congrats to your son on his accomplishment of making it to the next level.


#672

[quote=“gettingthere”]Awesome, Lanky, and nice to see you back on the forum. By the way, I think I detect a Cressey camo! My son is a Cressey guy. It’s such a great place. I like to go along and see the who’s who of high school and college baseball players (and some pros) walking in each Saturday. It’s an electric atmosphere and the guys really get after it.

I’m curious to see how the weight loss works out. I’m guessing you will be more explosive but I’ve always thought that the weight is a good thing (the right weight and to a point, of course). Are you concerned about lowering your weight coming into the season? Do you typically lose weight as the season goes on and, if so, will this be a problem if you drop (let’s say) below 200 pounds as the season grinds on?

On an unrelated topic (maybe I’ll start a thread), I’d love to hear your experience with the transition from high school to D1 college baseball. I’m sure there are a number of kids that would love to hear that, as well. My daughter bought my son a book for Christmas by a kid who played at D1 Binghamton who relates his experiences. My son has not put it down and found, in particular, that the recruiting process was dead-on to the one he experienced. He will be heading off in September to play D1 baseball and is pretty excited and a bit nervous. He’s heard the stories of 6 a.m. lifts followed by classes followed by practice followed by mandatory study hall. Any truth?[/quote]

You are right! That is the CP camo I got for christmas. I’m pretty sure it adds about 30 lbs to your one-arm cable row alone :shock:
I love that electric atmosphere you mentioned, and it’s what I hope to recreate in a facility of my own one day.

As far as the weight (fat) loss, I’m not at all concerned with the velocity being affected. If I dropped a ton of strength and muscle mass, this would be a concern, but so far it has been almost all fat and I’ve been focusing extra hard on upper body and core strength, which is the most crucial for my velocity. I was a “soft” 206-208lbs this summer, sitting 88-90 as a starter, so I don’t think being a ripped 205 (maybe even 200, we’ll see) is going to negatively affect anything. Velocity fluctuations, for me, are almost always about mechanics. Barring massive changes in lean mass, I’m not worried.

Unintentional weight loss over the course of the season is, frankly, unacceptable for any high school or college player. 2 lifts a week and sufficient calories are all it takes to maintain weight in season, even if that means lifting the night of a start or bringing a bag of nuts or a couple protein bars to the field each day. Huge unintentional 10lb or greater weight losses over the course of a season come down to the player not holding himself accountable and staying focused.

As far as the transition from high school to college baseball, it’s night and day. In some ways, it’s easier. I was doing so much extra work on my own in high school, struggling to find throwing partners, facilities and equipment, that college made this part of my training much easier. There is structure, and you can’t just decide you don’t feel like getting up and training like maybe you could in high school.

Yes most coaches will do 6am lifting/conditioning. Most guys will have class from 8 to 1, and practice is generally from 2 to 6 or 7 each day in the fall. Keeping a high GPA gets some (myself included) out of study hall, but struggle with your academics and you’ll be doing 8 or 10 mandatory hours of that per week as well. Even the party animals on the team will only go out once a week, and rarely in season.

As long as your son has a true passion for the game, none of this will be a problem. He will look forward to the chance to improve himself. He may grumble about waking up at 530 (most do), but he will ultimately see the value in it, and give the team everything he has to give.

College is exhilarating, its competitive. Teammates push you. Friendships are deeper. Coaches are more invested in making everyone better. I’d be happy to talk to your son about it if he wants.


#673

Couple drills and throwing clips we recently uploaded.
You’ll recognize some of these as SetPro backward chaining drills, although I’ve put my own twist/interpretation on these.


#674

Thanks for posting those videos, I will be implementing my drills into my throwing stuff. I should be beneficial to my arm action and the very least give my different ways to work on that.

Thanks again!


#675

Ben,

Have you ever considered trying a drill in which you step forward with your plant (foot) and throw like you normally would? I know just from past experience this has helped me “learn” what separation really feels like. It would probably have to be light just to make sure that you don’t strain yourself but it could help teach you what that separation feels like.

Priceless


#676

[quote=“Priceless”]Ben,

Have you ever considered trying a drill in which you step forward with your plant (foot) and throw like you normally would? I know just from past experience this has helped me “learn” what separation really feels like. It would probably have to be light just to make sure that you don’t strain yourself but it could help teach you what that separation feels like.

Priceless[/quote]

Yes I have, and I don’t feel like starting with the chest facing the target and then having to turn the front shoulder closed while beginning the arm action accurately reflects the arm action used during the real delivery.

That is, the arm path in the drill you described is different enough that I don’t feel like it transfers over to the other drills or my delivery. On the other hand, the “lead up separation drill” that I posted, which doesn’t have as much of that shoulder turn, feels much more compatible with my motion and cues that loose yet aggressive scap load for me.


#677

Do you see yourself as a starter or in a relief role for the coming season? Have the coaches indicated what your role will be? Great log…


#678

Hey guys, been away from the log for a while, and I think it’s time for an update.

I’ve accomplished a ton in the past month or so, starting with the end of my fat loss “project” I reached an acceptable 8% body fat just as practice started ramping up, which is easy to maintain and right where I want to be. Relaxed and relatively hydrated:

In the end, I actually ended up gaining strength in all of my upper body lifts. I didn’t re-test my squat or deadlift. Although there is undoubtedly some strength loss in my lower half, it appears to be minimal and hasn’t affected my performance thus far.

Starting weight was roughly 217-220lbs at 13-14% body fat, ending weight is about 205lbs at just under 8% body fat.

Started off doing 85lbs for 6 on dumbbell bench, and 16 neutral grip pull-ups. Finished doing 90lbs for 6 on DB bench, 25 reps on neutral grip chin-ups and 4 reps on weighted chins with 90lbs!!

It’s pretty neat seeing your body change every few days and still managing to make gains in the weight room. I feel phenomenal and I can sustain this type of eating indefinitely which is pretty exciting.

As far as pitching goes, I’ve been aggressively getting my arm and mechanics back in game ready shape. Throwing has been roughly 6 days per week, with 3-4 bullpens per week leading up to when we started intersquadding. At this point, after 2 weeks of scrimmages, I’m doing 2 live outings per week, 1 regular bullpen and 1 short bullpen from 55 feet. The arm is getting close and the mechanics/ velocity are 99% there from what I can tell.

All of my outings have been in 30 degree weather, but I think I should be throwing around 90+ once the weather warms up again.

My first couple live outings were rusty, but I’m starting to regain my form out there. In 6 innings so far, I have given up 1 earned run with 5ks, 3bbs, 2h and 1hbp. Not great.

Then again, my last outing was the first time I really felt like I regained my summer form on the mound. I threw 10 out of 12 pitches for strikes, and all of my pitches were working.

Bigger than those numbers though, was the fact that my mentality was back where it needs to be. Sure, I made a slight mechanical tweak reminding myself to really force the front shoulder closed while letting the hips glide open. More important, I was able to go into attack mode from the first pitch and stay there for the entire inning with every pitch.

The main things I did to change this:

  1. Put headphones in while warming up before my outing - this is something I did over the summer and it paid off big time. Keep the music relatively relaxed and it will do wonders for regulating your heart rate and keeping you focused and in the zone. As a reliever, this is even more important, because nerves are very common before entering the game at a crucial point.

  2. Take caffeine or some sort of stimulant if you are not 100% awake and mentally alert.

On a recommendation from a teammate, I took a 5 hour energy prior to my outing. I’ve had them before, but there really was a noticeable difference in how well I was able to focus and stay alert. In addition, I took L-Tyrosine, which was part of my fat loss supplement stack and helps clear mental fog and improve alertness.

  1. Remembered to take a deep breath before EVERY throw during my catch play and zero in on my target. This helps relaxation and focus.

  2. When coming in from long toss, work on change-ups from 90 feet to a down partner. This was actually a drill just to work on change-ups, but I always noticed that when going through my full delivery from 90 feet away, you have no choice but to focus on your target much much more. Every time when I moved back into 60 feet, on top of having the benefit of improved feel for my change up, I noticed that the catcher looked UNFAIRLY CLOSE. 60 feet literally feels like 45 feet every time that I go through this routine before a flat ground.

  3. In the bullpen, being aggressive from the first pitch. The arm is already warmed up to throw hard at this point, so keeping that intensity and aggressiveness helps negate any nerves or babying of the ball. Continue taking a deep breath before every pitch.

  4. Pop the headphones in while waiting to go into the game, calm the mind a bit, and when called, walk to the mound with a swagger like you know you are going to dominate. The key here is channeling a focused-intensity. It’s very easy to be too amped up or too calm, but when you find that balance is when the magic happens. Treat the inning like a battle - you are a one-pitch-warrior. Maintain this for the entire inning and you will get everything out of your body that you have on a given day.

@BR: I have the main set-up role to start. I’ll keep you all updated on how that changes as the season progresses. LSU in 2 days! Get pumped!


#679

Give 'em hell kid!

BTW where are you playing summer ball this year?


#680

Great stuff lanky good luck this season