Five Tool Baseball Performance Training (FTBPT) is dedicated to sharing its knowledge, ideas and opinions on baseball performance training based upon field tested experiences as player, coach and baseball strength & conditioning coach. Proper exercise technique ( to ensure effective & efficient training programs) and baseball related movement patterns are implemented to maximize on-field performance. Emphasis is placed on movement based training which integrates multiple muscle groups. This approach has a greater transfer to on-field performance and can minimize the incidence and risk of injury. 
 If a game is being played you can be sure Im watching it from home or from the stands. Many of my own workouts involve designing/creating out-of-the-box exercises & programs to enhance performance and movement unique to baseball

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Thank You Dr. Coleman

Dr. Gene Coleman, Strength & Conditioning Coach for the Houston Astros, has humbled me with his words.Here's what he had to say. Thank you for the compliments Dr. Coleman.---Adam

During the off-season leading into the 2008 baseball campaign, the Houston Astros Baseball Club acquired shortstop Miguel Tejada. It was then I learned that Miguel was performing his off-season strength training with Adam Brush, Institute of Human Performance. Having had the opportunity to sit down to discuss training philosophies with Adam it is evident that he understands the demands of the game; as such the club was pleased with the overall strength and conditioning Miguel possessed upon arrival into spring training camp. Adam’s unique perspective on strength training, bridges multi-disciplinary training modalities creating an off-field training environment conducive to the on-field demands specific to baseball. It was this process that helped keep Miguel injury free and on the field during 2008 season.

Coming from a baseball background (as player, coach and strength coach) Adam is capable of earning the trust of ball players from all levels. He is an up and coming baseball strength coach who I believe ‘gets it’.

I endorse Adam and would recommend him not only for my own players, but for baseball players of all levels.

Gene Coleman, Ed. D., CSCS, FACSM
Strength & Conditioning Coach
Houston Astros Baseball Club

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Conditioning for Baseball Movements

Baseball movements are categorized as hitting, throwing, fielding and running. However, let’s focus our attention mainly on movements that support fielding and running. Collectively, these movements can be classified as linear (straight-line) and non- linear (multi-directional) movements that are short (distance) and explosive (power). Due to the fairly short distances experienced in fielding and running, top speed is rarely achieved; meaning that acceleration and an explosive first step should be the emphasis for baseball conditoning movement programs; not the often prescribed long slow distance training(aerobics).

Baseball conditioning programs should include specific movements targeted to improve situations on offensive (singles, doubles, run downs, passed balls, etc) and situations on defensive (charging bunts, fielding routine grounders, hits in the gaps, etc) specific. A perfect example is the 60 yards sprint which many of the baseball purists utilize as a testing protocol. I’m not opposed to running sprints as part of a conditioning program. I just believe that the sprints should be baseball specific. Such as timing your athlete from home to second – that’s 60 yards and that’s baseball. Now, I’m not suggesting that you forego the 60 yard sprint conditioning; continue with it as you will be tested for time. But ask yourself, would you rather be quicker in a straight line over 60 yards or would you rather leg out a double - a 60 yard baseball specific sprint ?

Here are some general baseball conditioning guidelines:

One: Upon the completion of the season, your athlete should take some time off. Once they return to training, implement a general conditioning/training program. The intention is just to get their body moving again. Enhance the integrity of and reacclimate the tendons, ligaments, bones, etc for the training stresses that will be experience in the upcoming training phases. Perform 2-3x per week for 2 weeks. This training can include general biomotor skills, dynamic flexibility, fucntional training modalities such as medicine and stability balls, bands, and free weights. Basic cardio modalities such ellipticals, stationary bikes, treadmills, versa climber can all be included.

Two: For approximately the next 3 weeks progress your conditioning by using the above mentioned cardio modalities for interval based training - repeated bouts of exercise that are short in duration, maximal in effort with sub-maiximal effort during rest - an example may be to sprint on a treadmill for 15s then jog for 30s and repeat.

Three Movement training to prepare for the linear and lateral field work. Ideal if this can be performed on the field, but not necessary. Linear work includes, but not limited to, drills such as the 60 yard sprint(to appease the purists),along with 30 and 40 yard sprints and short distance shuttles. Chutes, weighted vests, running/sprinting hills, tire drags/pulls are just a few modalities to incorporate. Lateral work will include agility drills performed over short side to side(left to right) distances, quickly and explosively...with minimal "game-like" rest. This type of interval training will provide baseball related cardio-endurance & foot-work. Ladders, hurdles, cones, etc are the types of tools that can be utlized for lateral trainng. At some point during this "phase" be sure that drills combine linear and lateral movements. Remember, baseball is neither lateral or linear...It's multi-directional. Performing 300 yard shuttles with a variety of game-like biomotor skills offers a way to train endurance along with linear and lateral movements.

Four: Approximately a month out from the season (includes tryouts, full squad practices, spring training, etc), spikes are on implementing various offensive and defensive baseball related movements. Offensively, implement base running drills: functional 60 yard sprints such as – home to 2nd, , 1st to third, etc, and functional 30 yard drills – base steal, and interval based run downs . It’s important that the ankles thus the knees begin to feel the edges of the bases and angles of the turns (these joints should be ready if you honored the proper strength training & conditioning progressions). Defensively, training includes ground balls (routine and in the gap), bunts, over the shoulder fly balls, etc.

Again, many coaches have their opinion on this subject. These are simply meant as guidelines.

--Go hard in the yard,


Monday, December 1, 2008

Tire Drags

Because baseball is a game of quick explosive bursts of power(over relatively short distances) it's rare that top end speed will be achieved. Therefore acceleration and 1st step quickness should be part of your baseball performance training. Along with acceleration, your training needs to include power based baseball movements with a hint of endurance via interval training. And by the way, we're not talking about long slow distance endurance(such as jogging miles and miles) but instead short, quick explosive movements such as running bases,run downs,tracking down fly balls, etc. Although chutes, hill runs, and incline treadmills can be prescribed to train for acceleration and improve baseball "endurance" (when needed), one of my favorite alternative exercises are tire drags. Glutes, hamstrings, quads will get pumped while taking your heart and lungs to new heights (via interval training; max intensity minimal rest) thus enhancing recovery. I know not everyone can get their hands on an old, used tractor tire, but if you can get it a try. It promises to build on-field recovery and stamia - minimizing late game fatigue.

Go hard in the yard--