Archive for August, 2012

5 Steps To Becoming A More Awesome Baseball Player

My wife would deny it if you asked her, but she likes to test me. She casually mentions things and waits to see if I get the message. She is in absolute awe of my lack of perception when it comes to domestic issues. I have the uncanny ability to walk right past a brand new [NAME YOUR PIECE OF FURNITURE HERE] and not even notice it. She’s even been known to place full trash bags right in the middle of the kitchen to see if I take out the trash. It’s become somewhat comical at this point. I’m always asking her, “If you want me to do something, why don’t you just ask me?”

When it comes to these little tests, I’m always telling her “I just don’t see it. I don’t know why, but I don’t.”

Sometimes people just need to be told what to do. It’s not that they don’t want to do it. They just don’t see things the way others do.

With that said, GoWags would like to tell you what you should be doing this fall and winter to become a more awesome baseball player.

STEP 1:
Decide what your true intentions are with your son’s baseball development. If baseball is just another spring activity then you can skip steps 2-5. Steps 2-5 require too much of a financial and/or time commitment for the casual baseball player.
STEP 2:
Purchase a GoWags membership. I know this seems like shameless promotion, but I’m being totally up front. Full access to unlimited cage space, the iron mike pitching machine and our newly improved training room. If you can find a better value for developing as a baseball player I’d like to know about it. Not sold? Ask our current members about the value.
STEP 3:
Determine what your weaknesses are and deliberately practice them at least twice a week. Practice your strengths at least once a week.
STEP 4:
Do the following exercises at least 3 times a week:

The Power Sed
Battling Ropes
Medicine Ball Slams
Lateral Hops
Assisted Pullups
STEP 5:
Pretend that there is at least one boy out there who is doing just a little bit more than you to improve himself. Use it as motivation.

 

Full Reps!

Bret Wagner

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The cost to play travel baseball

It’s no secret that GoWags is in the travel baseball business. We profit from parents wanting to provide the best baseball experience for their talented kids. When most newcomers to travel baseball inquire about our GoWags teams, they ask about cost.

“What’s the cost to be on a GoWags team?”

Isn’t the answer always, it depends? If you’ve ever had a Green Light Hitting lesson, you’re no doubt familiar with the concept of “INTENT PRECEDES CONTENT”. In other words, if you’re not mentally ready to be an aggressive hitter, all the technique talk in the world is pointless. It’s a total waste of time. Good young hitters are aggressive and willing to swing and miss. They aren’t worried about “just making contact.”

Back to the cost question. What are your goals for your son with respect to baseball? Do you think he has the potential to play professionally? Do you think he has the potential to play in college? Maybe even a college scholarship? OK. That’s pretty aggressive stuff.  Maybe you simply want to maximize the talent that he’s been given. Or, do you just want him to play a better brand of baseball than he plays in rec?

Anyway you slice it, the cost to be on a GoWags travel team boils down to your intentions. Let me explain. Elite baseball players understand the importance of playing, training, and deliberate practice. It’s not just about the games. The time they spend in our facility training and practicing is as much a part of their development as any travel baseball tournament. With that in mind, here’s a graph showing the average weekly cost per year of an average GoWags travel team player. This team played in 5 tournaments. 3 tournaments required overnight stays while 2 did not.

Playing on a travel baseball team is not cheap. The red “Expenses” column represents everything from gas, food, hotel rooms, tournament fees, winter training, and entertainment with gas, food and hotel rooms representing the bulk of the total.

The blue “Investment” column represents the cost to train and practice year round with a GoWags membership. Either a Regular membership or a Weekend membership. Peanuts in comparison.

Here’s what a GoWags member receives:
1. Unlimited cage space
2. Access to our newly improved training room.
3. A BRAND NEW member profile page where  you can upload videos of your son playing or practicing and receive staff comments.
4. Unlimited access to our Iron Mike pitching machine.
5. Discounts on lessons and classes.

If you are on a GoWags travel team, and you are not a member. I would look at this graph and ask why not?

 

If you are contemplating becoming a member of a GoWags travel team, I would look at this graph and ask yourself what are my true intentions? The cost to play travel baseball is not cheap. And if you aren’t fully committed to truly developing your son’s talent, I might suggest a different route.

Full Reps!

Bret Wagner

 

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Youth Weight Training – Debunking old myths

Every time I think the old myth that children shouldn’t begin weight training activities has been put to bed, another parent asks the same old question, “Isn’t it bad for their growth plates?”

Here we go again. If you’re on the fence about whether or not your child (as young as 7 years old!) should begin a weight training program, here’s a list of nice blogs or articles for you to reveiw:

NY Times Article

Eric Cressey Article

Livestrong Article

The bottom line is that research has shown that as long as a child can follow instructions, they can benefit from strength training. My friend, Dr. Bob Gorinski, likes to use the terms relative risk and risk/benefit ratio when discussing youth strength training.  Here’s a direct quote from Bob’s blog.

Relative risk is more important than risk.

You are far more likely to be seriously injured driving to the gym or athletic field than you are while exercising. Parents worry about their teenager injuring growth plates while lifting weights, when those injuries are far more likely incurred during a soccer game or bike ride.

All that sitting we do while in class or at work is risky behavior when it comes to neck and back health. I laugh when experts with chronic forward head posture, thoracic kyphosis, and reduced lumbar lordosis vilify some specific exercise.

To say that the risk of an exercise outweighs the benefits for a certain person or population is one thing. But I don’t want a blanket opinion on dead lifts from someone who can barely reach the ground without contorting their spine or almost falling over.

Likewise, every activity has a risk to benefit ratio. For example, the risk of injury from walking three miles on a treadmill is less than running 10 miles or sprinting down hill. Wimpy thera-band movements carry little risk but also little benefit outside of a rehabilitation setting. Those elliptical trainers have less risk than plyometric jump training. Resistance training on machines is usually less risky than trying to move free weights.

The down side to safety is that most of us with life in our bones are not content with safety. We want to improve, compete, and push ourselves. Longer runs, faster sprints, higher jumps, and heavier weights (all relative) offer real mental and physical benefits that their less risky counterparts can’t touch.

Sorry all you “I just want to stay healthy” people, I’m just not buying it.

While doing a seated hamstring curl is fine, dead lifts will cause the entire posterior chain (scapula, back, hip, and leg muscles) to perform enormous feats of controlled mobility. Your weak points are exposed and you can work on what matters. Nobody ever said you have to load a tank on the bar and yank it like a power lifter.

Risk:benefit ratio is definitely a sliding scale. A pitching prodigy shouldn’t risk his throwing shoulder with heavy overhead barbell presses. But a similar football player who wants to add some lean muscle mass may benefit greatly from that same exercise. A middle aged man without health insurance may want to skip weekend flag football games, even if he trains for it. He might focus on running 5K faster and with less knee pain rather than bumping up to 10k.

Any good story involves risk. While we can’t afford to ignore safety, we also can’t afford to write boring stories. We should remember that everything under the sun has some degrees of risk, and consider the risk:benefit ratio. While activities that involve high risk and little skill are plain stupid, we should seek to be calculated and willing to live with the benefits and risks rather than minimize risk at all expense.

If you’ve been in our facility, you’ve no doubt seen the sign that reads GET FASTER…GET STRONGER. It does not say GET FASTER…GET STRONGER (if you’re over the age of 13). We’ve added a lot of new equipment. We’ve expanded the training room. A GoWags membership will give you everything you need to become a better baseball player. Your baseball season may be over, but Full Reps lasts all year long.

Bret Wagner

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Yerkes-Dodson Law of Arousal – A must read for baseball coaches

Interesting story about Kyle and I when we were Seniors at Red Land High School. As Juniors, we had won the AAA State Baseball Championship and were preseason favorites to repeat as Seniors. In fact, USA Today had us ranked as high as 2nd in the country our Senior year. Pretty cool stuff for high school kids.

Our biggest test came pretty early in the season, when we played Chambersburg. Would you believe they were ranked 19th in the country by USA today. Two schools in the same division in Central Pennsylvania ranked in the top 25 by USA Today.  Needless to say, it was a big game. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was about to get a lesson in Yerkes-Dodson Law of Arousal.

The Yerkes–Dodson law is an empirical relationship between arousal and performance, originally developed by psychologists Robert M. Yerkes and John Dillingham Dodson in 1908.[1] The law dictates that performance increases with physiological or mental arousal, but only up to a point. When levels of arousal become too high, performance decreases. The process is often illustrated graphically as a curvilinear, inverted U-shaped curve which increases and then decreases with higher levels of arousal.

The bottom line…For sports requiring fine motor skills (baseball) lower arousal levels are optimal for peak performance!

Yerkes Dodson Law

Back to the game with Chambersburg. We were up in the 6th inning. I don’t remember the score, but we were up by at least 3 runs. I walked the first batter in the 7th inning. I walked the second batter. Kyle (an extremely intense coach and player!) was the catcher and started throwing the ball back to me as hard as he could, yelling at me to start throwing strikes. My arousal level was increasing. I walked the 3rd batter. That’s 3 in a row to start the 7th. Kyle called time and came out to the mound to continue his tirade. I don’t remember the words, but I’m positive that he wasn’t aware of Mr. Yerkes and Mr. Dodson’s work. After the meeting at the mound, my arousal level was just about maxed out. I proceeded to walk the next 4 guys and the game was over. Crushing. I hadn’t walked a single batter before the 7th.

If you coach baseball. Understand that your players will perform their best when their arousal levels are low. Yelling and screaming does absolutely no good. Zero.
Full Reps!

Bret Wagner

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The Other Kid

This blog is for GoWags team members. All of you.

In a previous blog, I asked a somewhat silly question. Is baseball a team sport? The answer is obvious…Yes. But the purpose of the blog was to get you thinking about how baseball really is a series of one on one confrontations between the pitcher and the hitter. Between the ground ball and the fielder. Between the fly ball and the outfielder. If every player on the team performs his job well, the team stands a good chance of winning. Not always…but usually. It’s this one on one confrontation that causes fathers and sons to invest countless hours at GoWags in the fall and winter months. I rarely see a dad bring the entire team to GoWags. Nope. It’s just one on one time.

I’d like to get you thinking about another one on one confrontation. Your son and “THE OTHER KID”. “THE OTHER KID” doesn’t have a face. “THE OTHER KID” doesn’t have a name. “THE OTHER KID” is the boy that is exactly your son’s age with exactly your son’s potential and plays the exact same position. “THE OTHER KID” has parents that want the best for their son too. “THE OTHER KID” believes that hard work earns you opportunities. “THE OTHER KID” has seen your son play and knows where the bar is set. “THE OTHER KID” wants to play on a GoWags travel team.

Are you aware of “THE OTHER KID”?

Tryouts for our GoWags travel teams are August 19th. You just might see “THE OTHER KID”!

Full Reps!

Bret Wagner

 

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