For those new to the blog, my name is Scott Swanson, and I'm the Founder of FullReps Baseball. I act as the CEO - where I guide corporate strategy - while also serving as the Director of Player Development where we create and manage our athletes individualized programming from their initial screenings to their on floor training throughout the course of the year.
In this blog I'd like to introduce you to our approach to training and provide a brief overview of the science behind our individualized baseball specific training program!
PUT YOUR SEAT BELTS ON!
Over the last decade, there has been a lot of attention directed towards various training techniques as new philosophies and training implements have surfaced and taken over the industry, Everyone and their grandma think they have the next best "thing". I'm all about learning and creativity but closing your eyes and standing on your head while a coach throws you BP is a little much! While many programs and coaches have great ideas and great drills, very few have a systematical approach behind their teachings.
When you walk into FRTC, our training may be contrary to nearly everything you know about baseball training and player development. But that’s OK because what you are about to read is an uncommon approach to baseball coaching, instruction & player development. It’s also an approach that has yielded exceptional results & its effectiveness has been proven time and time again at FullReps.
We’ve seen our comprehensive individualized training system work with everyone from first-timers to professionals. Every approach we take challenges conventional thinking because the “one size fits all” protocol does not work! The generalized strength program does not work! While some of our concepts may seem a bit radical I can assure you they are all grounded in heavily vetted, peer-reviewed research.
At FullReps Training Center our creative application of our hands on assessment process & programming backed with leading-edge science & technology has played a significant role in the unparalleled success of our athletes. The knowledge we have gained through our study of the science of motor learning and motor control along with the knowledge gained from close friends and mentors such as the FBR, 108 Performance & Driveline Baseball has been central to the FullReps Baseballs emergence as a powerful influencer in the baseball training industry. Today we are considered the top facility in the northeast for managing arm pain and enhancing velocity!
Our staffs deep understanding of medical science and the physiology of injury risk reduction has put us on the map but the application of this knowledge and the results of our athletes is what has allowed us to develop such a comprehensive system for training.Our unique approach to arm care management has resurrected many athletes and has prevented a number of injuries in the past couple years. Our team is extremely talented when it comes to helping players bridge the gap precisely between player development and overall health.
Despite the success of my partner, Dr. Bob Gorinski on the rehab side of FullReps Physical Therapy, the most important differentiator again is our keen understanding of motor learning and skill acquisition science (the theory and the application). As a player, parent, coach or an instructor, if you can learn and apply the information in our program, I promise you, you will gain a significant edge in player development.
Our approach to assessing and improving pitching mechanics is based on Dynamic Systems Theory (DST), a motor learning precept that has emerged from research in behavioral psychology.
The value of dynamic systems is that it provides theoretical principles for conceptualizing, operationalizing, and formalizing these complex interrelations of time, substance, and process. DST uses differential calculus to define and predict the state and behavior of complex non-linear networks. In DST, as it relates motor learning, the body is considered a complex biological system! We model our programming, from a dynamical systems perspective as the human movement system is a highly intricate network of co-dependent sub-systems (e.g. respiratory, circulatory, nervous, skeletomuscular, perceptual) that are composed of a large number of interacting components (e.g. blood cells, oxygen molecules, muscle tissue, metabolic enzymes, connective tissue and bone). In dynamical systems theory, movement patterns emerge through generic processes of self-organization found in physical and biological systems.
Soooooo......What does this all really mean and how do we apply DST to player development, acquiring skill, staying healthy and as my boy Coach Ferber would say "THROWING CHEETOS"!?
My buddy and owner of the Florida Baseball Ranch, Randy Sullivan describes it really well……...
“There are features of the system (movement) that must be stable and others that can be variable. The stable parts are called “attractors,” and the variables are known as fluctuations. Attractors serve to stabilize the system (the body), while the fluctuations allow for adjustability. To perform optimally, you need your attractors to be stable, but not too stable, and you need just enough fluctuations to ensure your system is robust (resistant to perturbation) and resilient (resistant to phase shift, i.e., tissue failure)”
Higher velocities = greater stress on the elbow/shoulder joint. The velocities & joint angles our athletes are encountering are ridiculous & generalized programming will not give our athletes good enough motor control of these end ranges of motion. Therefore, our athletes require specific assessment, individualization & direction. The focus needs to revolve around quality movement & learning how to produce and accept forces!
The great news is that our FullReps team is aware of Structural adaptations in throwers which allows us to create very specific individualized programs!
Here At FullReps Training Center, we strive to constantly challenge the sensory and motor control demands on our athletes. Our purpose is to add as much variety to the specific throwing movement as we can. The idea is to alert the neuromuscular system with an ever-changing novel stimulus without overwhelming it.
PROPER ASSESSMENT & CONVERSION TO A CONTROLLABLE SYSTEM!
Our first order of business is to assess for any possible contributors to pain and then systematically eliminate them. My partner in crime & FullReps Physical Therapist, Dr. Bob Gorinski does a killer job of bridging this gap.
The body will not allow forward progress in ability and skill development if it senses pain or even the threat of pain (you are only as strong as your weakest link). Next, we cross check for both physical and biomechanical inefficiency variables that might interfere with performance or increase the risk of injury. We assign and teach the appropriate corrective drills and exercises to improve the quality of the movement and to ensure it is within the parameters of safety.
Then we get to work creatively designing individualized programs and a practice environment that discourages inefficient movement and encourages patterns that are more likely to create favorable outcomes.
You come in once a week to train and you throw 95 MPH.....SAID NO ONE EVER!
IT'S NOT THAT SIMPLE!.....BUT FOR OUR ATHLETES WHO HAVE DISCIPLINE AND ARE DEDICATED TO TRAIN AND DEVELOP YEAR ROUND IT IS.....
"THROUGH OUR COMPREHENSIVE PROGRAMMING, OUR ATHLETES ARE ABLE TO COVERT THIS COMPLEX SYSTEM INTO ONE THAT IS FUN AND PRODUCES RESULTS! "
The outcomes produced by motor commands cannot be the same every time because there are different contexts in which the commands can be sent. The same muscle can perform the same movement but still produce separate outcomes. This was Nikolai Bernstein’s (the OG Daddy of motor learning & motor control) second problem in movement known as context conditioned variability problem.
So how does a learner solve these problems?
CONVERSION TO A CONTROLLABLE SYSTEM:
Sport science & motor control research shows that constraint training is one of the most effective ways to affect mechanical change in athletes. At FullReps Baseball, we use a variety of learning techniques & implements to improve of our athletes motor patterns using this methodology. Since most movements are composed of smaller movements. Any one of these movements, if altered, affect the movement as a whole (It’s all about the right impulse at the the right moment!!). We encourage experimentation and self-organization while providing immediate knowledge of results (KR) feedback. When the movement outcome improves, we challenge it by adding variability by changing the conditions of the athlete, the task, or the environment. And most importantly, we try to do this without inundating the athlete with verbal/cognitive cues.
Constraint training allows us to first freeze degrees of freedom or in layman's terms “Fix Independent Movement”. Instead of putting more bricks on a brick wall. Look at 2 or 3 bricks and work on the depth of those bricks This is a deliberate conscious strategy. It may look ugly at first but freezing degrees of freedom in the form of ungraceful movement is an important stage new learners need to pass through!
From there, we like to free up our athletes and promote athleticism in a systematic order. This is done through our progressive variability training and phases of our throwing/lifting program. Just remember, always start with freeing up parts close to center of body first! (Proximal to distal).
Lastly, we always try and develop a movement solution that exploits the non musical forces (use of reactive phenomena) such as reactive & frictional forces and inertia to enhance the efficiency of muscular forces. We can’t only consider the commands from the brain going to the body. We can’t just train an athlete to produce movements. They must learn to adapt these movements using the incoming afferent information about the environmental context. Again, we teach our athletes to compensate by restricting movement to gain more kinesthetic awareness. If we harness the non muscular forces that cause us to create postural disconnections by simply taking them into account in our movement control, we could slowly learn how to produce a more powerful move towards the plate. With, more practice and increasing body awareness we can learn to transition from compensation to exploitation!!
Thanks again for being along for the ride and for your commitment to our FR process! For more information on our programming please be sure to visit our website @www.fullrepstraining.com or shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
And as always…...don't forget to follow us on us Instagram @fullrepstraingcenter. That's the place where you can find me most active and completely unfiltered!
Founder, Director of Player Development
FullReps Training Center