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High School Baseball Strength, Agility & Performance

Brian NiswenderBrian Niswender MA, CSCS
WBP Strength and Performance
Mentor and Coach

Partial list of Players that have improved their game with Brian include, 
Alex Cintron White Sox, Chad Tracy Diamondbacks, Brandon Webb Diamondbacks, Edger Gonzales Diamondbacks, Brandon Meeders Diamondbacks, Jose Valverde Diamondbacks, Robbie Hamock Diamondbacks, Casey Diagle Diamondbacks, Andy Green Diamondbacks, Brian Bruney Yankees, Scott Hairston Padres, Lance Cormier Braves, Oscar Villarreal Braves, Mike Gosling  Reds, Jerry Gil Reds, Chris Capuano Brewers, Matt Kata Pirates, Enrique Gonzales Nationals, John Paterson Nationals, Mike Koplove Indians, Jason Bulger Angels, Lyle Overbay Blue Jays ........

Dave Yeager, ATC, CSCS
WBP Strength and Conditioning Mentor and Coach
Assistant Trainer, Milwaukee Brewers
Dave olds national certifications as an Athletic Trainer from the National Athletic Trainer's Association (NATA) and as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist  from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA).  Throughout his career, David has specialized in prescribing exercise program designs for general conditioning, performance enhancement, rehabilitation, and reconditioning of athletes and individuals in all levels of competition and physical activity.  David has served as an Athletic Trainer and Performance Enhancement Coach for the Milwaukee Brewers, the 2001 World Series Champion Arizona Diamondbacks and the Boston Red Sox organizations.  He has also been involved with other high school, collegiate, Olympic, and professional athletes from organizations such as:  The Cleveland Indians, The Cincinnati Reds, The Pittsburgh Pirates, The Detroit Tigers, The Tampa Bay Devil Rays, The Los Angeles Dodgers, The Oakland A's, The Chicago White Sox, The San Diego Padres, The Detroit Lions, Auburn University, The University of Georgia, The University of South Carolina, Jacksonville State University, The University of Alabama-Huntsville, U.S.A. Bobsled, and Team Nicaragua

"Worldwide Baseball Prospects is an organization dedicated to providing young athletes with the tools that they need to be successful in life and sports. As a Coach / Mentor with Worldwide Baseball Prospects, I am looking forward to sharing my knowledge and experiences with the players of WBP to help guide them through their quest for athletic development.  Not only can I teach athletes, but I believe that each athlete that I work with teaches me something new about how I can better serve them.  With assistance from all of the WBP mentors, the player can become a well-rounded person, student, and athlete.  Success comes from hard work and opportunity." - Dave Yeager, ATC, CSCS

Strength and Performance Articles

It's good to be green.¯ - Kermit the Frog
by Minor League Athletic Trainer, Milwaukee Brewers
Dave Yeager, ATC, CSCS

As a student-athlete, it helps to have mentors that can provide you with guidance along your path through developmental milestones and athletic achievements.  For me, one of those mentors was Dr. Jack Hughston.  Considered by most as a pioneer in the field of sports medicine, he was among the first to provide medical coverage to collegiate athletic programs.

When I arrived for my freshman year of college on the campus of Auburn University, I was fortunate enough to receive a scholarship as a student athletic trainer and Dr. Hughston was the university's Team Physician.  As a student, it didn't take me long to be introduced to his favorite saying:

As long as you're green, you're still growing.  Once you're ripe, you're next to rotten.¯

This saying has stayed with me throughout my entire career as an athletic trainer and strength and conditioning coach.  It has reminded me that once, I think that I know everything that there is to know about my profession, then I've missed out on a lot of new information.  The sports medicine and sports performance fields are always changing and evolving and it is important to continue to grow a base of knowledge, develop new concepts, and fine tune my training philosophies and programs.  It is also important to pass on that knowledge to others.

In sports, Dr. Hughston's saying is still true.  In order to be successful on the field, you have to continue to keep your body strong, improve your skill techniques, hone and adjust your mental approach, and fine tune your perceptual abilities.  If you don't, then your game becomes stagnant and reaches a plateau.  Only when you resume the training process will you continue to improve.

If Sliding Head First Were Faster, World-Class Sprinters Would Dive Across the Finish Line!
By David Yeager, ATC, CSCS
WBP Strength Coach/Mentor
Minor League Athletic Trainer, Milwaukee Brewers
The 2011 baseball season started with tragedy at Arizona State University. While sliding head-first into second base during an attempted steal, freshman player Cory Hahn collided with the knee of the fielder and suffered a fractured neck and is reportedly paralyzed.

Though there are injury risks with feet-first sliding, it is commonly believed that the more devastating injuries are associated with head-first slides (i.e. cervical spine injuries, shoulder dislocations, and other elbow, wrist, and hand trauma). Yet, coaches continue to teach, and players continue to attempt head-first sliding because they believe it is a faster baserunning technique.
The truth¦IT'S NOT. A 2002 study proved once and for all that at all levels, there is no difference in speed between head-first and feet-first sliding. The authors concluded that in fact, feet-first sliding may even be slightly faster.

Kane SM, House HO, Overgaard KA. Head-first versus feet-first sliding: A comparison of speed from base to base. The American Journal of Sports Medicine. 2002; 30(6): 834-836.

As I mentioned, there is injury potential to the lower body with the feet-first technique (i.e. ankles, knees, hips, and hands), but these are not considered to be in the same class of severity as those associated with the head-first method. It can be argued that when the feet-first slide is taught correctly and practiced, the potential for injury is low “ particularly now with breakaway bases, etc.


Avoiding Muscle Soreness: Micro Tears vs Muscle Tears
By Eric McMahon, MEd, CSCS
Minor League Strength and Conditioning Coach Texas Rangers

For professional baseball players, the majority of training occurs in-season while balancing the physical workload of games, practice, and team travel. Spring Training begins early in the year (February-March) and is followed by a 140-162 game regular season lasting through September or later (The 2010 World Series ended on November 1st). It is also not uncommon for players to participate in Winter Leagues in the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, or Arizona during the off-season months. So, given the limited time for physical preparation during the off-season and the high baseball workload throughout the year, how should coaches go about avoiding muscle soreness in players from in-season strength and conditioning work? A simple answer is that coaches must use caution towards high-volume types of training while promoting a variety of fatigue-reducing recovery strategies (i.e. SMFR, contrast bathing, massage, nutrition, and rest). Possessing a better understanding of muscle soreness is helpful in providing guidance to players who do not wish to perform resistance training in fear of becoming sore.
The muscle soreness occurring 24-72 hours following unaccustomed training is referred to by exercise professionals as DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness). Symptoms of DOMS may include compromised running mechanics, decreased functional range of motion or stiffness, and reductions in strength and power. Of importance to coaches, baseball performance may be negatively affected by excessive muscle pain, leading to compromised movement patterns in throwing, running, and hitting. A risk of muscle injury in tissues surrounding the prime movers (major muscle groups) is of increased concern from altered baseball mechanics.
It is important to realize that the negative effects of DOMS are temporary, and that the damage to the muscle from training (i.e. overstretching) occurs within the muscle cells (at the level of the myofibril) and not in the muscle tissue as a whole. From a medical perspective, a muscle tearing injury (occurring in an entire muscle) would result in a less pliable, scarring over of the affected tissue (i.e. scar tissue). This is NOT the same tearing of muscle tissue which results in DOMS. The term micro-tears¯ is often used to describe the displacement, or tearing, of the myofibril proteins (actin, myosin, troponin, and tropomyosin) which serve as cogs to contract our muscles. Micro-tears are believed to promote muscle growth and gains in strength, leading to the notion that DOMS may be a natural part of the early strength building process.
The most effective method of preventing DOMS is to avoid unaccustomed training through a consistent routine. The complete replacement of myofilament proteins naturally occurs every 7-15 days within muscle cells, allowing for relatively quick recovery and adaptation from exercise induced stress. A consistent training approach which considers the overall workload of professional baseball players (i.e. games, practices, travel, nutrition, and sleep) will allow for the players to gradually improve muscular fitness to achieve a higher training level. A workload of 1-2 strength or power sessions per week in-season is a good starting point to avoid overtraining. Workouts can be divided into lower and upper body days as needed.
Key Points For In-Season Training:
DOMS is most common with strenuous initial training sessions after prolonged inactivity “ Perform a consistent routine and do not add new exercise movements in-season.
DOMS is caused by the eccentric, or lowering, portion of exercise movements “ Avoid performing negatives¯ or exercises with strenuous deceleration components.
DOMS symptoms temporarily lessen after a warm-up which promotes blood flow “ Recommend that players perform a general cardiovascular warm-up before all activity.
DOMS can negatively impact players physical and psychological performance “ Be cautious in overloading players too soon to avoid poor performance on the field.

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