Friday, September 03, 2010

The Complete Athlete on Performance Health

Donnie Watson of The Complete Athlete noted in an interview today the rebranding of his Performance Symposiums. Even though it seems like a small naming change (adding Performance Health to the title) he was emphatic that it really is the delineating factor between TCA and other baseball and strength/conditioning operations.

"Lots of other coaches claim to improve performance," he said. "But dig deeper and look for the science-based reasons for what they are teaching and you won't find much. We aim to change that for the betterment of the game and our players."

Watson also mentioned that just a few spots remain for his September 11/12 Weekend Performance Health Symposium at Trinity Christian Academy in Addison, Texas (a beautiful facility by-the-way) where Watson also coaches. Price for the weekend has been lowered to $299 to accommodate today's economic times.

He recently returned from a weekend coaches training with former partner and mentor, Dr. Tom House, where he brushed up on new techniques, systems and research influencing House's work at USC.

"It is vital to a player's pursuit of his or her potential, that they get as much of this information as possible. And we don't just want to lecture, we want to make each athlete their own best coach, so they have the tools to perform pain-free for the climb ahead." said Watson.

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Friday, August 20, 2010

Performance Mastery with CA Symposiums, Clinics and Prep-U Sessions

Performance Mastery with CA Symposiums, Clinics and Prep-U Sessions

Only 2 weeks until 1st fall Symposium and remaining spots going fast.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Rangers Sales Approved by MLB Owners!

It's official according to online stories on To wit:

08/12/10 12:50 PM ET
MINNEAPOLIS -- The sale of the Texas Rangers gained unanimous approval from Major League Baseball owners at their joint meeting on Thursday, ending a year of financial instability for the franchise.
The team was purchased from Tom Hicks last Wednesday for $593 million during a spirited, 17-hour bankruptcy court auction in Fort Worth, Texas.
The new Texas ownership group is called Rangers Baseball Express, with attorney Chuck Greenberg serving as managing general partner and Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan remaining as club president. Ray Davis, a Dallas billionaire, and Fort Worth businessman Bob Simpson are the co-lead investors.
"I am very pleased that Chuck, Nolan and their impressive ownership group have been approved as the new leadership of the Texas Rangers franchise," Commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement issued by MLB. "Chuck and Nolan have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to the Rangers. Their passion for Major League Baseball as a whole and particularly the future of baseball in Texas is exemplary.
"In addition, I want to thank the Rangers' fans for their patience throughout this difficult process. I am confident that Chuck, Nolan and the entire ownership group will serve as dedicated stewards of this club by building a long-term, stable franchise which values its standing in the Dallas-Fort Worth communities. I am glad that the Rangers' great season on the field will get the attention it deserves during the pennant race."
The meeting began at 8:35 a.m. CT and Greenberg was asked to sit outside the more>

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Thursday, May 13, 2010

The NCAA Crack Down on Bat Rolling -1 Year Later

It has been a year since  Jim Paronto, the NCAA baseball rules secretary/guru sent out his memorandum on bat rolling -- that pesky compression process that "hardens" alloy and composite bats to deliver more distance -- and we were curious how many violations the organization has uncovered, and actions taken regarding individuals and school programs.

Here's the original memo:

TO: Athletics Directors, Compliance Administrators and Head Baseball Coaches.
FROM: Jim Paronto, secretary-rules editor NCAA Baseball Rules Committee.
SUBJECT: Bat Alterations.
In an ongoing effort to provide an environment for fair and safe competition, the NCAA is sharing information it has received dealing with some non-wood baseball bats. It has come to the attention of the NCAA that there are several companies that offer to “roll” or “shave” non-wood bats in order to increase the performance of the bat. This type of alteration apparently improves the performance of the bat, in some cases considerably.
According to NCAA Baseball Rule 1-12-b: “Any bat that ... has been altered or flattened so as to affect the distance factor or cause an unusual reaction on the baseball shall be removed from the game.” During NCAA championship competition, any bat that is found to be in violation of Rule 1-12-b may subject the team and/or student-athlete to further sanctions under the NCAA’s championship misconduct policies.
Additionally, NCAA Bylaw 17.33 requires all member institutions to adhere to the playing rules of the sport in all contests. An institution’s failure to do so may subject it to penalties from the appropriate championship committee and may potentially constitute a violation of NCAA Bylaw 10.01.1 (Honesty and Sportsmanship) and 10.1 (Unethical Conduct).
The NCAA plans to collect and test bats at many sites of this year’s championships. Any bats found to be out of compliance or showing signs of altering may not be allowed in subsequent play.

Our email inquiry to Mr. Paronto has just been sent, so stay tuned for more info from his corner, and updates on our own inquiries around college baseball.

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Understanding BESR Certification for Baseball Bats

(Ball Exit Speed Ratio)
Dr. James Ashton-Miller, Dr. Michael Carroll,
Dr. Kenneth Johnson, Dr. Alan Nathan
NCAA Baseball Research Panel
Todd Petr, Ty Halpin

The NCAA requires that all nonwood bats be certified so as to limit their “liveliness.”
The certification process is accomplished by measuring the performance of a bat under
controlled conditions and then assigning a number to it; this number is known as the
BESR (Ball Exit Speed Ratio). To be certified, the BESR of the bat must fall at or below
a predetermined value set by the NCAA. This paper discusses the concept of the BESR.
The Ball-Bat Collision
Figure 1 shows a ball and a bat just before the collision and the ball just after the collision
(the position of the ball after the collision has been moved downward for the sake of
Figure 1 The ball-bat collision.

The speeds involved in the collision are:
Vpitch = speed of the pitched ball just before it collides with the bat.
Vbat = speed of the bat just before it collides with the ball. This is the bat
speed at the point of impact.
Vball exit = exit speed of the ball just after it leaves the bat.
What Is the BESR?
The BESR is a number, once known, that allows one to determine the ball exit speed
Vball exit when the bat speed Vbat and the pitch speed Vpitch are specified. The relationship
between the BESR and these speeds is:
( 1 ) ( 1 )
ball exit 2 bat 2 pitch V = BESR + V + BESR − V (1)
`As an example, suppose the BESR for a particular ball-bat collision is 0.65, and that the
bat and pitch speeds are Vbat = 70 mph and Vpitch = 75 mph. The ball exit speed would be
( 1 )( ) ( 1 )( )
ball exit 2 2 V = 0.65 + 70 mph + 0.65 − 75 mph = 92 mph
Conversely, if one measures the bat speed, the pitch speed, and the ball exit speed, then
Equation 1 can be used to determine the BESR (see Equation 2 below).
Note from Equation 1 that greater values of the BESR give rise to greater ball exit
speeds. Therefore, the BESR is a measure of the “liveliness” of the ball-bat collision and
it includes, for example, any “trampoline” effect that the non-wood bat may display (due
to its barrel being temporarily deformed by the ball during the collision).

Where does the BESR get its name?
When one algebraically solves Equation 1 for the BESR the result is
1 ( )
ball exit 2 pitch bat
pitch bat
When the speeds of the pitched ball and bat are the same (Vpitch = Vbat), Equation 2
ball exit
pitch bat
V + V
We see in this case that the BESR is equal to the ratio of the ball exit speed Vball exit to
the relative speed (Vpitch + Vbat) of the pitched ball and bat before the collision. Hence,
the name “Ball Exit Speed Ratio.”
How does the BESR Depend on the Properties of the Ball and Bat?
Figure 2 illustrates a ball just before colliding with the bat. The bat is assumed to be
clamped in a hitting machine and is free to rotate in the plane of the paper about the pivot
Figure 2 The bat pivot point and the distance r
from the pivot point to where the ball collides
with the bat.

The physics of the collision is described by applying the law of conservation of angular
momentum to the ball-bat interaction. When this law is used, along with the definition of
the coefficient of restitution (see below), we arrive at Equation 1, where the BESR is
given in terms of the properties of the ball and bat as1,2,3
+ 1 1
e mr
 
 − 
 
 
e = coefficient of restitution of the ball-bat collision. The coefficient of
restitution is defined as the ratio of the relative speed of the ball and bat after
the collision to that before the collision. Suppose that, before the collision,
the ball and bat are moving toward each other with a relative speed of
160 mph. Suppose, further, that after the collision the ball and bat are
moving with a relative speed of 80 mph. Then the coefficient of restitution
of the ball-bat collision is (80 mph)/(160 mph) = 0.5.
m = mass of the ball.
r = distance from the pivot point to where the ball hits the bat (see Figure 2).
Ip = moment of inertia of the bat about the pivot point. This parameter depends
on the mass of the bat as well as how the mass is distributed relative to the
pivot point. The more the mass is concentrated away from the pivot point,
the larger is the moment of inertia.
Note that the BESR depends on the properties of the ball (m), the bat (Ip), and the ball-bat
collision (e and r).

Why Use The BESR Rather Than Specify a Ball Exit Speed?
In general, different bat testing laboratories use different types of hitting machines:
(1) the pitched ball is moving and the bat is initially stationary, (2) the ball is stationary
and the bat is initially moving, and (3) both the pitched ball and bat are initially moving.
Even if each type of hitting machine is set up to have the same relative speed
(Vpitch + Vbat) of the pitched ball and bat, the ball exit speeds will be different. However,
all types of machines will give the same value for the BESR. This result, while not
obvious, is a direct consequence of Equation 1.
What Is The Maximum Allowed Value For The BESR?
When bats were first tested in 1999, an initial lot of baseballs was used. The tests were
conducted by using a pitch speed of 70 mph and a bat speed (at a point 6 inches from the
end of the barrel) of 66 mph. Under these conditions, the best major league wood bat
yielded a BESR of 0.728, which the NCAA then set to be the maximum allowed value.
The graph shows a plot of ball exit speed (Vball exit) versus bat speed (Vbat) for the case
when the pitch speed is Vpitch = 80 mph. The straight line represents Equation 1 in which
the BESR has been set to the legal limit of 0.728. Any bat that gives rise to a ball exit
speed at or below this line is legal. Likewise, any bat that produces a ball exit speed
above this line is illegal.
60 70
Vbat (mph)
Vball exit (mph)
BESR = 0.728
Vpitch = 80 mph

Subsequent tests on non-wood bats used different lots of new baseballs. Because the
properties of balls differ from lot to lot, even when they are stored and used in a
humidity-controlled room, the BESR is adjusted to account for these differences.
Therefore, the maximum allowed value for the BESR changes slightly, depending on the
particular lot of baseballs used in testing a given non-wood bat. However, in every case,
the BESR of the non-wood bat is always compared with that of major league wood bats
tested in the same machine with the same lot of baseballs under standardized ball-bat
testing conditions.
1M. M. Carroll, “Assessment and regulation of baseball bat performance,” Symposium on Trends
in the Application of Mathematics to Mechanics, edited by P. E. O’Donoghue and J. N. Flavin
(Elsevier, Amsterdam, 2000), p. 17.
2A. M. Nathan, “Dynamics of the baseball-bat collision,” Am. J. Phys. 68, 979−990 (2000).
3A. M. Nathan, “Characterizing the performance of baseball bats,” Am. J. Phys. 71 (2), 134−143
(February 2003).

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Friday, January 08, 2010

A new site, some new perspectives

With 2010 already showing signs of being a topsy-turvy sports year, we've located a new site that promises some genuine off-the-record insights into breakthroughs and coaching/performance gurus who are affecting big and small changes in the way athletes train, compete and reach their goals in amateur and professional ranks. The site is called, and we highly recommend reading the sports section (and all sections if you have time) when you get a few minutes.

The first article we read was on pitching guru Donnie Watson of the Complete Athlete. Watson is away from D1 coaching now and out working (along w/ world-famous oath Dr. James Andrews) to prevent injury and change the mindsets of coaches and trainers who seem Hell-bent on putting pitchers through the injury-repair-injury cycle. Great article, and we're rooting for Watson, who's had some setbacks but continues to be a visionary in baseball throwing training and mechanics.

One more good point about GuruTrack: they're new, so subscribers can get free access, then 1/2 price subscriptions and eventually go to full price -- a whopping $9.95 a month. Big bargain at a much higher price. One of their editors also mentioned that they are entertaining all sorts of suggestions for experts to interview this year. If you know one (or more), nominate them at the site's "Sneak Peek" page. You'll get immediate access to their free trial thereafter too.

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Friday, May 22, 2009

Donnie Watson wants to save baseball's youth

I just read this open letter to baseball parents, and then called Donnie Watson to learn more.

Holy crap. I have been part and parcel of a system that's killing careers, often before they even blossom.

I'm reprinting it here. Share this with someone you know or care about in baseball or softball.

An Open Letter to Baseball Parents...
You're a baseball parent, so I know this will be of interest to you, and the timing is crucial so please take a moment to read this message. If you don't have the time, bookmark this page-- come back to it later - it's that important.

Dear Baseball Parent,

My name is Donnie Watson. Because of a surge of interest from clients and staff I will be working in DFW this summer and coaching an 18U team. My passion is working with kids and involving their parents and coaches in the process of questioning and overcoming the traditional methods used to develop athletes in our sport.

Why this is important
Having experienced every level of baseball's evolution in Texas since the early 70's, I have an information set that will cause you to rethink the traditional choices available to teach and develop your baseball playing athlete.

There's a lot of info, and it is next to impossible to keep it short and sweet, but I'll try to keep it simple.

Simply put, baseball is broken, and the environment encountered by many of today's young athletes is full of information, people and issues that not only inhibit athletic development but also make it more difficult for these athletes to develop as leaders on and off the field.

Some of these issues include:

1. Misinformation about effective and safe pitching/throwing mechanics based on years of unchallenged theory and opinion
2. Dramatic increases in the number of avoidable arm, shoulder and lower back injuries as a direct result of improper mechanics, overuse and a lack of functional strength
3. Unhealthy competition environments where the result of the game becomes more important than how the game is played and where leadership examples set on the field and in the stands stand in stark contrast to the ideals we hope our young athletes copy
4. Missed opportunities to teach life lessons about nutrition, in the context of athletic development, where young athletes will find the information relevant to their performance
5. Cavalier attempts to address and eradicate the use of steroids and the just as frightening and important: the misuse of legal nutritional supplements in all sports
6. The lack of strength and flexibility to support the specific useable strength requirements of the overhead/rotational sport athlete, the workload cycles pitchers and position players incur throughout the year and the general disregard and disconnect the traditional power-based programs have shown to accept any responsibility for their part in the injury/surgery epidemic in our sport
7. General confusion about the recruiting process and how to compete for college scholarships and/or professional money.

I bet you didn't know how broken things could be, but you're a parent so I'm guessing you suspected something was wrong with the very systems we've relied on, and trusted.

Confusing Activity with Progress
You spend a lot of money and I know the outcome you hope to orchestrate. But for all the games we log each year in high school, summer and fall, not to mention all the lessons, camps and clinics we attend in the course of a year, I have yet to find a baseball player of any age that can tell me:

Based on science, the mechanics of a safe and efficient throwing delivery,
1. The functional strength requirements to duplicate a repetitive motion without getting hurt,
2. The nutritional factors needed to ensure optimal performance during a year of prepare, compete and repair cycles and,
3. The mental/emotional competencies he must master as the pool of talent and strategic execution improves to stay competitive.

It sounds like a lot to learn, but taken step-by-step, the boys that embrace it are the ones that stay healthy and surge ahead of their peers. As a parent you need to know these answers too.

Just for this summer, I want you to join me in the health and performance debate! We develop leaders on and off the field and build better baseball players because they want to take responsibility for their own development.

The Bottom Line?
The most important period of your son's performance cycle is about to begin.

90% of skill development happens from the last day of his spring season until the first day of the next spring. I will be doing a couple of Performance Symposium classes in the next couple weeks, at the Ben Hogan Center in Fort Worth, Texas and at the Top Prospects Academy (TPA) in Euless, Texas, to explain the information and format. I want to personally invite you and your son to attend.

I also want to speak with you directly to explain how the big picture relates to you, your athlete, his pursuit of high-performance and the attention that comes with it. Please reply directly to this email with the best time and telephone number to reach you.

You can also call me anytime @ 214.704.8017 if you want to chat sooner.


Donnie Watson
The Complete Athlete

P.S. If you haven't already signed up to receive our new free eNews (formerly a Members-only service) simply click here to send an email to our system or fill in the form here. We never share emails or info with any outsiders. Period.

Phone: 214.704.8017

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Thursday, May 07, 2009

The 10 Training Guidelines for Athletes Who Participate in Throwing Activities

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is an excerpt from the Complete Athlete's Members-Only eNewsletter. This list is considered by many to be the commandments for throwers to help pitchers and position players train more effectively while avoiding injury.

To subscribe to the free version of their eNews, click here.

The 10 Training Guidelines for Athletes Who Participate in Throwing Activities

1. Static stretching can artificially stretch the tendons and ligaments, which is counterproductive for a thrower. Avoid static stretching before the core temperature is elevated. Dynamic flexibility and range-of-motion movements (think Dynamic Warm Up) are more movement friendly and effective. You must think “flex” the muscle instead of “stretch” the muscle in a Warm Up to Loosen Up to Throw sequence when preparing the body for practice and competition.

2. Training while standing on either or both feet on a stable surface must be complemented with training on an unstable surface. Train on stable and unstable surfaces. This is more important for pitchers. A baseball/softball pitcher or throwing athlete is not on both feet at the same time during a delivery. For baseball pitchers that work down a slope (that is rarely uniform from one mound to another) and not on flat ground maintaining balance and posture on unstable surfaces during development training must be incorporated into a daily activity.

3. Absolute strength, developed in the weight room, doesn’t necessarily translate to useable strength on the mound or on the ball field. Being able to bench press 250 pounds doesn’t mean that you will be able to throw 95mph.
Remember: Absolute strength is not the answer and absolute strength training must be sport specific and relative to developing the skills needed to compliment competitive performance and injury prevention.

4. It is dangerous to quickly lift heavy weights. Heavy weight moved quickly (as in power lifting) may be good for muscles, but is definitely bad for the body’s joints. Throwing is already a joint-stressing activity. Heavy lifting without regard to muscular symmetry and joint integrity is especially inappropriate for throwers.

5. Don’t equate power-lifting strength with throwing strength. Power lifting is linear and not specific to throwing. Throwing is a powerful movement, but not, by strict definition a power movement. Throwing is the summation of linear and rotational forces delivered into a softball/baseball. Throwing/pitching is more a function of timing (i.e. the sequential order of unlocking angles) than a function of time.

6. Train for flexibility. Strength without flexibility is useless to a thrower.

7. Train the small muscles first. Throwers are only as strong as their weakest link. In the sequential muscle loading and translation of energy through the kinetic chain- from the feet to the fingertips, synergists and secondary muscle groups have the priority over prime movers.

8. You will never throw harder than your genetic predisposition. The type and percent composition of muscle tissue (slow twitch/red muscle fiber vs. fast twitch/ white muscle fiber) is genetically determined. Research has shown, however, that you can enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of what muscle tissue you have by properly overloading and under loading resistance training. This type of weight work can help a thrower increase the capacity of their genetically determined maximum velocity.

9. Support your throwing strength efforts with stamina training. To perform at the maximum level of your potential, you must engage in stamina training, as well as resistance training. Stamina work requires a balance between aerobic activity for delivery system efficiency and anaerobic activity for enhanced lung capacity.

10. Ensure that the integrated-training modalities in which you engage are cross-specific to the biomechanics of an efficient delivery to create usable strength, not absolute strength. The natural pathway programming of movement efficiency works best when resistance-training protocols properly address the composition of muscle mass by finding a balance between bulk, lean, and fat. Too much bulk precludes flexibility, too much lean exacerbates joint trauma and micro-tears and slows down recovery time, and too much fat impedes neurological efficiency and energy translation (nerves don’t work
in fat).

Training a thrower requires a paradigm shift from the traditional approaches used to conditioning an athlete. You need to integrate the prepare, compete, and repair cycles of softball/baseball with traditional volume, load, frequency, intensity, and duration training variables. In addition, this on-the-field and in-the-gym training must be done in three positions (circle, figure 8, upright) with three movements (linear, circular, angular) and in three torso planes (sagittal, transverse, frontal) using isometric, concentric, and eccentric resistance in a closed-chain/ open chain sequence. Protocols should integrate cross- specific flexibility work, body work, joint-integrity work, machine work, and free-weight work for useable strength and endurance, and be complemented with enough cardiopulmonary work to develop an efficient stamina base to support the prepare, compete, repair cycles.

With regard to a stamina base, it should be noted that softball/baseball (like most sporting activities) requires both anaerobic and aerobic production of energy.

To hear a quick summary of these thrower's rules click on the audio button below.

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