Conditioning tests, although common place in today’s world of athletics can vary from sport to sport and even team to team. Some organizations will use a specific test that has been passed down over the years as a tradition…
Conditioning tests, although common place in today’s world of athletics can vary from sport to sport and even team to team. Some organizations will use a specific test that has been passed down over the years as a tradition and some may not find the value in doing one at all. Conducting a conditioning test with no purpose, plan, or specific intent is not wise and will lead to nothing more than injury potential and typically non-specific energy system stress. However, a well thought-out and organized conditioning test can show you more than just an athlete’s current state of aerobic/anaerobic capacity, but also the mental toughness and effort that any given athlete is capable of.
Tests range anywhere from timed distance runs to multiple shuttle runs that must be completed in a predetermined time. It is always in the athlete’s best interest to understand what and if there is a conditioning test when joining a new team so that they can take the appropriate steps to prepare for whatever will be required of them at the start of their season. Nothing is more disappointing to coaches and strength coaches than an athlete who cannot meet the initial requirements for beginning the season. These athletes are typically always trying to “catch up” with the other athletes and often times playing time will be restricted until the athlete is considered ready by the staff.
We use long shuttle variations to evaluate our players when they report to Spring Training. All the players are informed of the requirements to pass the test and a detailed off-season lifting and conditioning program is given to each athlete to help them prepare for Spring Training, the upcoming season, and the conditioning test. We test all of our players within the first 3 days of Spring Training and any player that cannot complete the test in the required time are then subject to extra, early conditioning everyday for the remainder of Spring Training. We want our players to report to Spring Training with the mindset of being ready to take the field and compete for a team. We do not want them to come to Spring Training to get into shape. So no matter the sport, or level of competition, you may find a conditioning test waiting for you. Will you be ready?
Donovan T. Santas CSCS,RSCC
Strength and Conditioning Coordinator
Toronto Blue Jays Baseball Club
Brian Jordan, Strength and Conditioning Coach, Colorado Rockies
Brian Jordan, RSCC, Major League Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Colorado Rockies. In 1998, Brian received his BS degree in Applied Exercise Science from Springfield College. Following a brief internship at the United States Naval Academy Jordan was hired in 1998 as a strength and conditioning coach for the University of Massachusetts – Amherst. Jordan began his strength and conditioning career in professional baseball in 1999 as a Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Detroit Tigers. That year Jordan was the strength and conditioning coach for the AAA Toledo Mud Hens. After the season, during the 1999 off-season Jordan was hired by the Colorado Rockies as their Minor League Strength and Conditioning Coordinator in which he served for 9 years before entering into his current position in 2009.
For years, Professional organizations not just MLB, sent their players home for the off-season to rest, train and be ready for the next season essentially on their own. A lot of these athletes would get an off-season job, go back to school and in some cases just rest and get ready for the next season.
This brings us to present day professional sports. Most athletes today make enough money or have a signing bonus great enough to not have to work in the off-season. With that being said, professional athletes are now training year round for their respective sports. This is the result of many factors. One, not having to work frees up time and energy to focus on their physical development. Two, most athletes come to their pre-season or Spring Training ready to compete rather than get ready when they get there. This means guys need to be ready earlier if they want to win a job, not get hurt or embarrassed due to their lack of off-season preparation. Lastly, there are facilities and expert resources available that were not as readily available years ago. Training facilities for all athletes have popped up in the past 10-15 years widespread due to the needs and desires of athletes to get proper training and resources that relate specifically to their sport. These facilities provide a common place for athletes to commune, compete and to learn about everything from proper training to nutrition and recovery.
This past spring, the Colorado Rockies and the Arizona Diamondbacks opened the Spring Training Facility Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Scottsdale, Arizona. This facility marks what I believe is a shift in how Professional Organizations view the development of their athletes.
We had the opportunity to build what should be considered a state of the art Athletic Development Facility. The 85,000 sq. ft. facility consists of a clubhouse for all Major League and Minor League Players and staff, 6 full baseball fields, 2 ½ fields, covered batting cages, pitching mounds and a 40 yard x 100 yard conditioning field. The clubhouse has in it a Major League and a Minor League Training Room with a common wet area that has (4) 8 person hot/cold tank and an underwater treadmill, a full cafeteria for all players and staff, a video room and a 6,500 sq. ft. weight room. That is just on our side of the complex. The only thing we share with the Diamondbacks is the 11,000-seat capacity ballpark where all the Major League Spring Training home games for both teams are played.
A facility that was originally designed for 2 months of use to get ready for the season has now evolved into a year round athletic development facility. Our athletes will now have a place where in the off-season they can lift, run, throw, hit, rehab and utilize recovery techniques, all under the expert tutelage of our organization’s staff. This will allow for players to be smoothly transitioned from their off-season program to Spring Training to their in-season routines. Instructional and Fall League programs and mini-camps will also be run in the facility to further the young players’ development progress.
So, from the day a player signs, he will have the resources year round to develop every facet of his athletic development under one roof with the people in the organization whom he will work with for many years to come.
The Colorado Rockies are building this type of facility and concept in the Dominican Republic as well. This facility will be a smaller version of our Salt River Fields Facility at roughly 29,000 sq. ft. and a 2,400 sq ft weight room. In the Dominican we have 16-19 old athletes who will not only physically develop as I explained earlier but also develop the language and social skills to ease the transition from their country to here in the U.S.
Although the road to the Major Leagues for many will be long and challenging to say the least, today’s athletes have a tremendous opportunity to develop into the best athlete that their desires, work ethic and ability will allow.
For more information or questions, please contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Professional Baseball Strength & Conditioning Coaches Society (PBSCCS) and the Pittsburgh Pirates are providing an exciting opportunity for two local high schools in the Pittsburgh area to become Pittsburgh Pirates ATLAS & ATHENA Schools. Through this program, sport teams will receive the nationally acclaimed ATLAS and ATHENA programs. ATLAS and ATHENA are award-winning, evidence-based health promotion and drug prevention programs for high school athletes.
Schools will receive:
- Curriculum materials to implement the ATLAS and ATHENA Programs with all of their school sports teams
- Program training for all participating coaches and select student-athlete leaders, hosted by the PBSCCS and Pirates (includes transportation, breakfast snack and boxed lunch)
- Stipends for coaches to implement the programs with their sport teams ($100)
- Local and national recognition from the PBSCCS and Pirates
- A school banner and t-shirts for all participants
- Coaches must be able to attend a half-day training at the Pirates stadium to learn how to implement ATLAS and/or ATHENA. Transportation, breakfast snack and boxed lunch will be provided.
- Coaches agree to schedule and complete 10 ATLAS or 8 ATHENA program sessions during the 2011-2012 academic year.
- Coaches agree to participate in the training only if they are committed to implementing ATLAS and ATHENA within their teams for the program.
- Coaches will receive a $100 stipend at the completion of the program.
Director of Implementation and Distribution
Oregon Health & Science University
ATLAS and ATHENA are copyrighted programs of the Center for Health Promotion Research at Oregon Health & Science University. More program information is available at www.atlasprogram.com.
Jim Malone is in his sixth year as the head strength and conditioning coach for the Padres’ the 2011 campaign marks his15th season in professional baseball. Joined San Diego’s staff after serving as the Cleveland Indians Minor league strength and conditioning coordinator from 2004-05.
Began his baseball career with the Indians as the strength coach for Single-A Watertown in 1997 moved on to Cleveland’s Triple-A Buffalo affiliate where he was on the same staff as Padres Manager Bud Black for the 1998 International League champion Buffalo Bisons.
Served as minor league strength and conditioning coordinator for the Kansas City Royals (2000-01) and head strength and conditioning coach for the New York Mets (2002). Is a Certified and Registered Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS®), a member of the National Strength and Conditioning
Association and a Certified Club Coach through USA Weightlifting in December 2008, was elected president of the Professional Baseball Strength and Conditioning Coaches Society (PBSCCS) after serving as the vice president of that group since 2007. Appointed by the Commissioner’s Office to serve on the Major League Baseball Strength & Conditioning Advisory Committee, the MLB Medical Advisory Committee, and MLB’s Electronic Medical Records Advisory Committee.
A native of Buffalo, NY, he graduated from the University of Rochester where he was an NSCA All-American defensive tackle and placed fifth in the 1989 Collegiate National Power Lifting Championships in the 242-pound weight class, earning All- American honors.
Born May 9, 1967, Malone began his coaching career as a football and strength coach at his alma mater, followed by stints at Princeton University, Albright College and Columbia University.
Matthew C. Krause enters his ninth season in the Reds organization. He spent his first 2 seasons as the organization’s minor league strength and conditioning coordinator. Prior to joining the Reds, Krause spent 3 years in the Pittsburgh system, where he served as the strength coach at Class A Hickory (2000) and then as minor league strength and conditioning coordinator (2001-02). From 1997-00, Krause was the assistant strength and conditioning coach at the University of Central Florida. He also worked as an intern with the Chicago Cubs’ Class A affiliate at Daytona in 1999 and as a volunteer intern with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during their training camp in 1998.
Krause earned his bachelor’s degree in exercise and sports science from East Carolina University in 1997 and his master’s degree in physical education and wellness from Central Florida in 1999. He is a Certified and Registered (CSCS-R) Strength and Conditioning coach from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) and a NATA Certified Athletic Trainer. He also holds a certification from the USWF Club Coach level. Matt is a member of the NSCA Performance Committee and a speaker for the NSCA Coaches Conferences.
Matthew is the Vice President of the Professional Baseball Strength & Conditioning Coaches Society (PBSCCS). He has been a speaker and a participant of the PBSCCS since 2002.
He is a former member of the U.S. Marine Corps. Krause lives in South Venice,FL with his wife LuzMaria, daughter Olivia and son Matthew.
Brendon Huttmann was named the Pirates Major League Strength and Conditioning Coach on October 24, 2011. He spent the previous four seasons (2008-2011) in the same capacity with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Prior to joining the Dodgers, Huttmann spent five seasons (2003-07) in the Cleveland organization. From 2003 to 2006 he served as a minor league strength coach (AA / AAA). Then, in 2007, was promoted to Minor League Strength and Conditioning Coordinator / Major League Assistant strength coach where he served two seasons. Additionally, in 2002, he worked for the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) prior to the 2002 Olympics with athletes preparing for the Winter Olympic games. He also worked as a minor league strength coach in the Colorado organization in 2002.
Huttmann is a 2002 graduate of the University of Kansas, where he worked with the Jayhawks baseball team and earned a degree in exercise science and kinesiology. He was also a member of the Hutchinson Community College baseball team where he earned his associates degree.
Brendon has been the PBSCCS Secretary for one season. He is a Certified and Registered (CSCS-R) Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). Additionally, he has been attending the annual Strength Coach meetings since he became a strength coach in 2006.
In 2011 Vazquez is entering his 6th season as the Texas Rangers Strength and Conditioning Coach. He spent the previous four seasons with the New York Mets. In 2005 he was the Director of Rehab, from 2002-2004 he was the club’s Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coordinator.
Prior to joining the Mets, he was the Sports Physical Therapist for the Therapy Center in Knoxville, Tenn. and Methodist Medical Center in Oak Ridge, Tenn. from 1998-2001. In 1998, he was a co-founder of TNT sports specific training in Knoxville.
After earning second team All-American honors at the University of Tennessee in 1992, Vazquez was selected by St. Louis in the 42nd round of the 1992 June draft. He played professionally for three seasons as an outfielder in the Cardinals organization and for the Northern League’s Duluth club.
Vazquez graduated from Tennessee with a BS degree in education in 1994 and received his masters of physical therapy from Nova Southeastern in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. in 1998.
Vazquez co-authored a book “Total Fitness for Baseball” with Dr. Jay Hoffman. Vazquez has a published an NSCA article called “Anthropometric and Performance Comparisons in Professional Baseball Players.”
Jose has been the PBSCCS treasurer for the last for 4 seasons. He is a Certified and Registered (CSCS-R) Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). Additionally, he has been attending the annual Strength Coach meetings since he became a strength coach in 2002.
By Rob Biertempfel, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Sunday, May 8, 2011
When it comes to sleeping, Pirates right-hander Ross Ohlendorf is a night owl. That can be great when he pitches in a late game on the West Coast but not so much when he starts an afternoon game at PNC Park.
“I tend to not want to go to bed early, and I don’t want to get up (early),” Ohlendorf said. “If I sleep 7 1/2 hours, I usually feel pretty good. Nine, I usually feel better.” The turnaround from a night game to a day game is quick, robbing players of sleep. Travel also disrupts players’ sleeping habits. A two- or three-city road trip usually involves switching at least one time zone, which throws off a person’s internal clock. Making matters worse, teams tend to fly overnight and arrive in the next city in the wee hours.
“Going coast to coast, it definitely messes with your sleep patterns,” Ohlendorf said. To help manage their sleep routines, the Pirates this year hired Bill Sirois, senior vice president of Circadian, a firm specializing in 24/7 workforce performance and safety solutions.
The Massachusetts-based company advises construction workers who toil on the graveyard shift as well as globe-trotting CEOs. Sirois’ firm consults the Cleveland Indians and three NFL teams that he declined to identify. ”We’re hard-wired to be daytime creatures,” Sirois said. “But now we work, play and do so much else at night, and that can be difficult. It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature.”
Even a small change to a sleep pattern can be disruptive, Sirois said. He cited a study that showed auto accidents increase by 8 percent the day when Daylight Savings Time begins.
“Just an hour’s shift or loss of sleep can have an impact,” Sirois said. “Translate to finely tuned athletes, and you can understand why a guy will hit three home runs one night then strike out four times the next.”
That could explain why Ohlendorf’s career stats in day games are slightly worse than those in night games.
Last year, the Pirates as a team hit better in night games (.245 batting average, .683 OPS) than day games (.234, .663).
Perhaps Sirois is having an effect. The Pirates just took four of six games on a swing through Denver and San Diego. They are 5-2 in day games on the road. Just five weeks into the season, the Pirates already have won more road series (five) than they did all of last season (four). They are 11-8 on the road after winning just 17 of 81 road games last season.
Pirates head conditioning coordinator Frank Velasquez figures that in order to become winners again, the team must first become the Slumber Company. ”Not everyone has to lift weights, but everyone has to sleep,” Velasquez said. “So why not improve our quality of sleep, especially considering how much we travel?” Last season, the Pirates went 2-11 in the Western time zone, 3-3 in the Mountain zone and 8-28 in the Central zone. Velasquez puzzled over that awful road record all winter.
“We’ve researched different areas of recovery,” Velasquez said. “We do cold tanks, we do hydration and nutrition, and we stretch these guys out to keep them feeling good for as long as we can. One area we’d really never covered was sleep.” Sirois addressed the players and coaches in January at the Pirates’ minicamp in Bradenton, Fla. He continues to work closely with Velasquez, charting the players’ travel routines and their sleep patterns at home and on the road. Researchers have identified several different sleep personalities based on factors such as when a person falls asleep and wakes up without prompting and the number of hours slept. The extremes are what Sirois calls “morning larks” (early risers) and “night owls” (those who sleep in past 9 a.m.). Most people are “robins,” meaning they usually awaken around 7:30 a.m. Sirois wants players to remain on their natural sleep patterns as much as possible when traveling. On the Pirates’ recently completed Western swing, Velasquez charted game start and end times and time spent in transit. He also tried to track how each player behaved: Did he go to bed right away or stay up until what would’ve been 6 a.m. on the East Coast? ”When we go from home to the West Coast, usually the second and third days are the toughest,” second baseman Neil Walker said. “Your body starts to adjust, but you’re fighting it. By the sixth inning of that second game, it’s 8:30 p.m. but you’re working on 11:30 p.m. in your brain.”
Sirois told the players to adjust to Pacific Time by going to sleep at a “normal” time (around 1 a.m. after a game that ends around 11 p.m.) and not setting the alarm clock.
There’s a bigger challenge when the Pirates return from California because the time zone change costs them three hours. The effects of jet lag can be more severe the first few days in Pittsburgh than they were in San Diego, Sirois said.
“Traveling west to east, you’re going against the grain of your biology,” he said. “The strategy is to get to bed an hour early if you can and wake up early, get some sunlight in the morning, then try to squeeze in a 20-minute nap in the mid afternoon.”
It’s too early to say whether Sirois’ program will produce tangible, long-term results. But the early returns are favorable.
“We tried to reconstruct their road routines, which can make a difference,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “You can fall into ruts and routines that are completely different than they are at home. We’re trying to keep them fresh, keep them simulated and really just play good baseball.”
Core function includes development of proper balance, symmetry and posture. In order to discuss this development it’s important to define these terms and put them into perspective. My definition of balance and symmetry starts with the joints.