Professional Baseball Strength & Conditioning

Rick Slate – Atlanta Braves

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Rick Slate is entering his 23rd year of work in professional baseball and 27th in strength and conditioning. He is completing his fourth year as Director of Strength and Conditioning for the Atlanta Braves. Rick’s first job in professional baseball was with the Florida Marlins. He joined the Marlins in 1992, one year prior their inaugural season (1993) and spent ten years (1992-2001) as their Head Strength and Conditioning Coach. After leaving the Marlins, he spent eight seasons with the New York Mets as the Head Strength and Conditioning (2002-2010)

Prior to entering professional baseball, Rick worked at the collegiate level for four years serving as an assistant strength and conditioning coach at Florida State (1988-1991). Success seems to follow wherever Rick goes. His collegiate teams made it to the Sweet 16 in basketball, College World Series in baseball and Sugar and Fiesta Bowls in Football. Rick’s success continued when he entered professional baseball. His 1997 Marlins team won the World Series and two teams (2006 Mets and 2013 Braves) were NL East champions.

Rick graduated from FSU earning a BS in Sports Management in 1989 and a MS in Athletic Administration in 1992. He is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach (CSCS*E) and Registered (CSCS*R) Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). He also holds numerous other certifications including CrossFit Level 1, SFG Kettlebell Instructor Level 1, USAW Club Coach Level 1, USTF Level 1 and CPR.

Rick and his wife of 15 years, Rebecca, reside in St. Augustine, FL in the off-season with their daughters Layla (15) and Jada (12). His recreational interests include weight training, kettlebells, CrossFit, yoga, surfing and stand up paddle boarding.

His advice to athletes in all sports, males and females, recreational and professional is as follows:

Play and participate because you love the game, the competition and your teammates. Utilize strength and conditioning as a tool to enhance your ability to become stronger, stable, mobile and durable. Learn and understand the importance of using food as fuel and supplementation as an additional recovery tool. Never under estimate the value of sleep. The knowledge you obtain during your career, should evolve equally as your skills and your training are enhanced.

His advice to anyone contemplating a career in professional baseball is:

Show up early and stay late. Be prepared to learn. Pro baseball is the most difficult of all sports to train. A competitive season can last 7 months or longer; you play every day, travel, change time zone and make all-night fights. There is a true “Art” to being a successful strength and conditioning coach in professional baseball on any level. But understand, it about two things: 1) consistent training and 2) training fundamentals. Whatever you think your fundamentals should be, do them consistently win or lose. Lastly, always strive to “evolve” as a teacher, communicator and coach. Work endlessly to master these three components.

His approach training philosophy is: “What we do is simple but it’s not easy”. To be a successful strength and conditioning coach in professional baseball, you must: 1) understand that the demands of the game are pitching, throwing, hitting, fielding, running, etc.; 2) master the fundamentals of training athletes and recovery before you can have a strong and proven approach to training; 3) understand that you are a teacher as well as a student (you can learn a lot from players); 4) communicate your methods and beliefs and 5) coach your ass of every day. If you can do these five things, you have a good chance of making a career in this industry.


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