Pitch-a-Palooza Review

Posted: January 9, 2018 in Baseball, General Health
Tags: , , ,

I had an awesome weekend in Franklin, Tennessee at Pitch-a-Palooza. Needless to say I learned a lot, but as I was thinking about the weekend on the flight home, I had 3 big picture thoughts that stuck out to me.

The baseball world is changing, and it’s starting to change (relative to the history of baseball).

With 22 MLB organizations in attendance, it is clear that baseball is finally starting to change for the best. Clubs are thirsty for knowledge and are willing to look outside the box to get an edge. I met a few pitching instructors from various organizations that are baseball lifers (played pro ball now coach pro ball) that said if they aren’t willing to learn about sabermetrics and explore different teaching methods they would be pushed out. I almost teared up hearing this!

The number of college coaches there was simply amazing as well. One thing that Kyle Boddy has said quite a few times is that change in baseball will start from the bottom, so seeing so many college coaches there is even more encouraging for the future of baseball.

The best example of this is the weighted ball training. College programs adopted weighted ball training much earlier than the professional organizations. As players from the college programs that used weighted balls got drafted, they wanted to continue the program so the organizations could no longer squash it once the population was big enough.

Coaching is getting less and less mechanical, and much more movement driven.

Listening to Rick Strickland and Eugene Bleecker talk about the process they go through their evaluation and teaching process set this light bulb off for me.

It just makes too much sense how they explained teaching movement first and mechanics second. That is an extreme simplification of what they do, and I certainly don’t want to undermine how good they are at their job. But this is the way baseball instructing is going, and it’s beautiful! Seeing the before videos of a tight, mechanical swing transform into a free, athletic swing pumps me up.

Professional development can come outside of your immediate field.

The two main reasons I went to Pitch-a-Palooza were to make connections and be exposed to different coaching philosophies.

The baseball world is very small, so going to an event like this is worth its weight in gold for networking alone. Everyone that I spoke to was extremely friendly and willing to share their knowledge. I heard some great stories and learned a lot from conversations in between presentations and at the Saturday night hot stove.

Only 3 presentations were directly related to the strength and conditioning field, but many dealt with movement, communication, and/or teaching methods. Where I used to dismiss information that didn’t pertain to my niche, I now appreciate any outside the box thinking from any profession. For instance, Tony Robichaux (Head Coach of Louisiana Lafayette), presented entirely on how their team throws bullpens.

While this has zero effect on my job, I appreciated the different methods he used and it made me question if there are ways I could improve my program but haven’t simply because it would go against the status quo.

All in all it was an amazing weekend. I can’t wait to go back next year and if your career has anything to do with baseball I would highly recommend going.

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