Why baseball movement assessments matter

Baseball movement assessment taking place with Casey Legumina and DJ Edwards.

An important area we believe in to reach success, along with our culture in the facility, is how thorough we are in our initial movement assessments and programming. 

Often, strength programs can be “cookie-cutter one-size-fits-all” programs, which don’t always benefit athletes’ individual goals and bodies. 

Baseball development is unique and requires specific demands of skill and performance, as well as a holistic approach to bettering the player. 

We need to take this into account while looking at the overall picture and goals.  

Baseball movement assessment set-up

Starting with a thorough assessment is vital to start the process of proper development. 

We must check the boxes of deficiencies and strengths for each athlete before we build them their 100%-customized program. 

Our programs are not “shiny” or built to go viral on social media. We stick to our core lifts, which are determined by the assessment on what the athlete is able to do and their goals. 

Where we get super-personalized is in variation of that core lift prescribed, based on the needs of the athlete, their body, and their goals. 

In any strength program, if athletes aren’t being individually assessed, they are not fully aware of what’s going on with their bodies. 

Baseball movement assessment setup with Luke Mangieri and DJ Edwards.

Over the years, we have gathered information from numerous evaluations and built a unique format for baseball and softball players.

Needs and strengths are what make the athletes who they are. Sometimes, their asymmetries are what allows them to throw 95 mph or hit for plus power. This is why it is vital to assess, not guess. 

Knowing that, joint placement dictates muscle function and may limit an athlete’s performance from poor posture. 

A valid road map

Assessments are like roadmaps and they help guide strength coaches on which route to take for optimal results. 

Here are a few things we look for in our assessments:

  • We start with the way they walk in the door (foot pronation/ supination b, body in rotation, etc.)
  • Is there a depressed scap?
  • Hip tilt? 
  • What’s the head posture like? 
  • Ankles? Knees? 
  • Do they have military posture? 
  • Are they an athlete in extension or flexion in the lumbar spine? 
  • Is there internal/external rotation of limbs?
  • How does the athlete breathe? 
  • What’s their thoracic rotation, extension, and flexion looking like? 
  • How’s their scapular movement? Control endurance?
  • How’s their shoulder stability, ankle mobility, knee stability?
  • What about their anterior core strength and serratus anterior recruitment?
  • Laxity test – If the athlete is lax, we will include more stability. If the athlete is too stiff, we will include more mobility. 

Custom programming for individual needs 

Once we have fully assessed the athlete, we build their custom program off of their evaluation.

Like I mentioned above, we stick to the basics. As Bruce Lee said  “Fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who practiced one kick 10,000 times”. 

We do the same with our foundational lifts. We drill proper form in basic movements. 

Can the athlete hinge? Can the athlete squat? Can the athlete properly press and pull? Do they exhibit proper rotation and breathing patterns? 

Foundational strength is key and allows us to build off the foundation that has been built. 

Imagine this, Athlete A walks into the facility with his teammate, Athlete B. Athlete A is in extension with retracted scaps, has limited elbow extension and has limited hip IR. 

At the same time, Athlete B is very lax, lacks stability in his shoulder, elbow and knees, has a very flat back, scaps are winged, and has decreased lumbar curvature. 

What do you do? 

These two athletes need different programs, no questions asked. Truth is, a similar program for these two could injure or decrease strength. 

Do you want to put an already extended athlete into more extension? 

Do you want to add even more mobility to an already lax athlete? 

If you can train to increase an athlete’s strength, stability or power, it is possible to decrease them as well through improper programming. 

Athletes need programs that fit their unique bodies, their programming may need to change depending on their results, and they must be set up for success. 

Looking to set up your assessment today? Contact us here