I wasn’t gifted with an electric throwing arm, causing me to spend a lot of time learning how to throw faster and be a better pitcher as a young athlete.
Consider me a sponge for knowledge, asking coaches and players for their routines, reading books, and watching any video I could find on what made high-level throwers tick.
I spent a ton of time analyzing the routines of professional pitchers and comparing them to my own.
Despite my best efforts, I failed to win a Cy Young and washed out of baseball.
But I decided to coach, landing a job with the Oakland Athletics in their strength and conditioning department.
I spent four years learning how numerous training philosophies may coexist within pro sports as most athletes have their own style, technique, or regimen that got them to where they are.
But there are a few constants a part of every training program that I struggled with.
When I used to pitch, I often adjusted among training methods because I thought it would trigger a result. All of the variance I incorporated into my game made me average at many things but not exceptional at one.
In many cases, young athletes struggle to see results due to too much variability.
Playing multiple sports is important for athletic development, but it takes sticking to a routine for years before seeing dividends.
Most routines stand up to the test of time if they are done thoroughly and consistently.
If you’re thinking of trying a new program or exercise routine, learn everything there is to know and stick with it.
I never heard the words, “Kevin, you should throw a little more” because I was always throwing and training.
But my ability to recover dwindled as I aged. I ran into overuse issues that shouldn’t have been there. My tissue quality was horrible, and sleep felt hard to come by. I was consistently tired but didn’t notice.
What successful professionals do really well is prioritize recovery. Extra training or throwing needs to have a reason, or it won’t be done. Every exercise needs to have a reason and a plan. Otherwise, it’s creating additional stress.
Build your training program around recovery. When do you need to feel your best? When can you afford to be fatigued?
Thorough Preparation / Warm Up
When I looked at a training program as a young athlete, my eyes would immediately go to the big lifts of the day or how far I was going to long toss.
Professionals do a great job of preparing to train. If something is off, they correct it before trying to train aggressively.
Band work is done with the same amount of focus as throwing a bullpen. Foam rolling is prioritized just the same as heavy-weighted exercises in the gym.
Most training programs are centered around a few major exercises, making it easy to think that those are the only important items to focus on.
Professionals place importance on all aspects of a program, starting with their preparation and warm-up.
Maybe it’s biking or jump rope to get your body temperature up, or perhaps it’s some foam rolling to get your legs feeling a little less heavy.
Whatever it is, placing importance on your preparation is one way to train like a professional.
Willingness to Adapt
I worked with six different pitching coaches, four different strength and conditioning coaches, and a host of other people who looked at themselves as “gurus” that could provide me with a new idea to get better.
If I changed my routine, it would hurt how prepared I felt for that day.
What professionals do well is take information and apply it without emotion. If a new drill or exercise can help them, they apply it and assess the results.
By removing emotion or superstition from that process, professionals can build upon their routine without affecting their mentality on the field. Being pliable with new information is critical in today’s game.
There are plenty of players out there with the physical ability to play baseball at a high level. One major factor that separates successful professionals from the rest is their mentality around their preparation.
Being consistent, prioritizing recovery, warming up thoroughly, and being pliable to new ideas all factor into success.
Try using these principles in your daily routine and see if they help.