I spent four days down in Montgomery, TX with 160+ pitching coaches from all ranks (pros, college, high school) and areas of the country to hear the following speakers talk about training baseball pitchers:
- Ron Wolforth (Owner: Texas Baseball Ranch – Montgomery, TX)
- Lee Fiocchi (Owner: Dynamic Sports Training – Houston, TX)
- Ken Knutson (Pitching Coach: Arizona State University)
- Brent Strom (Pitching Coordinator: St. Louis Cardinals)
- Fred Corral (Pitching Coach: University of Memphis)
- Chris Holt (Pitching Director: Pro Bound USA)
- Doug White (Pitching Coach, Low-A: Houston Astros)
- Eric Binder (Professional Pitcher: St. Louis Cardinals, many indy teams)
This lineup of speakers produced some amazing content – from the understanding of how Coach Knutson implemented concepts from The Athletic Pitcher into his college programs at the University of Washington and Arizona State University, to accelerated arm recovery by Lee Fiocchi, to advanced deceleration training methods by Coach Corral, to blending Marshall-specific work by Chris Holt… I could go on, and on, and on!
Oh yeah, and for some reason, Ron decided that he’d include me as a speaker!
My talks were on collecting data on pitching mechanics as well as the general training philosophies of our Elite Training Program and our MaxVelo program. I spoke about wearable computing, the use of high-speed video to evaluate training programs (like my work on the NPA’s Velocity program), how we use weighted baseballs in training, why we lift heavy weights, and many other topics.
My advice to you: If you can get to one of these camps, you absolutely need to. The sheer amount of information you get in a concise and clear manner is worth the price of admission, to say nothing of the hospitality that the Wolforth’s provide and the outstanding networking opportunities that such a conference provides a coach.
I have to give my special thanks to Ron and Jill Wolforth, who treated me like absolute royalty while down there. The car ride from the airport to the Texas Baseball Ranch (an amazing place on its own, mind you) was the best 45-minute traffic-packed experience of my life. I got to speak freely with Coach Wolforth, Chris Holt, Ken Knutson, and Doug White about baseball, pitching mechanics, and training – a luxury I am not often afforded. Simply sitting there absorbing the amount of material they freely shared would have been amazing enough, but Ron made sure to involve me in the talks and discussions so I could get some words in myself.
Ron runs a first-class organization down at the Texas Baseball Ranch, and we agree on a great many things as it pertains to training pitchers. However, what struck me as the most impressive trait about Ron was the fact that he was extremely willing to learn and adapt to new information. When I challenged him (politely) about his motto: Leading the World in Objective Measurement of Baseball Skills when it came to pronation (how do you measure this?), he responded positively and wanted to work together to implement my wearable computing solutions at his location to further test his theories.
Getting to meet and speak with the UCLA pitching coach, Jim Wagner (the owner of ThrowZone in Santa Clarita, CA) was a great experience, as I traded information about high-speed cameras and biomechanical analysis methods we use in our lab/training facility, while they told me about all the problems they had with their cameras (which I remembered very well from my first time using them).
If you can’t make it down there, I highly recommend picking up the DVDs that are on sale for a limited time only. Teaser Alert: Fred Corral’s talk about advanced deceleration training is worth the price alone. I won’t spoil it more than that, but you have to trust me on that one!
Again, thanks so much to the Wolforth’s (including Garrett!) for having me down there and treating me extremely well. I look forward to visiting again and working with the Texas Baseball Ranch to roll out some new ways to evaluate training methods!