“” CASE STUDY: College Hitter Makes Crazy Gains in the Weight Room - Driveline Baseball

CASE STUDY: College Hitter Makes Crazy Gains in the Weight Room

| Blog Article, Hitting
Reading Time: 8 minutes

STRENGTH

Henry Strmecki is one of the strongest and most powerful athletes that the high performance staff has assessed since implementing force plate testing over a year ago. A common theme you will see with him throughout this blog is that all of his numbers are at least one standard deviation above the mean compared to professional athletes. Strmecki is still in college and his ceiling will continue to climb. 

Become the Hitter You Want To Be

Train at Driveline

Strmecki showed above average strength and power metrics in his initial assessment. When we reopened the gym in July after COVID restrictions eased up in the state of Washington, we still wanted him to build up some work capacity due to not having gym access for the months prior.

To achieve this, Strmecki completed a basic hypertrophy/strength phase before heading back to school. 

In January, Strmecki’s college season was cancelled due to another wave of COVID in his school’s area, but this did not deter him from getting better in the weight room. 

He told us when he came back that he was still recovering from a sprained ankle. 

The cause of said sprain was far from ordinary. His school’s weight room closed, so Strmecki took matters into his own hands. He brought a box, a squat rack, and got plates and a barbell and put them in his own dorm room. 

Dorm Room Setup

One day he was doing step ups and was using too much weight, and his foot went through the box. Strmecki  knew how much physical development mattered to continue getting better at his craft, even if it was at the cost of a sprained ankle. 

Since January, Strmecki has been doing power and speed work in the weight room preparing for his summer season. His jumps and strength numbers have continued to climb due to his hard work. 

Power and strength play a key role in why Strmecki can produce the type of hitting numbers he can. 

At one point this offseason, Strmecki was battling with an elite MLB hitter for the highest in-gym exit velocity record. 

Before we get into any specific numbers, the graphs you will see have white and red lines. The white lines represent in-gym averages for each metric. The red lines are one standard deviation above and below the means. For comparison purposes, we are putting Strmecki into the professional athlete category and comparing him against other professionals that we have assessed in-gym.

Above are these athletes’ player ratings which take into account key force plate metrics that we have deemed strong indicators to bat speed. 

The scale we use is 0-100, where having a ‘50’ player rating means an athlete would be in the 50th percentile. This athlete went from a 76 overall to a 97 overall in his most recent retest and holds the highest player rating from our assessments in-gym to date. 

Next thing we look at in the Driveline strength assessment is how much force an athlete can produce with their lower body. To test this, we have athletes complete an isometric mid-thigh pull (IMTP), after they complete their jumps. The IMTP is a maximal effort test where the athlete, with a set hip and knee angle, pulls on a bar for three seconds as hard as they can trying to get to peak force as quickly as possible. 

Strmecki went from a 3,080 N pull in July to a 4,193 N pull in March on his last retest, which is a 36 percent increase in a matter of eight months. To put this massive pull into perspective, the in-gym pro average is 3,434 N, placing Strmecki 22 percent above average.                                                                                     

These two graphs are representative of the countermovement jump (CMJ) and squat jumps (SJ) that our athletes complete during their strength assessment. 

The CMJ is representative of overall lower body power, while the SJ is testing just concentric lower body power. The goal of these two tests is to jump as high as possible. Again, Strmecki is well above the in-gym averages that we typically see in these two tests. 

In-gym pro averages for the CMJ and the SJ for jump height are 43.8 cm and 39.5 cm, respectively. 

Strmecki’s CMJ went from 55.8 cm in July to 58.6 cm at the end of March, and his SJ went from 51.4 cm in July to 58.3 cm in March. 

His peak power also increased by five and sixteen percent respectively between the CMJ and the SJ over the same time period. His power improvements, as you can see, were not nearly the same magnitude and in a linear fashion compared to his IMTP, however, he had much more room for growth in overall strength then he did power.  

  The last test in our assessment is the repeated hop test (RHS) which tests elasticity and stiffness. In layman’s terms, it shows how much force an athlete can produce quickly under a high eccentric load. 

Strmecki has always had a high reactive strength level. We saw a dip there in January due to his sprained ankle. However, he has seen steady improvements since he came back in-gym and his RSI is now at a 3.5. Our in-gym average is 2.6, which again puts him in one of the highest percentiles in the gym. 

To put how important strength and power are into perspective, this is a graph of all of our in-gym hitters that have gone through a strength assessment. 

This graph is representative of IMTP net peak force and SJ peak power. As Strmecki’s strength and power increased, they moved into the top right quadrant, which is high force output and high power. 

The red circles are where this athlete falls within these metrics. The top quadrant has an average top eighth bat speed of 73 mph. The bottom left quadrant, which is low force output and low power, has an average top eighth bat speed of 67.4 mph. 

In general, the stronger and more powerful an athlete gets, the higher the bat speed. 

Each of the dots on the graph represents an athlete and where they fall on the bell curves of strength and power. As we go from bottom left to top right, we generally see the dots turn from blue to red. The blue dots represent athletes that have sub-70 mph bat speed and the red dots represent athletes that have 75+ mph bat speed. 

For more information about our driveline high performance assessment, check out this blog and subsequent blogs going in depth about all the tests, how they are performed, and why we use these tests to assess athletes. 

Foundations of Hitting

30 modules teaching you everything we know about hitting and hitting mechanics.

HITTING

Bat Speed and Exit Velocity

On the hitting side of things, Strmecki showcases very impressive measurables. Two of the most important metrics we look at when evaluating hitters are average bat speed and top 8th exit velocity (the mean of a hitter’s top 12.5 percent hardest hit balls). Strmecki possesses elite numbers in both of these categories.

  • Average bat speed = 75.82 mph
    •  Driveline affiliate average = 70.17mph
  • Top 8th exit velocity = 107.35 mph 
    •  Driveline affiliate average =  99.63 mph
Hanks’s Average Bat Speed from January through May
Athlete’s Top 8th Exit Velocity from January through May

Facility Exit Velocity Record

One of Strmecki’s most exciting highlights came when he broke the Driveline exit velocity record with a 114.9 mph missile. He later went on to break his own record with a 116.1 mph home run. 

Facility Exit Velocity Record – 114.9 mph

Live At-Bats 

In addition to getting after it every day in the weight room and cages, Strmecki takes some very impressive swings during live at-bats.

Home run – 111 mph / 25° / 447 ft.
Home run – 105.6 mph

We are very excited to watch Strmecki tear it up wherever he plays. 

TRAIN AT DRIVELINE

Interested in training with us? In-gym and remote options are both available

Written by 

Dan Comstock – High Performance Trainer

Connor White – High Performance Trainer

John Soteropulos – Hitting Trainer

Comment section

Add a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

X