Marc Barnhard has a cannon of a right arm. The problem this offseason was that it felt more like a BB gun.
After taking some time off the bump at the beginning of the offseason, his fastball didn’t feel right when he jumped back on. He had touched 92 mph at a tournament in October, quite the radar reading for a sophomore in high school, but didn’t have that same zip after his break.
“I took a couple weeks off from throwing and when I got back on the mound, I was down like five miles per hour,” he said. “I just felt lost every week, over and over again.”
The 2024 right-hander from Spring, Texas got set up with Driveline’s online pitching program on December 17 and connected right away with Dylan Gargas, who put Barnhard through initial assessments. Those included strength, mobility, and jump tests so the High Performance team could put together a workout plan, and a few filmed drills of Barnhard using Driveline’s PlyoCare Balls for Gargas to review with him.
“I had always seen Driveline online,” he said. “And I followed a couple of the free workout programs, and I thought, ‘Why don’t I just pay for it and see how much better it can get.’
The assessments were enticing for Gargas, who knew he was getting to work with a special high school talent. Barnhard’s fastball was “down” to about 89 mph when he started with Driveline’s online pitching program, and the big, 6’2” Texan was posting videos on Twitter of him deadlifting 495 pounds in October.
“One of the goals [Barnhard] had jotted down was that he wanted to throw 95 mph,” Gargas said. “I just kind of thought, ‘Junior in high school wants to throw 95, he’s just like the rest of us.’ But I didn’t realize how close he was.”
The free online training Barnhard had been working on before he jumped in with Gargas had been helping. He was starting to feel stronger and throw harder again. Building velocity into the 90s was going to take some extra attention, though.
There’s great information in those free programs, Gargas said, but they’re maximized when paired with a coach who can tweak and individualize the programming for an athlete’s unique needs. Gargas and Barnhard got right to work on those tweaks, like being more intentional with his target during PlyoCare Ball drills.
“Getting to 90 mph is hard,” Gargas said. “But then every mile per hour after that is going to require a little bit more attention.”
A few months into the program, Barnhard has his routine down. He’s lifting and doing mobility work three times per week with direction from the High Performance team at Driveline, and throwing six times each week with Gargas giving him direction.
The results so far? Barnhard was up to 94 mph in a recent bullpen, blowing past any previous PR and feeling stronger than he ever has just in time for his high school season to start up.
He has his eyes set on winning a state championship with his Grand Oaks High School teammates this spring. That’s the No. 1 goal. But there’s another one in the back of his head that he’s barreling toward – that same goal that caught Gargas’ attention on Barnhard’s first day with Driveline.