Building Skills That Scale
At Driveline Baseball, our philosphy is that parents should have three primary focuses: build athletes through long term development, install good habits for warm-up and recovery, and keep things fun.
We believe the programs and strategies that work the best for youth athletes are those that drive them toward healthy warmup and recovery habits, along with building foundational skills that scale as the athlete progresses in the game of baseball.
With all of this in mind, we created resources for parents and coaches to make use of the limited amount of time that they have. These resources are easy to learn, understand, and use as building blocks to create a practice routine that builds key skills and keeps kids having fun through gamification of skill development, instead of mindless drill work.
You can find more specific details about how we work to achieve those goals in our Youth Baseball Development Certification course.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Where should I start?
For throwing, the Youth Intro to Arm Care is generally the best first step, as it will get you a play for developing a routine of arm care and arm fitness which is only going to provide more value over time if done with consistency.
On the hitting side either the Youth Axe Bat Speed Trainers, Hitting PlyoCare Balls or both are a great place to start. The Axe Bat Speed Trainers will help with all phases of the swing – strength in terms of developing the physical attributes necessary to swing a heavier bat, efficiency in terms of pattern adaptation over time and we believe a degree of proprioceptive development as well due to the effects of variable implement training.
What sort of training manual for youth players does Driveline have?
Hacking The Kinetic Chain Youth is a comprehensive throwing manual for understanding and implementing our throwing training programs for youth players.
What sort of youth training does Driveline do on site?
Our Youth Long Term Skills Camp is a long term training group that we generally start in late September to October and continues until players are ready for their next season – typically late February. These camps are typically 2-3 nights a week and – due to the duration of training – allow us to help a player improve in all phases of the game, in addition to age appropriate strength and movement.
We also typically have a Youth Introduction Clinic, a single two-hour training session designed to introduce players and a parent or a coach into our methods and environment.
Do you have online training for youth players?
Yes. For a guided online training experience you can check out our Youth Online Baseball Development program. You can also look into player programming through our TRAQ software – this blog specifically details it’s usage for youth players.
Do we have youth players throw “weighted baseballs”?
No. Weighted Baseballs are generally only programmed for athletes that are 14 and up.
So what do you have youth players throw?
Youth players train using our Youth PlyoCare Balls. Ranging from the 2000g Green Ball (typically only used by youth players in a limited amount) all the way down to our 150g Gray Ball (lighter than a baseball), these PlyoCare balls are designed to help improve the throwing motion and the mechanical efficiency of our youth athletes from two distinct principles:
Overload balls: drive pattern efficiency due to increased load, and that increased load comes with less peak UCL stress than when athletes are throwing a 5oz baseball due to the reduced angular velocity (your arm moves slower).
Underload balls: drive “supramaximal” aka faster than normal movement speed. Moving fast is good.
Used correctly with a structured throwing program like in our Youth Intro to Arm Care we should be improving the throwing of our athletes in both of those aspects.
Are throwing PlyoCare balls dangerous?
When done properly – no. Consider that for any athlete – young or old – throwing a 5oz baseball is a form of training stimulus for the body. There are no magical properties of a 5oz baseball that make throwing that specific ball weight – as opposed to throwing either a football or a frisbee – a completely risk free action.
That said, If we want to feel confident that our youth players can throw a regular 5oz baseball safely with intent (which is how they are going to be dictated to perform in a game) then it makes sense to train them to a level of throwing fitness that is above the level of stimulus that they receive when throwing a regular baseball.
There is no throwing program for youth players or adults that will unilaterally protect every athlete from either chronic or acute levels of stress that can lead to injury. What we can do is take action to raise the level of arm care and arm fitness for any particular athlete so that we can attempt to mitigate that risk as much as possible.
Where can I find more information about Driveline’s youth training?
You can always reach out to us at [email protected] or 425-523-4030 and speak with our customer service team to find more information about our youth training.