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To Brent Pourciau, Owner of TopVelocity:

For years you have engaged in a sustained negative Internet campaign against Driveline Baseball, insinuating that we lie about the data we publish and the work we do developing athletes. Recently, you have escalated that campaign, purchasing targeted advertising for posts intended to defame our company and work.

Today we respond directly with an open letter so that everyone can understand our stance on your actions as they affect the baseball community and, less importantly, Driveline Baseball.

We do not agree with your characterization of us, our work, or weighted ball programming generally. Frankly, it seems to be a simple disinformation campaign designed to use fear to market yourself and your program.

In the past, we have engaged with you to make those points, both publicly and privately. We haven’t always been proud of how we’ve done that. But we are curtailing that communication significantly going forward because it seems to be a waste of time.

We simply do not want to engage in endless negativity online because we have respect for the entire baseball community – and its tens of thousands of underpaid/unpaid coaches and hardworking players.

There are 1000s of smart, responsible players and coaches integrating our pitching training (and training from other places like Cressey Sports Performance, Jaeger Sports, The Texas/Florida Baseball Ranch, National Pitching Association, and many others) into their player development systems–to say nothing of the talented and dedicated coaches in high school and college who work hard to provide the best training and opportunities for their athletes. 6 of the past 8 teams in the last 4 D1 NCAA Championships use weighted ball programs as a component of their pitching development, and integrated weighted ball and strength programs helped teams reach the 2017 College World Series at every level.

Maligning these programs broadly in favor of your own does not approach the subject of baseball performance honestly. You have had success training some athletes and you absolutely should continue to speak positively about whatever successes your program has had and your process for achieving those results. 

But that is not your current approach: you seek to lump all successful approaches you disagree with together with any negative anecdotal outcomes you can find, all in an attempt to boost your public profile.

And it seems you are willing to play fast and loose with the truth in order to be right online, all to the detriment of the baseball, scientific and medical communities – (below are some examples, see the footnotes for evidence that accompanies these claims):

  • Falsely claiming affiliation with four medical journals as well as the American Sports Medicine Institute (ASMI), leading them to issue you cease and desist documents [1]
  • Posting poorly-blurred defamatory messages about Driveline Baseball from sources you don’t fact-check; sources who routinely lie about their backgrounds and who you yourself have admitted have no association with Driveline. [2]
  • Claiming definitively weighted ball programs have a “high injury rate” [3], while only offering as evidence anecdotes and a single study whose methodology for calculating injury rate is not yet known because it is in pre-print. [4]
  • Shifting blame to athletes who purchased your program and mention performance issues for insufficiently reaching out for help despite multiple attempts at contact or claiming that they have slandered you. [5]

Falsely claiming association with scientific and medical institutions to market a “science-based” method of training while demeaning alternatives based on anecdotes and a single abstract all while ignoring or actively discrediting any contradicting information is Fear-based Marketing 101.

And divisive marketing doesn’t contribute anything besides noise to the baseball community. 

The world today is full of partisan bickering, and, for our part, we will not contribute another voice to the chaos, unwilling to learn and seeking only to advance a narrow agenda. 

We adhere to the principle that if our work is better, we don’t need to put anyone down to try and make it stand out.

So we are putting a stop to what we can control. Driveline Baseball will not contribute to an endless cycle of negativity and fear. 

What we are not going to do is engage in endless arguments for the sake of controversy and ego, filling the baseball community with ever more confusion and meaningless words.

What we are going to do is continue to get the best results we can for our athletes and coaches, improve our business every single day, and support the baseball community with open-access research, more lower-cost options and free content for all.

Our R&D department works nonstop with gold-standard scientific technologies – under IRB supervision and ethics review – to ensure that we take the necessary steps to protect our athletes while learning as much as possible about reducing injury and maximizing performance. We have written publicly about our results, our process and risks related to training. All of this data is openly published. You are free to analyze it–or you are free to ignore it.

America was built as a meritocracy of hard work and the best ideas: in America, the best products and services win.

That’s what we believe.

That’s how we have achieved whatever success we have achieved so far.

That’s how we intend to succeed going forward.

We are just going to put our heads down and do the work required by the baseball community to continue to provide the best products and services.

And only that.

And we invite you to do the same.

Sincerely,
Kyle Boddy (President and Founder),

Mike Rathwell (CEO),

and the entire staff of Driveline Baseball.

 

[1] TopVelocity's website with logos displayed, then removed due to improper use.

Source: Internet Wayback Machine

Page Capture Feb 11, 2017 with logos seen

Page Capture Feb 11, 2017 with logos seen

Email from the ACSM on Jul 13, 2017

Email from the ACSM on Jul 13, 2017

 

Page Capture Nov 25, 2017 with logos removed

Page Capture Nov 25, 2017 with logos removed

 

[2] Blindly posting defamatory client feedback as truth, lacking fact-checking

Source: TCDriller99, Twitter

Richard Chandler (@TCDriller99) points out inaccuracies of the so-called testimonials and reports from clients on a page titled “Weighted Baseball Training Causes Serious Injury”, a post frequently the subject of paid advertising, clearly showing those claims are not fact-checked or disclaimed.

A post on TopVelocity’s website shows a tweet about an athlete named AJ who was supposedly injured at our facility, but does not show a subsequent post by Brent saying that this athlete is not associated with our program (original; retraction 6 days later).

 

tweets-topv-chandler

Clarification

 

[3] Claiming science shows weighted ball programs have a high injury rate, but providing as evidence one study's abstract (still in pre-print, methods unknown) and 'anecdotal evidence'

Source: TopVelocity, Twitter (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

Frequently tweets referring to a page that includes conclusions from a single study and social media posts as “case studies”.

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[4] A tweet that Brent regularly pays to promote, claiming the 'science is out'; the paper is not published and the methods are unknown.

Source: @TopVelocity, Twitter

The following tweet refers to an abstract of a paper that is still in the peer-review process but will likely be published (a blog post has already been written), being submitted by a researcher who frequently speaks publicly with Brent and someone who has a conflict of interest in the matter (none of that relationship is disclosed or published openly).

promoted-tweet-injuries

 

[5] Publicly shifting blame to athletes who did not experience good service or results.

Source: @TopVelocity, Twitter – accessed December 4th, 2017

These responses are to athletes who claim to have used his program.

 

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