Dr. Peter Gorman Resources

 It Starts with an Athlete
(8/14/2018)
 
   

It Starts with an Athlete


By Dr. Peter Gorman


As another year of amateur baseball slowly comes to a close, it is a time for rest, and it is time for reflection. The big wins, the heartbreaking losses and all the games in between….one common goal will exist amongst all players preparing for next year, the desire to improve.

Before we can begin mapping out the upcoming off-season training schedule it’s important to recognize where you were, where you are and where you’re going; physically, mentally and yes, in terms of skill. In considering our approach to performance we will discuss first and foremost, and that process starts with the athlete, not the ballplayer, the athlete.

Have you ever heard the following?

• He’s not seeing the ball well.
• You’re starting your swing late.
• He has more range to his left than his right.
• I got a bad jump.

There were moments of failure over the course of the season that didn’t originate from a lack of skill, but rather because there were inefficiencies in our ability to recognize, process and react to given situations? Baseball requires all position players, to be able and agile in all directions for effective play. Baseball requires all pitchers to have optimal balance, timing and coordination, to ensure the effortless release of the ball. Baseball requires all batters to have exceptional eye for detail, and speed of processing so that even the fastest pitch…remains hittable.

To reach this type of optimal performance, every player must be evaluated for strengths and more importantly, every player needs to be evaluated for weaknesses. You are only as strong as your weakest link. To help every player achieve their type of ability, we are creating both subjective and objective development protocols so that asymmetries can be identified and eliminated. By combining subjective tests with objective measures, we can cover all the basics of athletic movement and paint a very precise picture of who you are and what you need to do to improve as you train. Of course, all players will also train their own sport-specific movements, but whether you are an outfielder, pitcher, or a shortstop, you will have the solid foundation needed to one-day reach your potential.

As the National Governing Body of the sport, USA Baseball is focused on understanding the health of our participants across the nation. With the use of equipment such as OptoJump, GYKO, WITTY, and more we can now detect movement efficiency to a millisecond of accuracy, both on and off the field. By precisely understanding movement, asymmetries can be identified and eliminated so that injuries can be prevented, compensations can be eliminated, and the mentorship of our game’s great trainers and coaches will be delivered to a more able generation of athletes. We’re committed to working with other organizations across the amateur game who’ll follow our lead in first identifying the gaps in an athletes’ potential, and then provide the curriculum necessary to foster longer, healthier careers.

Through this series of work, we aim to help you prepare your athletes for success whether they be big league players or big-league citizens. We’re committed across the entire spectrum of human performance and we believe in the athlete in all of us.


Dr. Peter Gorman is a contributor to the USA Baseball Sport Development Blog, and is widely referred to as the developer of heart rate monitor technology and owns seven major patents in the United States and Canada. He was named President of Microgate USA in 2010 and became an adjunct professor at the University of Bridgeport Chiropractic College in 2012. He later joined CourtSense, developing innovative and logical progression that helps athletes attain symmetry and better coordination. Dr. Gorman has previous experience working with the United States Military, as well as sports leagues and franchises around the world including those associated with Major League Baseball, FIFA, the National Football League, the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League, and the United States Olympic Committee.


 On Your Mark, Get Set, GO!
(8/14/2018)
 
   

On Your Mark, Get Set, GO!


By Dr. Peter Gorman


We’ve all heard this before. But this simple phrase is actually missing a step. In between GO and the actual motion is an entire series of cognitive events that create a time gap between perception and achievement. This time gap is known as your reaction time.

In this example, the athlete must Recognize the given stimulus (GO), Attend to what he recognizes, Decide on what he is attending to while suppressing any distractors, Accept what he has decided on, and then finally React to what he has accepted. This cognitive process of steps can be referred to as the athlete’s RADAR and will largely affect how quickly the athlete will be able to react to a given stimulus. The longer it takes the athlete to process, the longer it will take them to react and, ultimately, perform.

Baseball is the ultimate true agility sport, where reaction time is key. Every movement on the field is elicited by a stimulus, which in itself is the definition of agility. Whether it is a fielder moving for the ball, a batter swinging or not swinging at the ball, the pitcher deciding on throwing the ball or the base runner advancing or staying, every single movement is decision based. To make each movement as effective as possible, decisions must be made extremely fast. This decision speed is known as the Speed of Processing (SOP) of the brain.

No matter how well trained the athlete is physically, if their speed of processing is slow, they will be slow. It does not matter how fast the athlete is in a 60-yard dash – it is all lost if they cannot think quickly enough to stop, go or slide at the right moment while running the bases. Baseball happens fast – a 95 mph fastball reaches the plate in 413 milliseconds, and it takes 250 milliseconds to unwind the kinematic sequence and swing. This leaves only 163 milliseconds to recognize and understand the pitch. Recognition and understanding are a double-decision in our cognitive process. If the player’s double-decision time is slower than 163 milliseconds, he is set for failure, no matter how great his physical ability.

By increasing speed of processing, the THINK aspect of the game, you will greatly improve your ability to make the right decisions at the right times, thus greatly increasing your overall skill. Luckily for all of us, speed of processing can be trained just like any other skill. There are many cognitive training platforms to choose from, though it is highly recommended that all athletes only choose platforms that are supported by true evidence-based, peer-reviewed papers.

Baseball is a game of moments that must be executed quickly and precisely. Let’s make sure that while we are honing our physical skills to the point of excellence, we are not overlooking the training of our cognitive ability.


Dr. Peter Gorman is a contributor to the USA Baseball Sport Development Blog, and is widely referred to as the developer of heart rate monitor technology and owns seven major patents in the United States and Canada. He was named President of Microgate USA in 2010 and became an adjunct professor at the University of Bridgeport Chiropractic College in 2012. He later joined CourtSense, developing innovative and logical progression that helps athletes attain symmetry and better coordination. Dr. Gorman has previous experience working with the United States Military, as well as sports leagues and franchises around the world including those associated with Major League Baseball, FIFA, the National Football League, the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League, and the United States Olympic Committee.


 Capacity: Physical and Neurological
(8/14/2018)
 
   

Capacity: Physical and Neurological


Sport Performance Lab
By Dr. Peter Gorman and Dr. Anne Shadle


The ability to compensate is known as an athlete’s capacity, or resistance to change. Capacity has foundation in both the physical and neurological aspects of performance and should be analyzed in an environment that equals or exceeds game speed. This article will explain both the physical and neurological sides of capacity and how they can impact performance.

Physical

The center fielder is running into catch the ball and pulls his hamstring. On the very next play the shortstop ranges left for the ball and as he does, pulls his groin. How many times have you heard a coach say, “I can’t believe what happened to my athlete. He was in the best shape of his life, and while performing a simple task on the field, end ups with a season ending injury.”

Yes, some injuries are instantaneous- for example if you were running, stepped on a rut and twisted your ankle. However, most injuries are accumulative in nature. What this means is that asymmetries are slowly created in the movement cycle, until the athlete can no longer compensate. Then, just like the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back, the athlete’s ability to compensate is exceeded and an injury occurs.

Why tell an athlete that their movement screen looks good on a static forward lunge, knowing that an athlete’s capacity to compensate might be fooling the examiner? Does looking good mean that the athlete is going to perform well? Does the good-looking lunge guarantee that as the athlete accelerates at game speed, they will also have equal leg speed, equal acceleration left and right and equal contact and flight time? The 30-yard sprint (in an OptoJump system) performed by USA Baseball is a Game Speed test that exceeds an athlete’s capacity to compensate. In less than five seconds, this test can answer many important questions on lower extremity imbalance. Once the imbalance is shown to exist, THEN employing various movement screens can help pinpoint the cause.

It was not until increased demand and exertion was applied that imbalances appeared, and potential injuries were brought to light. Knowing that athletes harbor varying degrees of capacity to compensate for their imbalances, we have to test the athlete at the highest demand possible so that we are looking at the true athlete and NOT the compensatory process. This high demand testing is designed to exceed an athlete’s capacity, thus eliminating the compensatory ability to mask asymmetries and imbalances. Remember, we never want the game to be the evaluator. Often in this high-tech world, many are still marveling at an athlete’s sprint time, not knowing if the fundamental movements are symmetrical or not. It is all about capacity…we must identify and correct all asymmetries so that they do not accumulate and eventually result in injury caused by simple and/or complex game movements.

Neurological

Ted Williams, known to many as the greatest hitter of all time once said, “Baseball is the only field of endeavor where a man can succeed three times out of ten and be considered a good performer.” Handling stressful conditions, controlling emotions, suppressing distractors, and quick speed of processing are just a few of the neurological functions that the wonderful game of baseball will constantly test in the game. What we find is a person can be prepared physically to perfection, but performance will suffer if their brain is not functioning at its optimal capacity.

We now know in neuroscience that the amygdala is the emotional center of the brain. Every region of the brain can function normally or in standards of deviation above and below normal that affect its function. Without diving too deep, we have also learned that the amygdala has two other sub regions that control emotions. As heartrate increases the amygdala can change its firing pattern. This will allow emotions to change and, in some cases, rage, thus creating a more indecisive and inefficient player. All players must know that training their brain is as important, if not more so, than training their body.

Each region of the brain can deviate from normalcy, lessening overall brain balance, function and capacity. At the same time brain speed can slow, which in effect also lessen the athlete’s capacity to perform optimally. As the brain goes out of balance, this can reflect itself in personality changes, or one’s ability to command life’s situations. The way your body can slow and go out of balance, your brain can also slow and go out of balance. As the brain slows, it effects its processing speed and reaction time will increase, in turn effecting all aspects of performance. It is obvious that if an athlete has tremendous brain speed capacity, they would be able to compensate for a longer period of time before a serious condition is recognized. Anytime we determine brain speed is slowing, we must ask the question why, and make sure that we identify the problem. The answer may be as simple as improving hydration or getting a better night’s sleep. If a more serious condition is developing, it is always better to understand it early on, so that the most precise and effective treatment can be given.

Much like increasing demand and load can unearth imbalances physically, the same can be done neurologically. To make sure that we are identifying, nourishing, and balancing the brain properly, we recommend the BrainHQ.com cognitive platform. Brain HQ has numerus validated, peer-reviewed published papers which ensures that their cognitive trainings are as effective as possible. Designed by brain scientists, Brain HQ exercises have shown to improve a host of cognitive abilities directly related to sports performance like reaction time, processing speed, visual acuity, attention, and memory. Improvements in cognitive abilities and capacity can not only lead to more effective and efficient on-field performance, but also transfer to life’s daily tasks.

At USA Baseball, we take pride in not only assessing the physical attributes of our athletes, but also the neurological side as well. Evaluation and attention to both the physical and neurological attributes of the athlete is highly recommended in any sport. By being more aware of your physical and neurological strengths or weaknesses, all athletes will be better prepared to help reduce injury and reach their own unique OPTIMAL performance.


Dr. Peter Gorman is a contributor to the USA Baseball Sport Development Blog, and is widely referred to as the developer of heart rate monitor technology and owns seven major patents in the United States and Canada. He was named President of Microgate USA in 2010 and became an adjunct professor at the University of Bridgeport Chiropractic College in 2012. He later joined CourtSense, developing innovative and logical progression that helps athletes attain symmetry and better coordination. Dr. Gorman has previous experience working with the United States Military, as well as sports leagues and franchises around the world including those associated with Major League Baseball, FIFA, the National Football League, the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League, and the United States Olympic Committee.

Dr. Anne Shadle, Ph.D., is a contributor to the USA Baseball Sport Development Blog, is a certified consultant in Sport Psychology CC-AASP and is a member of the United States Olympic Committee’s Sport Psychology registry. She also serves on the Athlete Advisory Committee for USA Track and Field (USATF) and currently is the President-appointed committee chair for Psychological Services for USATF. She is heavily involved with coaching education and certification for the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) and USATF. Shadle received her Bachelor of Science in Education and Human Sciences from the University of Nebraska, where she also ran track and field. She was a two-time National Champion in the mile and 1500 meter distances before going on to run professionally for Reebok and compete in the 2008 Olympic Trials.


 The Art of Mind-Body Integration
(8/14/2018)
 
   

The Art of Mind-Body Integration


By Dr. Peter Gorman


As winter trainings slowly come to an end, athletes eagerly await the start of a new season. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the sport of baseball. The boys of summer are once again ready to set new records, and hopefully replace any previous disappointments with cheers and thrills. This goal of achievement relies heavily on the fact that the winter training program was fundamentally sound and efficient in correcting weaknesses and forging new strengths.

The winter training program has to realize that, like most sports, baseball is a “True Agility” sport. Every movement on the field is decision-based, which in essence is the definition of True Agility. This requires not just great physical ability, but also great cognitive ability. This decision-based movement requires:

1) RECOGNITION of the stimulus. If the ball was hit left, the athlete must recognize that. Or, if the pitch is coming, recognition again starts the process.

2) Once the stimulus is recognized, the athlete must ATTEND to it. This is the THINK part of the game and ability to do so is just as important, if not more important, than any physical attribute.

3) Once the athlete attends to the stimulus, they must now suppress any distractors (there is no room to start right and then go left; too many moments would be wasted), and DECIDE on the stimulus: yes, the ball is left, or yes, the pitch is coming.

4) Once the stimulus is ACCEPTED, the athlete must now REACT to it. Yes, reaction is physical, but it is based in a cognitive process. The efficiency of the athlete’s cognitive process is known as their Speed of Processing (SOP).

How many coaches or trainers know the actual SOP of their players? It is amazing that terms like bat speed, or exit velocity, or 60-yard time, are thrown around with “oohs” and “ahhs.” If we do not know the athlete’s SOP, then the fastest bat speed or 60-yard time might just be other wasted statistics. Remember that SOP is the time between recognition and reaction. If SOP is slow, then reaction is slow. If reaction is slow, then the athlete plays slow. If you have the fastest bat speed, but you are slow in pulling the trigger, you are out. If you have the fastest 60-yard time but you are slow to react to the pitcher lifting their foot, you are out.

The Functional Movement Screen (FMS) states this very clearly:

“First move well, then move often. Moving well speaks to quality of movement and speed of processing (cognitive function), while moving often is not simply quantity, but rather the capacity and adaptation that allow brain and body to function cohesively and optimally for life and sport.”

An efficient winter training program must understand the importance of cognition and must be able to evaluate and correct any physical imbalances. It is well understood that all position players must be able and agile in all directions. Speed of the left leg must equal speed of the right leg. Left-to-right acceleration must equal right-to-left acceleration. Anything less than this would create a favorite side, and the need to compensate. How erroneous would it be to tell a player he has better range in a given direction, without giving him the reason and the way to fix it?

This past winter I had the privilege of working with a baseball team of nine-year-old’s from my hometown of Mahopac, N.Y. I say privilege because in my 37 years of sport science, I have had many professionals, Olympians and World Champions come through my doors, but the dedication these nine-year-old’s showed to learning and developing was second to none. At our first team meeting, we discussed three important concepts:

1) Correct Imbalances. Physical evaluations would be aimed at correcting weaknesses and imbalances. Knowing the athlete is only as strong as their weakest link, fix weaknesses before developing strengths. This eliminates the need for the athlete to compensate. Train the TRUE athlete, not the compensatory process.

2) Train SOP. A fastball could reach the plate in 400 milliseconds, and the time to swing is approximately 175 milliseconds. This leaves only 225 milliseconds to recognize, understand, and react to the pitch. It was decided to train every athlete’s SOP to faster than 200 milliseconds… quite a statement at any age.

3) TEAM First. Every athlete has their own set of strengths and weaknesses. Help your teammate first and create bonds that would last forever.

Once the rules were set, a TEAM statement was made. “Maybe no one on the TEAM would make it to MLB, but one thing was for certain: every athlete would graduate one day from the minor leagues of childhood, to the major leagues of adulthood – let’s help each other be the best at this.”

Each athlete was evaluated and trained according to the incredible Gold Standard USA Baseball Sport Development Evaluation. This included game speed accelerations to determine the leg speed of each athlete, and the athletes’ accelerations to both right and left. Broad jump was performed, not merely along a tape measure, but in a modular testing system so that contact time could be measured. This gave us a reactive strength index so that we could ensure that, with training, each athlete’s flight time was improving, while contact time was going down. The power, contact time, and – most importantly – dynamic control of each leg of the athlete were also recorded in a series of five unilateral jumps. Physical reaction time was recorded by a countdown system that produced results accurate to the nearest millisecond. Each athlete had their gait tested, both with shoes and barefoot. This gave the examiners the ability to make sure that each athlete’s sneakers were actually helping to reduce or eliminate any asymmetries in their movement cycle.

True agility was tested at two different levels of cognitive load. Total times were recorded and compared under each cognitive load. Any slowing of physical movement due to increased cognitive load was then base lined. By employing validated, published tests, actual brain Speed of Processing was recorded for each athlete to show double decision, eye for detail and single decision ability. It is here that we recorded the greatest changes in athletic ability.

At the beginning of the program, average SOP was approximately 600 milliseconds for each athlete. At the end of 12 weeks of training, average SOP improved to a super-fast 86 milliseconds. Remember what we said before, that you have 200 milliseconds or fewer to see and attend to the fastball. By improving to 86 milliseconds for SOP, it was determined by the hitting coaches that the athletes were understanding and picking up the ball sooner, and their “sense of game” was becoming clearer. This was a big advantage when called on to bat. Of great importance was the fact that the SOP tests allowed us to track each athlete’s cognitive ability. If, at any time, an athlete’s SOP slowed, questions on rest and fatigue were immediately asked. This same understanding of SOP could be applied to contact sports where terms like “CTE” and “concussion return to play” still prevail at an alarmingly high rate. Monitoring SOP has to be standard procedure for all.

A balance protocol was performed and monitored for each athlete. A slant board was used to make determinations on strength and weaknesses for each position of the foot strike. Proprioceptive ability was monitored, to ensure improvements in Ground Contact Time (GCT). Any athlete displaying any inefficiency was fitted with non-orthotic inserts. It was agreed that this product did help with the balance ability of each athlete in an amazingly short amount of time. This led to improved performance that was objectively measured.

As strengths and weaknesses were determined, proper training interventions were employed for their correction. Knowing that you are only as strong as your weakest link, each athlete had a burning desire to understand their results and to improve upon them. There is no sense in building strength on an unstable foundation; identifying and fixing weaknesses became the mantra of the program.

I was very proud of our TEAM when the parents started to come to me and say things like: “It is no longer a struggle to get homework done; he seems to understand and get it better,” or “behavior and bedtime are no longer a commotion,” or “he is setting a better example for his younger siblings. These comments struck home to the idea that we are preparing the children for the game of life. Baseball is just the vehicle we are using to do so.

I think Head Coach Sacco summed it up the best when he said:

“You know you’re doing something right when your boys would rather come to do cognitive training than go to a birthday party or something else. They want to be here, they see the improvements they’ve made, and they compete against each other here so intensely, while always understanding TEAM first. I see the level of quickness when we go the batting cages and the tremendous agility when reacting to ground balls and other drills. I’ve talked to parents who tell me how much better their child is doing in the classroom and at home. With what I’ve seen in the short few months, I firmly believe every sports program at any level (boys and girls) should include cognitive training. Just the brain training alone speaks volumes and is great for knowing when an athlete can or is able to return to play after an injury. I can’t say enough how great I think this program is.”

In summary, 12 nine-year-old youth baseball players were trained for 12 weeks this winter. Seeing how their sport of baseball is a True Agility sport, it was decided that a comprehensive cognitive and physical training program had to be employed. Understanding cognition and speed of processing was very important to a successful program. Remember, what the mind perceives, the body eventually achieves. This delay between perception and achievement is the athlete’s reaction time. Yes, the athlete needs great explosive ability to react, but if SOP is slow, reaction will be slow, no matter how well trained the explosive part is.

Being able to evaluate and train at game speed was also very important for a successful program. The game should never be the trainer. Training at high demand must be closely monitored. Objectively understanding the movement ability of each athlete, and correcting as needed, helps significantly in injury prevention and movement efficiency.

“This is the best mind-body program out there currently, and we recommend that all athletes looking to improve their game or themselves overall go through a program this thorough. We look forward to impacting athletes of all ages across the country and the world with this Gold Standard Program.”

Sincerely, the USA Baseball Sport Development Department

For more information on this program, please contact the USA Baseball Sport Development Department at sportdevelopment@usabaseball.com.



Dr. Peter Gorman is a contributor to the USA Baseball Sport Development Blog, and is widely referred to as the developer of heart rate monitor technology and owns seven major patents in the United States and Canada. He was named President of Microgate USA in 2010 and became an adjunct professor at the University of Bridgeport Chiropractic College in 2012. He later joined CourtSense, developing innovative and logical progression that helps athletes attain symmetry and better coordination. Dr. Gorman has previous experience working with the United States Military, as well as sports leagues and franchises around the world including those associated with Major League Baseball, FIFA, the National Football League, the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League, and the United States Olympic Committee.


 Travel: The Ultimate Demand on Performance
(8/14/2018)
 
   

Travel: The Ultimate Demand on Performance


By Dr. Peter Gorman


For the pros, there is a natural course of events: Winter training programs lead to Spring Training; Spring Training leads to Opening Day; and Opening Day marks the beginning of an extensive home and travel schedule. The schedule for the amateur, though maybe not as extreme, is remarkably similar: Winter training programs leads to spring training and play, usually in the form of scholastic play or local leagues. The end of the spring season leads to the start of travel leagues. For many, these travel leagues can be in state, or ultimately regional and beyond.

As anyone in the game knows, travel magnifies demand. This allows stress and fatigue to slowly settle in and affect performance and play. Travel can be as simple as loading the van and going to the next town or city, or it could mean a road trip to the next state and region. For many, travel also includes planes and time zone changes.

For coaches, trainers, and players, this added dimension of travel demand must be closely watched and managed. Specifically, the effects of travel should be monitored with regard to the hidden components of performance: Balance, Timing, Coordination, and Cognition.

Balance is the critical component of all movement.
Timing is the moment-by-moment movement of the body.
Coordination is the symmetrical execution of this movement.
Cognition is the neural switch that controls all movement.

As vulnerable as these factors are during regular training and play, they become even more vulnerable when the dimension of travel is added to the program. There is an old saying – “Out of sight, out of mind” – which means that we tend to forget about things that are not always visible or present. This is especially true for athletes, who often take the aforementioned hidden components for granted. As a player steals second base, we do not usually comment on his balance or coordination, but rather on his speed. Or, when a pitcher reacts and picks a player off first base, we do not usually commend his effective cognition or speed of processing, but rather his quick movement and reaction time.

Underlying every movement of every play of every game is decision-based movement. As we have already pointed out, decision is cognition, and its efficiency is based in speed of processing. Think slowly, and you will play slowly. The same is true with balance, timing, and coordination – when they are working, we see an able and agile athlete and do not think twice as to why that is so. It is only when they are not working – when a player is limping, for example – that any attention is brought to them.

This approach to understanding the hidden factors of performance assumes that the factors are either working, or not; that they are either on, or off. This is far from the truth, however, and must be addressed. None of the hidden factors is an on/off mechanism. Each and every one has a level of efficiency. Each and every one is quietly affected by travel. The problem is that we do not measure them on a frequent, consistent basis. By the time we SEE the problem, the player already has the problem, and it is too late to prevent it. This is unacceptable and must be corrected, especially for all travel teams.

The culprits of travel (vibration, fatigue, time zone change, environment, etc.) must be identified and corrected. The following is a simple recovery program to help combat the effects of travel.

1) Proper breathing: When trying to recover and combat fatigue, every breath the athlete takes is extremely important. Every breath should help to oxygenate the athlete effectively. Increasing tidal volume and tidal capacity of the lung is key. To do this, the athlete must make sure that as they breathe in, they allow their stomach to relax and go out. Many people, however, do the exact opposite, and it must be corrected. It must be noted the diaphragm is the primary muscle of respiration; to exercise it properly, keep your shoulders relaxed as you move your stomach.

2) Hydration: Most of our muscle is water, and proper amounts of water are needed for efficient function. Forget the standards like eight 8-oz. glasses of water per day – every athlete is different and must be addressed accordingly. Check the color of your urine – urine must be clear and plentiful. Any yellowing is a step away from proper hydration.

3) Cross Crawl exercise: Babies thrive by crawling, and athletes must learn to crawl to help with coordination and timing. This exercise can be performed standing or lying on your back. Looking straight ahead, arms at the side, bring your left arm back as you bring your right knee to your chest. Then bring your knee back straight without allowing any external or internal movement. The arm and leg MUST move together. As you become efficient at this maneuver, you can increase your speed.

4) Trigger Point Reduction Therapy: The soleus calf muscle is the second heart of the human body. Start here with a handheld foam roller. Then proceed to quadriceps, hamstrings, arms, etc. Those little bumps and sore spots are trigger points and must be removed by rolling them out.

5) Balance: Practicing your balance will help to restore and improve it. This is essential for effective play. Practicing balance for three minutes after the trip and three minutes before play will help dramatically.

6) Brain speed: When on a long bus or plane ride, train your brain. Remember to effectively see and understand a 90mph ball your brain speed must be 250ms or faster. Training faster brain speed will have profound effects on all aspects of the game.

7) Stretching: A good program is essential, especially when travel demands arise. The hamstring stretches, and pigeon stretch are key to the lower body. The Appley scratch maneuver will help the upper body. These stretches are merely the core, and other stretches can be added as time allows.

Obviously, there are other corrections that can be made, but this simple program covers the bases in order to ensure effective and efficient play by all. The whole idea of this simple check program is to identify any imbalances early, before they have time to manifest as dysfunction and injury. Any inefficiency in these factors can cause a reduction in performance, without the athlete even being aware of it.

Every child/athlete has the right to balanced and symmetrical growth, and it is our job to ensure it. This is a simple screen to help provide that for all, no matter how far your travel brings you.

Wishing everyone healthy and safe play,

The Performance Staff at USA Baseball



Dr. Peter Gorman is a contributor to the USA Baseball Sport Development Blog, and is widely referred to as the developer of heart rate monitor technology and owns seven major patents in the United States and Canada. He was named President of Microgate USA in 2010 and became an adjunct professor at the University of Bridgeport Chiropractic College in 2012. He later joined CourtSense, developing innovative and logical progression that helps athletes attain symmetry and better coordination. Dr. Gorman has previous experience working with the United States Military, as well as sports leagues and franchises around the world including those associated with Major League Baseball, FIFA, the National Football League, the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League, and the United States Olympic Committee.