By: Ben Simon-Director of Player Development, College Recruiting, Scouting, and Marketing, Brownlee Lookouts Baseball
When I was in high school, the only thing I cared about was the chance to be seen by college scouts and coaches. What mattered was playing in front of scouts from the schools that I wanted to go to. For the most part, this all happens during summer ball. A lot of programs do a good job at marketing players and staying in contact with college coaches on a somewhat regular basis. Many programs also play in the top tournaments to showcase their players. Some of my responsibilities jobs as a summer coach is to communicate with dozens of college coaches, make sure pitching velocities and pitching rotations are always planned ahead of time (and communicated via Twitter), and to place our teams and players in the top tournaments and showcases in the Midwest. While this is all important, the implementation of a development and training program designed to improve the skills of our players (and their recruitability) is the most important job I have.
While I feel comfortable coaching all aspects of the game, my true passion is coaching and developing pitchers. Specifically, I work with our pitchers to develop their arm strength and velocity. While the majority of pitching coaches in other summer programs can develop someone’s secondary stuff or make an obvious mechanical change, many do not focus on velocity development during the summer season. We focus in developing all skills of our pitchers including velocity and arm strength. We do this by developing an individualized throwing and lifting program that is designed to meet the needs of each individual pitcher.
When you are considering what organization to pitch for next summer, consider this example. A 6’3” 185lb RHP who is entering his junior year and is currently throwing 80-83 mph is considered a good college prospect, and even a potential division 1 prospect. Whether he realizes it or not, the 17u team that he plays for next summer may be the deciding factor between him getting a D-1 scholarship offer or not. So the question is, what should he be looking for in a summer program?
1. Exposure to top tournaments. Look for a team that plays in tournaments like Perfect Game and other regionally scouted tournaments. These could easily attract 20+ college recruiters to each game.
2. Proven Player Development Program. Playing 60+ games is not enough to develop a player’s specific skills. A great summer program provides a detailed strength and conditioning routine and holds the player accountable for following that routine. A cutting edge program uses researched based methods developed by Driveline Baseball and Jaeger Sports with the specific goal to increase throwing velocity while reducing the risk for injury. Using a program like this, it is possible to gain 4-6 mph in fastball velocity. In the past, we have seen a jump as high as 9 mph. For the example pitcher above, if he increased throwing velocity by 4 mph he would become a solid Division 1 prospect.
3. Marketing Players. Great summer programs are advocates for their players. They take the time to explain the rules of the recruiting process to give each player the best chance to sign with the school of their choice. Summer programs can assist players in the recruiting process by communicating with coaches, holding a scout day, explaining the process of creating a recruiting video, and helping each player understand what camps to attend. Another great way to market players is to play with great players. Established summer programs tend to attract better players (Top 100 players in the state). Coaches who come to see another player may end up recruiting you.
Overall, I still believe player development is the most important factor to consider. You can make up for a lack of exposure in a week or two, but a lack of player development? That takes YEARS! To all prospective players: please remember this choosing a summer organization. You only get to go through the process once, make the most of it.
About Brownlee Lookouts Baseball:
The Brownlee Lookouts is an elite baseball organization focused on developing players and helping them achieve their goals of playing baseball at the collegiate level and beyond. Placing over 250 players into college programs, we help foster growth and development in players with a very individualized approach in both player development and college recruiting. Having unique access to both Alan Jaeger and Kyle Boddy of Jaeger Sports and Driveline baseball on the player development side, as well as 100s of college coaches and even a number of pro agents on the exposure side make the Brownlee Lookouts a once in a lifetime opportunity. If you have the work ethic and drive to be great, we are the program for you.
The Brownlee Lookouts would like to formally announce our 2016-2017 tryout dates and times:
July 31 and August 7 at Tallmadge HS Field (Located at Middle School, 484 East Ave, Tallmdage, OH):
Tryouts will consistent of typical showcase type testing:
60 yard dash
Exit Velocity Testing
Bullpens (For POs and 2 way players)
Please register for tryouts at the following page:
Any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 440-714-5812.
Brownlee Lookouts Baseball Tryout Location
Workout and Strength Training
The days of keeping pitchers out of the weight room are long gone. Today, specialized weight training programs are designed to increase pitchers overall strength and explosiveness leading to greater velocity and a reduced chance of injury. Of course, it is critical that you know what types of strength training programs are appropriate.
Your age will depend on what your strength training program should consist of. For example, a 12 year old should be doing body weight resistance exercises like lunges and pushups. A high school athlete should meet with a strength and conditioning coach to carefully plan a program designed specifically for pitchers (more on this topic later). Any weight program should focus most on building lower body and core strength as a significant amount of velocity is generated from those areas.
Any strength training program should include a detailed stretching program. You do not want to lose flexibility as a result of "bulking up". I once worked with an 18 year old pitcher who also played football. As a result of his football workouts, he was able to bench press 275lbs. He also had very little flexibility in his arm. As a result, he topped out at 74mph. Unfortunately, his football weight program caused him to lose velocity. This was a sad case but with a little knowledge of proper training this can easily be prevented.
Here are some links with some additional information about weight training specifically for pitchers.
Eric Cressey strength training for pitchers (blog)
Justin Verlander weight training program (video)
Coach Mike Grady
Coach Grady has 10 years experience working with pitchers of all ages through private and group instruction, including 6 years experience as a college pitching coach. This blog is dedicating to helping pitchers of all ages improve their game.