Apr 12, 2018
Better Together, Part 4

In restructuring its baseball conditioning, Coastal Carolina had four goals. Here’s a look at goal number three: Have remarkable synergy.

Part 1 of this article can be found here.

Part 2 of this article can be found here.

Part 3 of this article can be found here.

The third goal of the collaboration — increasing synergy among all involved parties — is important to the program at many levels. For instance, without it, I might do extra rotator cuff work with a pitcher before practice, White might incorporate rotator cuff exercises in the weightroom, and our pitching coach might assign a 45-minute shoulder-dominant routine in the bullpen — then we’d get frustrated when the rotator cuff showed overuse symptoms. The model we developed keeps everything the players do on the field, in the weightroom, in the athletic training room, during bullpens, and even in the dining hall together. There are no assumptions about what is or is not happening.

Communication is, of course, a huge component of ensuring synergy. This begins with staff members speaking the same language. We use the same names for movements and exercises. This way, all sport performance information is disseminated consistently.

Further, members of the collaboration communicate constantly. Formal meetings among our staff are very rare because they are not necessary. Instead, we have constant “mini meetings” throughout the day and week. These exchanges keep information fresh and organized, as the scope of our operation is large and has a lot of moving pieces.

To keep communication flowing between White and me specifically, we are roommates on the road and work out together whenever possible. These opportunities allow us uninterrupted time to listen to each other and share concerns. In addition, White makes it a point to be in the athletic training room during high volume times to take athletes through game preparation and rehab routines. This shows the players we are all connected and enables both White and me to expand our skill sets.

On the sport-specific side, White and I are very close with our pitching coach, and we are always talking about ways to reform our approach. And I can’t forget about Coach Gilmore. Every morning, I chat with him about player health and how workouts are going, occasionally offering suggestions for when he can push the players a little harder on the field.

To further enhance synergy, every member of our team recently downloaded a communication app on their phones. This allows all staff to view the players’ Excel workbooks, keep up with their training schedules, and monitor their body composition and performance metrics. Now, when White or I explain each week’s plan to the sport coaches, they can view it on their phones and make sure all the pieces fit together.

When players know that all members of the coaching staff are on the same page, it keeps engagement high, sends a consistent message, and increases accountability. Most importantly, it prevents an athlete trying to pit one coach against the other. They know they can’t manipulate our system just to get what they want.

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