Feb 17, 2016Royals’ Center Fielder Re-Learns Running
At the highest levels of competition, even the smallest flaw in form can lead to career-compromising injury. According to an article at kcur.org, that’s the situation Kansas City Royals’ center fielder Lorenzo Cain faced–his running form was causing one injury after another.
In 2012, the problem came to a head, when groin and hip injuries kept Cain out of 63 percent of the regular season. Royals’ Head Athletic Trainer Nick Kenney knew that something had to be done.
“We knew how talented he was athletically, but he wasn’t in sync with his body,” said Kenney. “We came together with an organizational plan to re-work this guy a little bit, not re-work his baseball tools but re-work his running-type tools.”
Kenney set Cain up with Tim Overman, Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Oklahoma Sooners, who could help Cain in the offseason close to where he lives in Norman, Okla. Overman went about designing a plan to reset Cain’s running form.
“If your foot is not contacting in the right spot, you’re wasting too much energy to create that speed,” said Overman. “It causes problems in the long run. We basically went back, changed his foot angle, how he’s attacking the ground so that he wasn’t overreaching. That took stress off of his hamstring.
“It’s very hard to change somebody’s mechanics that they have had for 25 years, so it’s one of those things that takes thousands of reps,” Overman added.
But all those reps seemed to have been worth it, with Cain playing in a record 140 games last season. He also came in third last year in the vote for the American League’s M.V.P.
“When I met Tim, he definitely helped me out tremendously. (He) pretty much taught me how to run all over again,” said Cain. “I’ve been running this one way all my life, then to get here and tell me I’m doing everything wrong it was definitely tough to deal with. But at the same time if I wanted to be on the field and healthy each and every day I had to listen to the instructions he was giving me.”