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Inside Pitch Magazine, May/June 2023

The Change Up: The Cressey Sports Performance Collegiate Elite Baseball Development Program

By: John O'Neil, Director of Performance, Cressey Sports Performance

A player throwing a pitch to another player in the outfieldFor six years running, Cressey Sports Performance in Hudson, Massachusetts has run an all-inclusive summer development pitching camp with excellent results. Exactly 150 pitchers have completed this program and each year, the group has averaged a 4.1-4.4 MPH gain. 

This 10-week program is a professional-style experience for the pitchers, who range from ages 17 to 22. This program is the best product CSP offers as it minimizes the variables outside of the gym by giving athletes six days per week of training and five days per week of pitching instruction. 

Each pitcher goes through a thorough movement assessment, both on the strength and conditioning and pitching side. The CSP staff creates a specific developmental plan for each pitcher that synchronizes the focus and schedule of both the training and pitching plans. 

On the strength and conditioning side, there can be great variability to the focus of the program. Some athletes come in needing to gain 20 pounds, whereas others have more of a focus on body composition or weight loss. Pitchers have joined this program with very little structured weight room experience, whereas others are several years in.   

These, in addition to several other variables, allow the CSP staff to create a specific plan that matches the individual’s needs for the summer. Most athletes’ plans include lifting weights three-to-four days per week, running sprints and jumping two-to-four days per week, throwing medicine balls two-to-four days per week, and daily mobility training. The harder training sessions are lined up with the harder throwing days, whereas the lighter/recovery-based days are lined up with the lower intensity throwing days in order to maximize the flow of the week. 

On the pitching side, athletes go through a video breakdown and receive Trackman reports on their first day of the summer. This information prompts discussion on what mechanical changes need to be made to enhance not only their velocity, but their pitch arsenal as well. These pitchers will then use the next three weeks of the program focusing on flat ground work—drill work, weighted balls, and long-toss variations. This step away from the mound is crucial for many pitchers because it can allow them to feel mechanical or arm path related changes in an easier environment to manage than from the mound. From there, pitchers will throw two bullpens a week for the next three weeks, followed by three weeks of one live at-bat session and one bullpen per week. Trackman data is provided and discussed with the athletes after each bullpen, so athletes can monitor their progress in real time

Eric Cressey is one of the most highly-sought baseball strength and conditioning specialists on the planet. He’s worked with countless professional players over the years, and joined the New York Yankees as their Director of Player Health and Performance in 2020. He’s maintained his role as president and co-founder of Cressey Sports Performance and oversees facilities in Hudson, Mass. and Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

Cressey is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) through the National Strength and Conditioning Association, is an accomplished guest speaker, has published five books and more than 500 articles.

Interested in learning more? Email [email protected], but don’t delay, as spaces are limited; this offering sold out in each of the pre-pandemic summers of years past, and we’ll be capping the group size again this time around.

Inside Pitch Magazine is published six times per year by the American Baseball Coaches Association, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt association founded in 1945. Copyright American Baseball Coaches Association. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any way without prior written permission. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained herein, it is impossible to make such a guarantee. The opinions expressed herein are those of the writers.
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