Resources & Blogs

Blog #1
April 10, 2016
Myths About Age and Speed

Many parents and athletes have this myth “as soon as the athletes reaches 18 years old, they cannot increase running speed.”
For a fact, I strongly disagree. Why?
During the month of January 2016, I was hired on a highly ranked baseball academy in the Dominican Republic to train a newly arrived top Cuban baseball prospect who had played for the Cuban National team the previous season. The player will turn 24 years old in late 2016, 5’10 outfielder weighing in at 193lbs.
MLB scouts measure their speed by a 60-yard linear sprint and they look for a 7.0 second and below to consider them as a prospect. MLB averages are 6.9 second and below.
The undisclosed Cuban prospect came to the baseball academy with a 60-yard dash of 7.1 seconds. This turned away a few scouts as an outfielder should be below 6.9 seconds.

I had worked with the Cuban top prospect full time, five to six days a week, working on strength and conditioning with an emphasis of speed and agility. As the intensity has raised through the month, we had seen a total complete differences, looking leaner, with a 3% decrease body fat. Also mentally, during games, the Cuban prospect was more mentally awarded of his speed; he was aggressive to take a bigger lead and steal bases.  At the end of February, we had timed his 60-yard dash and was a 6.9 second. As 0.2 millisecond does not seem a lot, it is equivalent as one to three foot steps which can change the game by a base steal to catching a bottom of the ninth inning, two out fly ball on the warning track.

Therefore, my evidence proves that speed can always improve, with any athlete willing to reach their goals.

Written by:
Naipaul (Paul) Bassoo
Strength and Conditioning, Performance Coach

Blog #2
April 12, 2016
Cheat Meals and Set-Backs

Many fitness professionals recommend a “cheat meal/day” and unfortunately many consume as much as a sumo wrestler during their binge! Personally, I do not recommend a cheat day/meal on an excessive scale, but a healthier cheat meal that you don’t have to feel guilty about!

As an elite baseball player during the initial years of my career, and now as a Strength and Conditioning / Performance Coach, I can say that cheat day/meals had regrettably set me back both physically and mentally.

At one point of my baseball career in Europe, I had a massive double cheese pizza as a cheat meal. An hour later I regretted my decision and had to mentally prepare myself for the work that lay ahead due to my binge. I was so eager to get back to work I doubled my workload. The next day at practice while in the weight room, I pulled my hamstring overdoing squats and conditioning. I was on the DL for two weeks and this incident mentally set me back. From that very moment, I educated myself on that “cheat meal” and refused to let myself be excessive and careless anymore.

Currently, my cheat meals do not consist of a double cheese pizza or seven pancakes with rich Canadian maple syrup, but a healthy fast food meal. Down below is a chart of “healthy fast foods” and how many calories each item consist of. Enjoy a healthier version and indulge! You deserve it!

Fast Food, Meals and Calories

Burger King
Tender chicken grill sandwich with salad (no dressing)
320 Calories

McDonalds
Chicken grilled Mc Wrap with bacon and ranch sauce
470 Calories

Starbucks
Chicken and hummus bistro box or chicken and black bean salad bowl
270 Calories and 360 Calories

Wendy’s
Ultimate grilled chicken sandwich WITHOUT mayo
179 Calories

Written by:
Naipaul (Paul) Bassoo
Strength and Conditioning, Performance Coach

*All information on calories was directly taken from the fast food company websites*

Blog #3
August 28, 2016
Why Strength and Conditioning for Youths Beneficial?

  • Physically Prepare for Training

Youth athletes are not simply mini adults. They are still growing and often lack coordination. They sit all day, and because of this may have inappropriate hip functionality, as well as a lack of posterior strength. In other words, they have musculoskeletal imbalances that need to be addressed before they lead to pain or injury down the road.

  • Prevent Overuse Injuries

Because of this, if these athletes don’t physically prepare to train for a specific sport, it isn’t a question of if your athlete is going to get an injury, but when.

Our bodies are amazing and find a way to accomplish pretty much any task we ask of them. If one muscle is weak, another will take over. If one joint lacks mobility, you’ll usually see another nearby joint have too much. But this is precisely the problem.

  • Decrease the Likelihood of Traumatic Injuries

Unlike overuse injuries, traumatic injuries cannot be predicted. These injuries don’t happen gradually, but in mere seconds – the torn ACL, fractured ankle, or dislocated shoulder.

But just because these injuries cannot be predicted, doesn’t mean they can’t be prevented

  • Improve Athletic Performance

Working with professionals is imperative for not only injury prevention, but also to improve sports performance. Resistance and mobility training will have the biggest impact on the nervous system. You won’t see your young athletes putting on substantial size, but they will have the capability to get stronger due to a more functional nervous system.

Furthermore, by working with professionals, youth will work toward optimizing their mobility, stability, coordination, strength, and movement efficiency. Their speed, agility, quickness and conditioning will also improve. In addition, as athletes get older and their physiology evolves, a movement specialist and strength coach can work with them to teach skills that require a greater magnitude of mental focus and physical output.

  • Improve Self-Confidence and Self-Esteem

Training properly will not only improve performance and reduce injuries, but will also enhance self-confidence, self-esteem, and body image. With a well-designed strength and mobility program, we teach youth athletes how to train properly and give them the confidence to do so. We show them what they can accomplish

  • It’s Fun!

Mixing up training and adding in resistance exercises is and should always be fun.

  • The Traditional Model Is Failing

The current model in youth sports looks one of two ways:

Youth are training for their sport with their coaches, but don’t work with a strength and conditioning or mobility specialist. They either don’t follow a resistance program or follow a program made as well as could be made by a parent or coach.

Youth do work with a specialist, but they see this person rarely, the time per session is finite, and though importance is placed on form, when these athletes are training with their peers in the high school weight room, guess who is loading up the bar?

Reference: National Strength and Conditioning Association,

Rick Howard, MEd, CSCS,*D, USAW

 

Blog #4
February 13, 2017
Box Jumps: Higher the Better? Click the link below to read about box jumps and how to execute properly.

Box Jumps: Higher the Better?

Lauren Green, Brooklyn Nets assistant Strength & Conditioning coach and former LA Dodgers Latin American Strength & Conditioning Coordinator.

 

Blog #5
March 20, 2017
Point one finger and four is pointing back
It’s unfortunate that front office, fans, parents blame head coaches and strength coaches for players performance on the field/court. In some scenarios, they can be “blamed” BUT in most situations, the players are the one to be “blamed” for their performance. Why? As I like to re state from York Regional Police “We are here to serve and protect” and not to hold change diapers.
Do we know what they eat? Do we know if they are out all night drinking before an early game?
In professional sports, this is an ongoing issue. We have to look at the root of the problem and solve and hopefully the players will admit of wrong doing.
I heard a player down in Miami say “oh man I don’t know why I ate that. I feel like ****. Don’t know why McDonald’s had to make that.”
You made the choice to eat it, why would you blame McDonald’s? They are just doing their job.

Written by:
Naipaul (Paul) Bassoo
Strength and Conditioning, Performance Coach
Blog #6
June 26, 2017
Hill Running 

For the past six months, I have witnessed many players train their lower body for more explosiveness while running. While I absolutely agree with that, but there is one significant part missing: coordination of their shoulders and arms while running.

From arms to shoulders to legs must be activated and coordinated effectively to achieve maximal linear speed. The athlete must add hill running into their program. Why?

Hill running improves aggressiveness in the arms and shoulders to synchronize with the mechanics and energy transfer of the lower body. Incline runs force your toes to spike off the ground at top speed, which causes acceleration from toes – hips – arms – shoulders. Also, the stretch shortening cycle can decrease tendon stiffness in the lower body.

I have my players run hills mid-way through our conditioning workouts simply for the purpose of increasing their heart rate. As a result, these athletes are forced to activate their arms and shoulders. As many coaches say, “muscle memory is the key to a swing,” which can apply to strength and conditioning.
This does not only apply to baseball players but the general population learning the proper mechanics of running.

Written by:
Naipaul (Paul) Bassoo
Strength and Conditioning, Performance Coach