You and Sean McCourt are running the Bardo's Healthy Heat program. How did that all start?
The Healthy Heat program has really been my goal since coming to Bardo's. We were lucky enough to have Randy Sullivan and his staff from the Florida Baseball Ranch come out here in early December and show use how they us how it's done! We really want to change the game for pitching development in the state of Colorado and we are lucky enough to have a relationship with the best in the business!
Why do you think Healthy Heat is so special?
I started doing the Ranch program when I was 20 and I went from throwing 82-84 with constant pain, to 88-90 and pain free. Some of my teammates saw even bigger increases and again hardly any injuries. It's an amazing program that I wish I had found earlier in my career. I think kids of all ages need this program now to maximize their potential and most importantly stay healthy.
What are the first things you look for when evaluating a pitcher?
The first things I look for when evaluating a pitcher are the use of their lower half and their arm action. I believe those are the two biggest keys to long term health. As far as "stuff" goes I look for an aggressive fastball, not a certain velocity but just throwing it with conviction. A guy willing to throw his best heater in the zone is critical. A good secondary pitch is awesome if you establish your fastball. And last but not least I look for a kid who just competes his tail off. It's my job to develop the physical side of things but if they lack competitiveness and drive it makes it much more difficult.
So you are new to Colorado. What are your thoughts so far on the state and how do you feel about Colorado baseball compared to a hot bed like Virginia?
Colorado has blown me away with talent for being a cold weather state! I think the level of talent on the hitting side is on par with the rest of the country. However, the biggest disparity in my opinion is arm strength and just overall quality of movement. Obviously it's difficult to throw as much as a kid in warmer weather states.
A lot of people say you either have it or you don't what are your thoughts?
I for one am firmly against that belief and the "freak" theory. There are without a doubt people who don't have to do near as much as their teammates and will still be the best player on the team. For those of us that aren't that lucky it just means we have to do more. Everyone may not be able to throw 100 that may be a gift, but low 90's just takes hard work.
What is an easy way for players to increase arm strength that isn't often talked about?
Funny all my answers seem to have a common theme. I just think flat out playing catch is the easiest way that no one talks about. A lot of internet gurus claim to have all the answers and there are a few out there that really do work. But if they could just find time and a place to play catch more frequently it could make a drastic difference. Also, if they get burnt out on throwing a baseball throwing a football is another great option. Throwing is throwing, just go do it.
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