Category Archives: College Recruiting

“How to Meet with A Coach Effectively”

coach-cornerI have worked with athletes for many years and I always hear several questions about coaches, their style, philosophy, evaluation of player performance and basically understanding expectations. Here are a few familiar questions and or comments: I do not understand my coach. How do I speak to my Coach? Why am I not playing? Why does my Coach dislike me? My Coach has favorites? My Coach is Unfair.

I am quite sure, that these questions/comments are all too familiar, especially, with the climate of competition in athletics.  At the end of the day, the athlete must still have the comfort to speak to the coach.  The athlete must show confidence, composure and respect during this meeting. Now today’s focus is on how an athlete should prepare for a 1-on-1 meeting with a coach.

Meeting Keys:

Have a Plan—Agenda–Provides organization
Objective— Main Goal—Why you called the meeting
3 points of Interest—What you want to address
Make 3 Copies-(You, Your Position Coach and Head Coach)
Create 10-15 Open-ended questions— Promotes discussion and feedback
(Question Strategy: who,what ,when where,why and how)

Meeting Flow:

Review Agenda
Open Discussion—Ask your questions
Allow Coach to respond on your points
You speak on your points
Confirm understanding of objectives-3 Points of Interest
Action steps: Set f/up meeting time to measure performance
Say Thank You

Qualities to Remember during the Meeting:

Listen -Take Notes

Keep Composure -Control Emotions

Focus on Objectives-Manage Time

Take Ownership -Repeat Important Points

Breathe-Relax-Stay Calm

This meeting preparation guideline provides a benchmark on how to plan, approach and gain the respect of the coach. An organized plan shows thought, professionalism and most importantly, shows that the athlete is serous about the future. If you would like a sample of a meeting agenda simply email me at reggiew@championsquest.com. Take care and remember preparation builds separation!!!

“Keep Living Like A Champion”

Champion’s Quest Athlete Academy

Assistant Athletic Director

Coach Reggie Ward

University of Notre Dame”88

reggiew@championsquest.com

562-598-2600

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Long Toss: Building Better Throwing Athletes Part 1

Long Toss is one of those topics in the baseball world that is highly debated for many reasons. On one side, it is argued that long toss puts un-necessary stress on the arm, while reinforcing bad mechanics, and ultimately does not translate to velocity on the mound. Today, I am going to start an in-depth series breaking down this throwing program, and explain why I am a believer. To me, there are so many factors that make long toss a beneficial addition to your velocity training program.53a8f307e9e23-image

First, let me start by saying that baseball is one of the more uninformed sports in the world today. This sport has relied on traditions, values, and methods for quite a number of years, many of which are simply not backed by science. One of those ideologies, which has run rampant, is this idea that every pitcher only has a set number of “bullets” to use over the course of their career. With this ideology, it is encouraged to do as little throwing as possible, and save your arm from its impending doom. To me, this is just the blind leading the blind. In what sport, category, or profession can you ever expect to “not practice” your actual craft, and make improvements/ set yourself up for injury prevention?! If you think about it from a sport by sport perspective, EVERY OTHER SPORT, endorses advancement by the act of throwing, kicking, or shooting rigorously within the same movement pattern, with the same equipment to achieve results. So why is throwing a baseball (In America) any different?CC Sabathia

To me, there is one American-specific condition that sheds a lot of light on throwing phobia, and it is the fact that we are completely front-side dominant. This front side dominance is a major contributor to most throwing related injuries, which would also explain why people are cautious to let kids throw the baseball a lot. We are obsessed with the “glamor muscles” on our anterior side of the body. This includes our pecs, biceps, abdominals, quads, etc. Where we have neglected our bodies as throwing athletes is on the posterior side. This includes the back side of our rotator cuff, scap chain, lats, rhomboids, glutes, hamstrings, etc. This imbalance is important because it shows that as a culture we have bigger accelerator muscle groups than our “brakes” will allow. One of the easiest ways to expose this imbalance is by testing the internal rotation strength versus external rotation strength of the athlete.


My personal testing of young baseball athletes has shown that there is an approximate 1:4 deficiency in the decelerators of the shoulder to the accelerators, which is culturally instilled. Sometimes, this gap is even more! I’ve had a number of athletes that were closer to 1:10! What this shows me, is that the great majority of American throwing youngsters are driving Ferraris equipped with Prius brakes. What happens when you don’t have the brakes to match the horsepower? You either have to cruise at a sub maximal speed or you’ll likely crash at some point. The same can be said for these young throwers. This also shines light on
exactly why there is a phobia with athletes throwing a baseball as hard as they can. If you push your body’s limits without the proper structural integrity, you are asking for trouble.

average-mlb-fastball-velocityI am a firm believer that in order to throw the baseball hard, you have to go out on a regular basis and learn to throw hard… BY ACTUALLY THROWING THE BASEBALL HARD. When you push the envelope in your catch play, you are not always going to be perfect, but as long as you are making sound adjustments mechanically, you are re-wiring your body to be a quicker, more efficient athlete. This is quality practice, and there are many factual reasons why long toss is one of the most effective ways to develop elite throwers. If you are looking for positive gains in velocity, long toss is certainly one of the answers. However, you need to make sure you start developing the balance and strength in your rotator cuff that will be demanded of you when you hit the gas pedal on your training. We will start hashing out the nuts and bolts of why long toss is so effective next time. In the meantime, gentlemen, start mixing in a back/ pull day every now and then. Those biceps aren’t going to help you throw 90MPH.

Kyle Richter, CSCS, USAW, TPI

USC Baseball Alumni, BA Human Performance

Why are F.U.N.D.A.M.E.N.T.A.L.S. Important?

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Many athletes see the value in fundamentals but do not have a system to keep F.U.N.D.A.M.E.N.T.A.L.S. present in their daily lives. F.U.N.D.A.M.E.N.T.A.L.S. are away of life, an approach and a constant reminder to do the basics to achieve the ultimate goal of becoming a champion. Therefore, F.U.N.D.A.M.E.N.T.A.L.S. are important because it lays the foundation of success and it allows the champion athlete to master their sport.

Now lets’ take a closer look at the power of F.U.N.D.A.M.E.N.T.A.L.S

The “F” provides FOCUS and guidance.

The ” U” reminds the athlete that they must be UNIQUE and exhibit creativity.

The “N” shows that the athlete that everyday is a  NEW opportunity to pursue their purpose.

The “D” is the fuel in every athlete’s heart to keep the DREAM alive of being the best!!!

The “A”  is the  ABILITY TO ADJUST and then perform at the highest level.

The “M” is for the  MENTAL GAME because it is what makes great athletes great!!!

action-is-the-fundamental-key-to-success-quote-1The “E” reminds the athlete to maximize ENERGY levels in mind, body & spirit.

The “N” promotes self-motivation to say “NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE”.

The “T”offers TRUST  to coaches to listen, to accept teaching and perform with confidence.

The “A” shows on how ATTENTION improves performance,especially attention to details.

The “L” is the athlete’s foundation because if you don’t LOVE what you do, why do it!!!

The “S” is having  SUPERIOR SKILLS and setting the standard in your sport.

Now that you have a system of mastering your fundamentals, implement these power points in your daily program, play with confidence and remember that F.U.N.D.A.M.E.N.T.A.L.S. are the foundation of success!!!!

“Keep Living Like A Champion”

Coach Reggie Ward

Champion’s Quest Athlete Academy

Assistant Athletic Director

reggiew@championsquest.com

562-598-2600

 

 

“The Process”: Mental Approach on the Diamond Part 4

Over the last couple months here at Champions QUEST we have spent a considerable amount of time and thought dissecting the tangible action steps for ball players to take control of their mental game. We have talked about what the “process” looks like, and how a ballplayer should only focus on those things that are within their control. Today, I would like to add one more piece of the puzzle which is equally important, and that is routines. Routines are an essential part of the “wiring” process that allow athletes to stay repeatable. Repeatability is crucial for athletic confidence, especially when it comes to baseball, a sport that is centered around accuracy related results.

garciaparras20habits207-001In order to establish a routine, first the athlete must develop a plan. It is absolutely essential for the ballplayer to have a plan each and every time they step on the field. Baseball is a tricky game, because it requires a balance of strategy and instincts. For instance, if you step up to the plate as a hitter with the intention of “wingin’ it,” you are not giving yourself the best chance of success against an opponent that is trying to outmatch and outsmart you. Today we are going to talk about a sample mindset and approach for a hitter, which can be established through batting practice and game time experience.

  1. Step up to the batter’s box, and establish what you like to do to prepare before you enter. Once you realize what you tend to do (manicure the dirt, re-strap batting gloves, tap the bat on the plate, etc.), make it is detailed as possible. From there do the same exact thing every single time, for the same amount of time/ repetitions. As you do this enough, you will have to think about it less and less. This serves to tap into the same wired instincts that have made you the hitter you are today.
  2. Use a deep breath as your re-set button. There is scientific power in the deep breath, and how it impacts your body. Physiologically, it works to slow down your heart rate and reduce stress. For this reason, there is really no better cue for re-setting than a breath. From there, go back through your routine and back in to the batter’s box.
  3. Always sit fastball, and adjust off-speed. If you allow a fastball to beat you, you are setting yourself up to be dominated a number of different ways.
  4. Be ultra decisive. Either give a healthy hack or completely lay off. The better you get at reading spin out of the pitcher’s hand, the better you will get at deciding.
  5. One indication you are getting fooled may be your hands. If your hands are dropping as you step/ load, it likely means you are unsure of yourself or cautious. Force yourself to keep those hands up even on pitches you take!
  6. Be aggressive and hit the ball hard! PERIOD!evanlongoriatexasrangersvtampabayraysfah8ouxe91ol

By following an approach, such as this, you can ensure you are achieving one main objective… That every pitch you “check in for” you are becoming a better hitter. By sticking to an approach, you have the ability to learn from mistakes, and constantly refine your craft. You will absolutely still make mistakes, and get beat at times, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make an adjustment next time. The premise of hitting comprises of a a few important factors which consist of being..

  1. An excellent decision maker
  2. A strong athlete
  3. Efficient at swinging a bat
  4. A superior competitor

Again, the whole justification of taking pride in an approach is to help the athlete self-evaluate, and ultimately gain the confidence that comes from repeatability. From there, it is up to them to make sure that their “big picture” approach is sound. This means that from at-bat to at bat, they are completely acting in the moment, with disregard to the results they may or may not have achieved in previous at bats. This all serves to simplify things for arguably one of the toughest objectives in all of sports, hitting a baseball. Try this out for yourself, and pay careful attention to your development. Give yourself credit, when credit is due! Stick to the process, and reward yourself according to how well you execute as an athlete, not the outcome.

Coach Kyle Richter, CSCS, USAW, TPI

USC Baseball Alumni, BA Human Performance

Success Story: Chris Morgan Throws No-Hitter

Chris morgan

Chris Morgan: Flashed dominant stuff against Jordan High School at Blair Field over the weekend. He threw a complete game no-hit shutout with 14 strikeouts.

Huge Congratulations to Chris Morgan on his scorching start to the 2016 spring high school baseball season. Chris is a left-handed pitcher at Western High School and has been training at Champion’s QUEST for a little over 3 months now. He has a tremendous appetite for learning, growing, and self improvement. He has worked very had both on the field, and in the weight room to improve his functional strength, mobility, and mechanics. What I am most impressed with about Chris, however, is how he hard he has worked to shift his mental approach to the game. Here at Champion’s QUEST it is all about the process. If you learn to control ONLY the things you are capable of controlling, the results will come. In the case of Chris this is clearly evident. In his first two starts for Western, Chris has combined for two complete game shutouts, including a no-hitter with 14 strikeouts, and a 1-hit shutout with 9 strikeouts. This display of dominance is a testament to him, the hard work he has put in, and his passion for the game of baseball.

What’s scary about Chris, is he is just getting started with what he is capable of achieving as an athlete! The sky is the limit for him, and I have no doubt that he is hungry for more. I greatly look forward to being apart of his journey as he continues to fine tune his body, mechanics, and approach to the game. I can only imagine what his continued work ethic, and drive will produce, as he continues to mature as a ball player.

Kyle Richter, CSCS, USAW, TPI
USC Baseball Alumni, BA Human Performance

NLI | National College Signing Day

Every year, the first Wednesday of February is a very exciting day for high school Senior Student-Athletes as they participate in National Signing Day. It is a day that is televised, documented, and talked about by many media stations. Young men and women from Football to Soccer to Track to Water Polo are showcased as they take the next step in their athletic career: Accepting an athletic scholarship to play their sport in college.

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Whether you see it on social media or on ESPN, what is that piece of paper the student-athletes are signing?

If you are receiving any form of athletic scholarship from a NCAA Division I or II college, you will be asked to sign a National Letter of Intent (NLI.) If you are not 18 just yet, your parents will have to sign the form for you.

About the National Letter of Intent (NLI) (straight for the source NLI Website)

“The NCAA manages the daily operations of the NLI program while the Collegiate Commissioners Association (CCA) provides governance oversight of the program. Started in 1964 with seven conferences and eight independent institutions, the program now includes 650 Division I and Division II participating institutions.

The NLI is a voluntary program with regard to both institutions and student-athletes. No prospective student-athlete or parent is required to sign the NLI and no institution is required to join the program. The NLI is a binding agreement between a prospective student-athlete and an NLI member institution.

A prospective student-athlete agrees to attend the institution full-time for one academic year (two semesters or three quarters). The institution agrees to provide athletics financial aid for one academic year (two semesters or three quarters).

The penalty for not fulfilling the NLI agreement: A student-athlete has to serve one year in residence (full-time, two semesters or three quarters) at the next NLI member institution and lose one season of competition in all sports.

An important provision of the NLI program is a recruiting prohibition applied after a prospective student-athlete signs the NLI. This prohibition requires member institutions to cease recruitment of a prospective student-athlete once an NLI is signed with another institution.

A coach or an institutional representative may not hand deliver this NLI off the institution’s campus or be present off campus at the time I sign the NLI per NCAA rules. This NLI may be delivered by express mail, courier service, regular mail, email or facsimile. An NLI submitted to an institution electronically is permissible.”

Can I still participate in National Signing Day if I make the college team without an Athletic Scholarship? 

Yes, in fact a lot of student-athletes partake in National Signing Day and are not receiving an athletic scholarship. More often than not, college programs run out of money for the amount of athletes they need to field their team. Just because you are not receiving an athletic scholarship does not mean that you cannot ever receive athletic funds during your college career. In fact, it’s the opposite. Every year, athletic scholarships can be negotiated and student-athletes can earn more athletic money based off their performance and goals set with the college coaches.

What if my college does not give Athletic Scholarships?

Colleges that compete in the NCAA Division III do not give athletic scholarships. Most often, colleges will send an agreement confirming your intent to play in their athletic program. This is an opportunity for you to sign on National Signing Day and take pride in participating in the day; however, you will not sign a National Letter of Intent.

CHAMPION’S QUEST NATIONAL SIGNING DAY SPOTLIGHT

We would like to take this time to applaud the young student-athletes who have signed to play Collegiate Athletics. Congratulations!

Check out Champion’s QUEST Alumni

ChampionsQuestKaitlynSachsChampions Quest Moriah BrownChampionsQuest Randi GeffreyChampions Quest Jessica JohnsonChampions Quest Jenna DagesChampions Quets Rachel Flory Miranda ThomasBrittany Gonzales Emma MalsyChampionsQuest Ashley WillinghamChampionsQuestChampionsQuest Rachel PosnerChampionsQuest Maureen Kennedy

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brittany GonzalesCoach Brittany Gonzales, Soccer Academy Director

BrittanyG@ChampionsQUEST.com 562-598-2600

 

 

ALERT: Success Story Kaitlyn Sachs

Kaitlyn Sachs lives and breaths the lifestyle of a student-athlete. Her drive to go the extra mile with passion and commitment contributes to her strength as a leader among her soccer peers.

ChampionsQuest Kaitlyn Sachs

Kaitlyn, Senior, Oxford Academy

For the past 5 years, Kaitlyn has been working on her athletic performance, soccer skills, and leadership abilities through community service, helping younger athletes, and becoming a “Training Teammate” with other soccer players from various cities and teams here at Champion’s QUEST.

Kaitlyn’s confidence over the years has increasingly skyrocketed as her own success has increased. Kaitlyn has become a mentor for her peers and younger athletes that want to play soccer in college. Kaitlyn was honest with herself in finding a college that fit her Athletic, Academic, and Social needs.

OC Varsity Girls Soccer Athlete of the Week: Kaitlyn Sachs, Oxford Academy

ChampionsQuestKaitlynSachs

Kaitlyn – Adams State

Kaitlyn has a strong left foot and a rocket shot playing the outside midfield position, leading Orange County high schools in goals. Over the past 5 years, Kaitlyn has been attending speed and strength clinics to increase her speed at this position. Not only did Kaitlyn increase her athleticism, she found love in a new position – GOALKEEPER! Kaitlyn knew that she was athletic and strong enough mentally in high stress situations to be the leader on defense.

 

Fast forward to today, Kaitlyn’s hard earned success has led her to a College Scholarship to play Goalkeeper for Adams State University in Colorado (NCAA Division II)

In addition to Kaitlyn’s athletic goals, Kaitlyn attends Oxford Academy, the second highest API score public school in the state of California. Based on performance on the entrance exam, only the top 25 students from the district’s eight junior high schools that apply can be admitted. Forty-one percent of the students come from economically disadvantaged homes. Student’s home languages are diverse with twenty-six different languages spoken and 100% of all seniors meet the minimum University of California (UC) eligibility requirements.

 

Outside of Kaitlyn’s many hours of academics and athletics, she has always made the time to help her community that fostered her ambitions and goals as a child.

Kaitlyn Scahs Champions Quest

Kaitlyn with 25+ Goals

Kaitlyn and her family are members of the Cerritos Baptist Church and Kaitlyn loves being a coordinator for the children’s ministry. For the past 11 years, Kaitlyn has been an ambassador of the nationally recognized organization Girl Scouts of the USA. Just recently, Kaitlyn received the highest honor awarded by the organization, the Gold Award.

Over the years, Kaitlyn has understood her personal strengths and weaknesses with maturity and always with a commitment to become the “Best Kaitlyn she can be!” We are very excited to see her excel in the next phase of her life and continue to be a wonderful example for the younger athletes at Champion’s QUEST.

Enjoy your Play It Again Sports $20 “Fun Bucks” coupon at the Los Alamitos location on Katella.LosAlamitosPlayItAgainSports

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brittany GonzalesCoach Brittany Gonzales, Soccer Academy Director

BrittanyG@ChampionsQUEST.com 562-598-2600