Strength in Numbers #60
We delivered education at a couple of cool places in Louisiana. Last week we touched on Louisiana Tech, an ass-kicking facility in Ruston, LA where I am a faculty member. The second was Top Velocity, owned by Brent Porciau, a pioneer in velocity enhancement methods who does not use weighted balls.
Brent is solid when it comes to communicating with players.
He knows how to get the WHAT, WHY, and HOWs of his methods across to his athletes, many of whom are in Latin countries, which is awesome.
BREAKING DOWN THE WHAT, WHY, AND HOWS OF COACHING COMMUNICATION
How are your athletes motivated?
What do they want to accomplish in their careers? What everlasting message do you want them to walk away with after listening to you?
In professional baseball, it is pretty simple. Players want to earn more money, have greater opportunities to compete, and want to win a World Series.
These are things that resonate as it’s implicit that what you bring into the team/organization intends to make them better players.
But suppose you are working with a high school athlete. In that case, it may be that you connect the technology with earning a college scholarship, being drafted, being the best player in the city or state, or giving a greater chance to develop by avoiding injury.
The key to communicating new approaches is to not attach any negative reinforcement to them (i.e., loss of playing time, money, or opportunity).
This is a confusing point of contention in high-level baseball when coaches are not entirely on board with the technology that the front office or athletic departments put in place. Instead of supporting the leadership with a positive message, they excuse themselves from being a part of it.
Further, I have witnessed coaches openly tell players that the front office is implementing something they do not support but they have to implement it.
This is a weak place to be and might be a window into bigger problems, including psychological safety, where coaches do not feel comfortable disagreeing with their leadership.
If the approach is to bash and not support, that is not a good place to be as players will 100% see the misalignment, and you are then wreaking havoc in their competitive arena as they are forced to choose between the front office or coaching staff in accepting any new idea.
Be player-centric, be positive, and be very contentious about how you describe the WHAT, WHY, and HOWS in launching a ground-breaking approach such as the inception of ArmCare.com with your programs.
After establishing their motivators and making the connection, you need to go into the performance benefits in more detail immediately.
This is the WHAT aspect of your communication. Here’s an example:
WHAT – By using the ArmCare.com platform, we will be able to address any weaknesses or imbalances in your arm and create individual training programs customized for you to advance velocity, command, recovery, and reduce the risk of injury.
This is going to give you the ball more often and let you show up for greater competitive opportunities in the sport.
Notice how I did not lead with health benefits. Although my expertise is in baseball injury prevention, I do not discuss injury prevention advantages first, as performance (throwing faster, more accurately, greater ball flight features) is what resonates.
Injuries are a negative reinforcer, an aversion motivator, whereas the other features are competitive and positive reinforcers in the athlete’s mind.
I also never stated that the product would shut down a player, but instead, they will get many more opportunities by testing their fatigue levels and range of motion changes.
Now we have established what the benefits are of the newly integrated approach, the next thing they need to know is why engaging in a new activity or methodology should be important to them.
You established the motivation (Championships, money, fame, etc.), but now they need to have a bit more science.
Here’s an example:
WHY – On any given day, an athlete’s strength may change. This affects the relationship of throwing arm force relative to fastball velocity. The goal is to keep raising maximum arm strength as you gain velocity so it can be sustained all game long and reduce wear and tear with increased velocity capacity.
When you communicate why this new integration is important, try to meet your athlete’s level of understanding, so they absorb what you are saying correctly.
During my visit with Brent, I quickly noted that he is a master at this aspect of the game.
We went on Instagram live and did a bunch of things, from technical education, a roundtable discussion with Q&A, and an Olympic lifting Demo.
There was a ton of player engagement, and I even made the mistake of addressing athletes as coaches on Instagram Live in answering their questions – way too technical on my end.
Athletes were from Latin countries who called in as well. Brent has far-reaching followership and understands the importance of player-focused communication.
In recognizing a language barrier, he hired one of the most unique persons I have ever encountered in baseball in Alex Lozada.
Alex is bilingual, a tremendous audio-visual technician, a motion graphic artist, videographer, and is the control center for Top Velocity in connecting all facets of communication.
In one swoop, we had Instagram Live hooked up, another camera recording me from the mic, and we created great sound quality for podcasting.
Alex establishes live streaming for Brent to be spontaneous and teach at any moment of the day.
It was fascinating, and I was truly impressed by how Top Velocity reaches its athletes, and Brent himself is one of the best digital marketers in the game.
You can watch our Olympic lifting discussion here, which was a lot of fun talking about how we view Olympic lifting and some of the technical components of addressing the bar, the front rack position, and the coordination involved:
Okay – now that you nailed WHAT and WHY, here’s where you come in and describe the implementation process. This is the last stage before launching the new approach.
Here – you spoon-feed how you are going to implement everything. Here’s an example:
HOW – The ArmCare.com platform will be used daily as part of your warm-up routine. You wear the device on your wrist and will have an Arm Primer screen after your warm-up, a Fresh Exam on your throwing arm on bullpen days, and will perform a Post Exam after high-intensity throwing (bullpen/velo/game).
An important note is that if you are in Major League Baseball, you must add a WHO section at the end. Here you need to mention who is collecting the data, who’s responsible for aggregating it and analyzing it, and who will review the data in making coaching decisions.
PACKAGING YOUR MESSAGE IN A VIDEO
Once you have nailed down your WHAT, WHY, and HOW sections, it’s a good idea to turn it into a video. Try to keep it shorter than 90 seconds and use visualization software such as Canva to make attractive graphics, film yourself using the technology, and show your data to your players.
The organic feel of a video is important, and it can be easily shared with players. Some MLB teams do not want to share video information as it could travel with the athlete, but if those concerns arise, the video should be privately hosted and viewed.
As far as disseminating the message, I prefer apps (Google Hangouts, Whats App, Slack, Instagram, etc.) over email that can allow the athletes to view the information on their phone, making viewing convenient, as well as saving you time in answering questions, as you can address your entire player population at one time.
Player-centered communication and data-informed coaching are two important pieces to excellence with ArmCare.com. If you need help with your WHAT, WHY, and HOW’s, reach out as we want to ensure your message is strong and that you are not just playing videos we have online.
The more the message comes from you, the faster the adoption rate, as your voice, your face, and your use case are more impactful as you have established rapport and trust already with your athletes.
Also, if you are interested in our private education and technology bundles, please email me for more information. You will receive information you have not heard before, technical coaching for testing and training that will be new, and important considerations for individualizing training and making it more biomechanically specific.
You will also experience deep pitching insights and experience-driven involvement by myself and Jordan Oseguera, who succeeded at the MLB level in reducing injuries, sustaining velocity, and maintaining command all season long.
Knowledge and application are competitive advantages. Join us to learn, integrate, adapt, and win.