At first glance, it seems as if the Cressey Sports Performance Baseball Mentorship course is exclusively for baseball players or fitness professionals that work with baseball players. But if you look a little closer, this course is much more than an upper-extremity workshop that applies to athletes. It’s for anyone who coaches people through any movement that involves the scapula, lats, shoulders, ribs, neck, triceps, biceps, forearms, or hands. So basically anyone with a thorax.
I’m going to walk you through the Cressey Sports Performance Baseball Mentorship course and all that it has to offer. Before you scroll away, keep in mind that you don’t have to love baseball (or even know anything about the game!) in order to get something useful out of this course. Like I said, if you train a human being with a thorax, you’re in the right place.
The Masterminds Behind the Course
If you don’t know who Eric Cressey is, I suggest you check out his blog first and foremost. Eric is well-known especially for his work with baseball players, most notably two Cy Young Award Winners Corey Kluber (2014, 2017) and Max Scherzer (2013, 2016, 2017) as well as studs such as Noah Syndergaard, Steve Cishek, Adam Ottovino, Logan Morrison and 40+ others.
You can’t mention Eric without mentioning his business partner Pete Dupuis, who runs the business operations side of Cressey Sports Performance, a facility that grew from a small suburb of Boston into a multi-unit national brand adding two locations in Florida. Pete has also developed his own brand as a business consultant to many other fitness facilities and businesses around the world. He also runs one of the best intern programs in the sports performance industry, receiving 150 applicants per semester for only six slots, open four times a year. You can learn more about Pete here.
In addition to Eric and Pete, the founders of CSP, you will receive presentations from Christian Wonders, Cressey Sports Performance Pitching Coordinator. Christian is a former strength and conditioning coach turned to Pitching Coach, writing programs for some of the most decorated pitchers in Major League Baseball. In addition to his role at CSP, he works with Georgia Tech University and the Cape Cod League, the top summer league in the country for collegiate baseball players.
You’ll also learn from Dr. Eric Shoenberg, a physical therapist that has been working alongside Eric Cressey for the past decade. He blends the lens of physical therapy with strength and conditioning and coaching to create a system that expands from a return to play to injury mitigation, and performance.
The Format of the Course
Everyone learns differently. Some excel in the lecture setting while others absorb more information in a collaborative setting. The good news is, whatever method you prefer is exactly what you’ll get because this CSP course offers multiple models of teaching and learning. Each day of this three-day course will start with traditional lecture, where you’ll learn the basics about the shoulder joint and its intricacies. However, that’s just the beginning. After soaking up all the theory, you’ll then go straight to the floor and apply what you’ve learned.
At CSP, the assessment is key. You don’t know where you’re going until you know where you have been, as they say, so while there are many great assessment protocols out there, what matters most is that you have one and you are consistent with it. It doesn’t matter if you’re training Grandma Betty or a pitcher who earns $32 million a year, everyone needs to be assessed properly so you can decide what their starting point is when you design your program. After the assessment, you will have a custom program built exactly for you, from your warmup to strength training to arm care and therapy.
You’ll then go through specific demonstrations and models of movements and exercises that will give you the opportunity to apply what you’ve learned. Additionally, you’ll break out into small groups and dissect everything in front of you, which gives you the opportunity to talk to your peers and learn about their past experiences, and how they relate to the current situation. Because the more information you have under your belt, the more educated decisions you can make in your own career.
Group presentations, live Q&As, and real-time problem solving are just the tip of the iceberg. All the experts available from CSP are there to help you work through whatever issue you’re facing or whatever question you’re wrestling with.
What You’ll Get From This Course
Perhaps the most unique takeaway from this course is experiencing the intersection of strength and conditioning, physical therapy and art of pitching. All three disciplines are in the same field, but we’ve been conditioned to think they don’t speak the same language. However, I’ve seen the relationship between these three grow and positively evolve over the last five years, and this course is the perfect example of how strength and conditioning, physical therapy and individual skill and sport coaches can work hand in hand. You’ll understand how to incorporate the best of all worlds in order to give your clients the best training possible, whether they’re looking to get stronger, nursing an injury, or somewhere in between.
Another fantastic benefit from taking this course is learning how to apply many different techniques. Far too many certifications and courses exclusively focus on the lecture component without actually giving you the chance to apply in real time. CSP equips you with all the tools you need to make adjustments, corrections, and adaptations in the moment with your clients. I often see a big gap between a coach’s ability to talk about the body and teach movements, and their ability to translate all this on the floor with real-time variables, athletes, situations, etc. You’ll feel ready to take on many different kinds of problems that are thrown at you in your everyday work.
What the CSP Team Can Offer
You’ll realize quickly that it’s all about family — #CSPFamily to be exact. At any given time there are 4-6 strength and conditioning coaches, physical therapists, massage therapists, strength coaches, and 4-6 interns on the floor at any given time to help ensure that quality of the workout is not sacrificed and the athletes feel like they are being supported. CSP was one of the first major facilities to install the custom programming and semi-private training models, which have now led them to become one of the biggest privately owned fitness facilities in the industry.
The CSP Baseball Mentorship is broken down into three components: lecture, practice, observation. Personally, my favorite part of the course was the blend between movement mechanics, controlling unwarranted rotation, and the specifics of the shoulder complex, especially when it comes to throwing a baseball.
Listening to a lecture about the shoulder that’s sculpted by both a pitching coach and a physical therapist really gives you a holistic view of training, health, and performance. Even if you’re a strength coach who doesn’t work with baseball or softball athletes, this course is a great educational opportunity to look at and better understand the shoulder. So if you work with volleyball players, tennis players, swimmers, or basically anyone who relies on using their shoulders for their performance, you should look into this course.
One of the tricks of tackling multiple education systems is not trying to memorize every theory study or presentation you hear, but rather to look for the common denominators between each course that brings you value and can be useful across several fields.
The Final Word
While every course you take should not be an exact replica of each other, they should build on each other. While this group was not short on their educational letters behind their name, one of the coolest things is to hear from them where they draw influence. No one person has all the answers to everything, so it’s important to give room for multiple voices to be heard.
One thing that is constantly said across successful fitness professionals is that your network is extremely important. To be able to refer out and receive referrals is a huge component of your business. It was really fun watching the CSP network present on one topic while inclusively adding different lenses of perspective to layer on top of the message. This course will certainly help you enlarge your network and expand your mindset to help you become a well-rounded trainer.