In my last interview with the legendary guru of Speed and Strength Training, from D1 Sports in Tennessee, Kurt Hester. He stated that Major League Baseball is using glorified physical therapy instead of strength and conditioning. This was a shot at the lame approach to training and rehabilitating athletes in the MLB organizations. This is coming from a guy who trains some of NFL’s most explosive athletes and who was label as Gorilla Ball, when he was training the LSU tiger baseball team in the 90’s.
Kurt says that fear is a major problem with baseball players. They train the way they do because of the fear that comes from the higher levels of the game. He also says that if young baseball players trained like Major League ball players, they would never get better.
The fear is that weight training, especially heavy weight training, will make you bulky and will cause injury. Kurt says the MLB’s athletic trainers are running glorified physical therapy programs and not actually training their athletes to become bigger, stronger and faster. This is why I believe top draft picks and big salary pitcher’s like Mark Prior leave the league with a career ending injury, after only 3 years in the show, and never make it back.
Gorilla Ball Training vs Glorified Physical Therapy
This is the reason players like Barry Bonds carried his own trainers and doctors almost everywhere he went. Kurt said what makes athletes better is increasing force production. If you can train to move more explosively in a vertical or linear direction, then you are a better athlete because of it. This force production translates into running speed, bat speed and throwing velocity. This is the same approach he used when he trained the LSU Baseball team to 5 National Championships in the 90’s and 2000. He enhanced the force production of every athlete on the team and yes, even the pitchers benefited from it. They all became so developed that they were calling the LSU style of play, Gorilla Ball.
This style of training, developed by Kurt Hester, was not only revolutionizing LSU baseball but the entire game. Kurt was receiving calls from Major League Managers who wanted to know why they were hitting so many runs, stealing so many bases, and their pitchers collecting so many K’s. When he would tell them that he was focusing on force production, through heavy load and triple extension training, these Major League Coach’s wanted to use his program but everyone of them shied away from the program because of the worries that they would be scrutinized for using this type of heavy load training in the MLB. Kurt says baseball is behind Golf when it comes to strength and conditioning.
Learn More about Kurt Hester
Kurt Hester is the National Director of Training for D1 Sports Training. He is known nationally for his energetic approach to training top-tier athletes.
Kurt is D1’s primary authority on sports training and is responsible for instilling the D1 training philosophy and making sure all D1 coaches properly implement and teach training programs and techniques. In addition, Kurt oversees D1’s NFL Combine Training Program.
Prior to D1, Kurt ran and owned HS2 Athletic Performance in New Orleans for nine years, where he turned out more than 400 collegiate scholarship athletes and trained more than 50 NFL draft picks. He also trained numerous MLB draft picks, high school All-Americans, state championship teams and collegiate National Track & Field finalists. Prior to HS2, Kurt was a strength & speed coach at LSU, Tulane and Southeastern Louisiana University. In addition, Kurt is still an active strength and speed consultant at Florida State, Tennessee, Illinois, Ole Miss, Alabama, Nichols State, Grambling State and the Unviersity of Miami.
Kurt, a graduate of Tulane Unviersity, was inducted into the Strength Coach Hall of Fame and holds various certifications through the National Strength and Conditioning Association, United States Weightlifting and the Speed, Agility and Conditioning Association. Kurt learned under USA Weightlifting coach, Gayle Hatch and speed coach, Tom Shaw.
If you would like to watch the interview with the legendary Kurt Hester, it is hosted on TopVelocity.net and is also a part of the 3X Pitching Velocity Program.