ZONE Baseball Performance
Successful performance is based on a foundation of skill development, physical & mental preparation, and a commitment to excellence. The ZONE team is committed to long term athlete development through physical literacy, with a focus on athlete, parent and coach education, preparation and injury prevention. Baseball is a fantastic game, with a rich history and tradition, spanning well over a century. Although many traditions and significant knowledge has carried forward through the decades, the evolution of the game, along with the science of training and biomechanical analysis, has resulted in performance advances and innovative training. Many factors contribute to athletic performance. The athlete that addresses these factors in an educated and effective manner has the opportunity to achieve optimal performance, while minimizing the risk of injury.
The vast majority of baseball injuries are of a repetitive/overuse variety, primarily associated with throwing/pitching. Acute injuries/trauma are seen more often with base running, fielding, and occasionally in the batter's box. From a physical demands perspective, baseball is an explosive sport requiring players to perform complex movement patterns with precision. The player’s ability to reproduce these complex movement patterns on a very consistent basis is optimal. Without the proper physical foundation, proper skill performance is difficult, and the chance of injury dramatically increases. Throwing a baseball and hitting a baseball produce significant force on the body. Pitching adds more repetition and frequency to the equation. This further magnifies any faulty mechanics and related physical deficiencies. As such, proper dynamic posture, mobility/flexibility, strength/stability and functional movement proficiency are paramount to successful performance, and form a foundation for the athlete. If any one of these components is deficient, the athlete's performance is limited, and the risk of injury is increased.
Developing athletic performance is a multifactorial process involving both on-field and off-field components. The success of skill development and game performance is closely related to proper rest/recovery, hydration, nutrition, dynamic warm-up and cool-down, strength/flexibility components, mental/emotional preparation, and age appropriate programming as it relates to athlete growth/development and the long term athlete development model (LTAD). Baseball has a great opportunity to proactively address these components from both a sports medicine perspective, and a skill development/coaching perspective. Youth baseball can introduce these components and their proper implementation to athletes, and parents, who may have never been previously provided with this information. These young athletes can then carry these tools with them as they continue to develop as baseball players, as well as in the other sports and activities in which they participate. More mature players can address key factors such as flexibility/strength deficits, allowing them to perform at an optimal level more consistently. This programming has the opportunity to develop better athletes, and in turn, better baseball players.
The ZONE Clinical Team
The ZONE Sports PT clinical team provides innovative expertise via individualized client assessment, treatment, exercise, education and consultation, as well as team services. Programming is tailored to the developmental age and competitive level of each athlete or team. For more information contact Mitch Dahl, director of baseball programming:
ZONE Sports Physiotherapy
P. 306.477.ZONE (9663)
C. 306.381.6556 (Mitch)
Resources and Reference Material
ZONE Baseball Performance: Intro & Info Comprehensive physiotherapy and consulting services with the ZONE staff and facilities, in conjunction with the Saskatoon Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Center... full document
ZONE Baseball Performance: Interval Throwing Program An evidence based interval throwing program (ITP) is a critical tool during off-season training and pre-season preparation, while also being a key component in a structured gradual return to throwing/pitching following injury or surgery... full document
ZONE Baseball Performance: Dynamic Warm-up, Movement Prep & Cool-Down Baseball is a sport requiring explosive, dynamic movements. As such, athletes of all ages need to properly prepare themselves prior to any practices, games, or throwing sessions. ALWAYS WARM-UP TO THROW, don't throw to warm-up. This dynamic progression addresses key movements and areas... full document
- ZONE Baseball Performance: Baseball Tips: Get Moving with Dynamic Warm-up Science and research indicate that athletes need to prepare for practices and games dynamically... full document
What clients are saying: I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the outstanding performance and relationship the Saskatchewan Baseball Association and Team Saskatchewan Baseball has had the pleasure to experience with Zone Sports PT. Every year our athletes will experience discomfort or injury while playing baseball. In particular, shoulder and elbows are often stressed during competition. I have referred many of our athletes to Zone Sports PT as the staff possesses extensive knowledge regarding injury prevention and rehab. They are more than willing to communicate their assessment with me and provide coaches, parents, and athlete a plan for preventing and rehabilitating from injury. Recently, one of our Team Saskatchewan athletes experienced “Tommy John” surgery on his right elbow and is continuing his rehabilitation with Zone Sports. The level of service Zone Sports PT has provided goes above and beyond. They always include the coach in the communication with the athlete regarding the plan. Zone Sports PT continues to get the leading edge in education and professional development in the field of physiotherapy. Mitch Dahl of Zone Sports traveled to Los Angeles in 2012 to attend the National Pitching Association’s Coaching Certification at the University of Southern California. Much of the exercise terminology was very advanced for someone like me and having Mitch Dahl in attendance was very beneficial. He has assisted me in implementing the many ideas and concepts that were discussed at the certification and has made my job so much easier. Many players from Major League Baseball have consulted with the National Pitching Association and now that knowledge can be shared with Saskatchewan players with the help of Zone Sports PT. I look forward to the continued relationship our association has with Zone Sports PT. The service they provide to our athletes is substantial as our athletes pursue their baseball dreams. - G. Brons, High Performance Director, Saskatchewan Baseball
What clients are saying: Our oldest son has been playing competitive baseball for over 10 years and Zone Sports Physiotherapy was referred to us in when he was experiencing pain in his throwing arm. Mitch is extremely knowledgeable and professional. In a comfortable, relaxed atmosphere (and with a warm sense of humor too) he worked with our son to assess and provide specialized rehab exercises and strength training routines to improve and strengthen his throwing arm. We continue to use Zone Sports PT; their knowledge and expertise is a comfort to us, and our son too, when requiring baseball-related physical therapy services. We would not hesitate in recommending Zone Sports Physiotherapy to our family, friends or anyone who needs treatment particularly in the sports field. Thanks so much for your care, guidance, and advice. - T. and C. Gore, parents
What clients are saying: I have nothing but high praise for the folks at Zone Sports Physiotherapy in Saskatoon. The facilities are bright and modern with a fantastic gym area. My son has been seeing Mitch Dahl for both rehab and sport specific training. From the initial appointment and every visit since, we are always impressed with Mitch's attention to details. His knowledge is amazing and because of his passion, is able to convey that knowledge to a non-medical person like myself, and more importantly, a teenager (age 15). Mitch makes it fun and interesting and this has really motivated my son to not only fully recover, but improve with a personally designed training program. The focus is not only on recovery but also prevention through proper mechanics and specific strength improvements. Although we have only been to see Mitch, the rest of the staff is always pleasant and I would assume they treat their patients as well as we have been. I feel Zone Sports PT provides great value for this level of service and have no suggestions on what they could do to improve other than re-locating closer to where we live… that said, it is worth the 5+ hours it takes us to drive there and back for an appointment. We have highly recommended Zone Sports PT before and will continue to do so. – G. McRae, parent, coach