HMMR Podcast Episode 248: Throwing the ball around (with Zach Dechant)

Baseball and the throwing events have a lot in common: in both sports you are trying to generate rotational power to move an implement fast. When it comes to training, there a lot of parallels as well. Zach Dechant is the strength coach for one of the top collegiate baseball programs. He joins this week’s podcast to discuss how he focuses on specific strength in training, including player profiling, exercise design, and many aspects of medicine ball training.

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Notes and quotes

Zach Dechant is the Senior Assistant Director of Strength and Conditioning at Texas Christian University. Since 2008 he has overseen the development of baseball, as well working with football quarterbacks.

  • 0:00 – Introduction.
  • 4:15 – Transfer of training and Bondarchuk: “At a certain point, strength no longer transfers. Coaches have to understand what really transfers for their sport.”
  • 6:30 – Searching for transfer and learning about individual athletes.
  • 11:15 – Overcoming the fear of specific strength and working with sport coaches on specific strength
  • 15:45 – 5 reasons for med balls: “The benefits of med balls range from general to specific: athleticism, force outputs, intent, workloads, and mechanical patterning.”
  • 17:00 – Improving intent, and searching for data/feedback.
  • 26:15 – Using over and underweight implements: “Heavier implements are not just about helping develop speed. It also is about what positions it is putting you in that can make you more efficient.”
  • 30:00 – Medicine ball training in the foundation phase: “Medball throws are not in our foundation program due to the fact I want to basic develop core stabilization, which is a primary ability athletes often lack.”
  • 35:15 – Extensive to intensive progressions: “Nobody walks into the weight room on day one and wants to put 95% on the bar and knock it out. You start with submaximal intensities and learn to move correctly first. The same thing with med balls. Attack it extensively first, and build volume and intensity on that.”
  • 38:30 – How much overload can you get from a med ball? “It oversimplifies things to say that you can’t get overload with a med ball since it isn’t that extremely heavy. You don’t need a barbell to create overload.”
  • 41:15 – The downside of heavy med balls and letting the movement dictate the weight: “The movement should dictate the weight of medicine ball you choose. You wouldn’t choose the same weight for a clean and a snatch, and you shouldn’t use the same weight for different med ball exercises either.”
  • 44:15 – Examples of SDE-focused training.

To hear more on these topics, listen to the full episode above. Also be sure to subscribe to our podcast and review it on iTunes.

Further reading