(Image Credit: KRISTV http://www.kristv.com/story/34548601/tcu-ranked-1-in-college-baseball)
Zach Dechant spoke with me earlier in the year, while his team was preparing for the college baseball season. I received great feedback from our readers and wanted to gain some more insight into his program and methodologies. To say the Horned Frogs had a great season in 2017 is an understatement. They were 50-18 in 2017, which included a trip to the College World Series (CWS).
Zach and I discuss if youth athletes should take a break from throwing, ways to spice up your workout, and leadership skills developed in the off-season.
Nick Cipkus: Youth and HS Players are now playing up to 100 games over the summer. How much time off throwing per year do you recommend for high school and youth athletes?
Zach Dechant: Generally, I would recommend a minimum of 2-3 months off from throwing. The younger the athlete, the more time I recommend. Playing other sports especially with younger athletes will help develop additional motor skills and get kids away from the one sided, overused aspect of baseball.
Nick Cipkus: What are your three favorite tools/methods to add variety to your workouts?
Zach Dechant: This is a tough question to answer. We don’t introduce a lot of variety or make large changes in our athlete’s training. We have a stable of main exercises we focus on year round, with variations such as tempos and rep schemes. Our tempos vary on a week to week basis. One week we may use a sub max 4 second eccentric, which is a 4 count to lower the weight. Another change is an iso-dynamic scheme. An iso-dynamic scheme includes pausing 1 sec less, each rep starting at 6. So the first rep is a 6 count hold, the second is 5, and so on down to 1.
Other tools we use include neutral grip football bars. These neutral grip bars help reduce stress on the shoulders. We use Fat Gripz to challenge the forearm and hands. Prowlers which are sleds, we use to push or pull.
Nick Cipkus: You guys had a very successful season. What attributes from your strength program did you see play out during the season?
Zach Dechant: The goals of our program is to make sure kids are healthy for the season and perform strong at the end of the year. We played our best baseball down the stretch again in 2017. I’d like to think one of the reasons we play so well later in the season, is how we handle the development of our kids through the spring. We are consistent with our training and try to load and progress our athletes wisely. We don’t necessarily believe in only maintaining during the season. There are many opportunities to further develop and increase strength/speed/power during the in-season period. Often times our athletes are the strongest they have been all year as we head into the postseason. We want continual development during their time here at TCU.
To gain access to Zach’s resources and training videos, visit the link below.