Blog

 Difficulty of Baseball
(6/30/2020)
 
 
   

Difficulty of Baseball


Cuddyer's Corner
By Michael Cuddyer


Former Major Leaguer Michael Cuddyer reminds us that baseball takes a lot of practice to develop the skills needed to play well. To have your questions answered by Michael Cuddyer, submit them using #USABMailbag on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.


Michael Cuddyer is a 15-year MLB veteran and two-time All-Star, spending his career playing for the Minnesota Twins, Colorado Rockies and the New York Mets. A member of the USA Baseball 18U National Team in 1996 and 1997, Cuddyer was then named the 1997 Virginia Player of the Year, Gatorade National Player of the Year, and was a member of USA Today’s All-Star team. He was selected ninth overall in the 1997 MLB Amateur Player Draft by the Minnesota Twins.


 How to Persevere as a Team
(6/24/2020)
 
 
   

How to Persevere as a Team


Coaching athletes to push through challenges


While individual athletes might understand how to persevere and show grit while pursuing their goals, it can be tough for a coach to bring those lessons to a whole team since each player might have different goals, respond to different motivators, and be interested in sport for different reasons. But sports are the perfect chance to teach team-based grit, which can help athletes in sport and in their future careers.

Grit – like perseverance – has been defined as the tendency to “sustain interest in and effort toward very long-term goals.”

Research has shown that the sense of belonging that comes from being on a sports team, along with a common goal, helps children understand the importance of ‘respecting the rules and honoring responsibilities.’ Angela Duckworth, the researcher who coined the term ‘grit’ in 2007, has found that focusing on a goal as a team can improve focus in all aspects of life.

But how does a coach bring grit to the entire team?

Develop a Team Mission Statement
At the beginning of the season, gather the team and create a mission statement for the season. What does grit mean for the team? What do the players want to work on from a skills acquisition standpoint? What will success look like? What does it mean to have perseverance during practice or competition? Remember, young athletes take their cues from you, so it’s your responsibility to help them understand that ‘grit’ doesn’t simply mean ‘winning’ or ‘never giving up.’

Help them define the team’s values around grit but let them do the actual phrasing and writing. Giving your athletes ownership of this statement will help unify the team around their common mission.

Make Sure It’s Not All About Game Day
If the only emphasis on your team is ‘winning the game’ or ‘game day strategy,' it can be hard to push through rough patches and seasons that don’t go according to plan. As you’re talking about perseverance and dedication, make sure that language is used during practice, as well as on game day.

Setting a specific goal for each athlete to achieve at practice (a certain number of repetitions of a drill, for instance) and having the athletes work together to ensure that everyone meets that goal can be one way to make sure the players are persevering together all the time, not just on game day.

Don’t Put Your Athletes Against Each Other
It’s hard to push through tough times as a team when each athlete is more focused on outshining his or her teammates than performing well as a unit. For young athletes, research has shown that comparison to others, rather than an emphasis on personal development, makes sports less enjoyable. Challenge the athletes in practice, but don’t make them feel as though they’re being ‘graded’ against each other.

But Let Them Be Competitive
Yes – even with each other at practice. While you don’t want to create a culture of comparison, you do want to allow teammates to feel competitive. Challenging each other to be better and persevering through the inevitable failure will help them at their next game…and for the rest of their lives.

Deborah Gilboa, a board-certified family physician and respected youth development and resilience expert, says, “Competition can be really great for kids. If you can teach them to treat each other respectfully, they can compete all they like.”:

“Competition teaches,” explains Gilboa. “The winner learns how to win without over-celebrating and the loser learns how to lose without too much fuss. Kids monitor each other really well. They give honest, if harsh, criticism of poor behavior. They do not hesitate to call each other on cheating, bragging, whining. You do not need to intervene as they teach other these lessons unless the punishment is genuinely too harsh.”

Change Your View Around Winning
A recent study showcased that both girls and boys want to ‘try their best’ and ‘work hard’ during practice and in competition – and that’s what makes sports fun for them. That’s right: Grit is actually fun! This research dispels the traditional myth that boys are focused on winning while girls are focused on friendship. Incidentally, winning only ranked 40th in importance in this new study.

Bearing that in mind, focus less on creating goals around winning and turn your focus to team-wide, process-oriented goals that the team can strive for together. Since process goals focus on personal development instead of the scoreboard, it’s easier to instill a sense of grit and perseverance in the players, regardless of how the team is comparatively doing, because players can still meet goals and see progress.



Keep in mind that introducing lessons of grit and perseverance during your team’s practice will help your athletes look at challenges and obstacles as opportunities rather than risks.


TrueSport®, a movement powered by the experience and values of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, champions the positive values and life lessons learned through youth sport. TrueSport® inspires athletes, coaches, parents, and administrators to change the culture of youth sport through active engagement and thoughtful curriculum based on cornerstone lessons of sportsmanship, character-building, and clean and healthy performance, by creating leaders across communities through sport.


 Soundtracks, Part II
(6/22/2020)
 
 
   

Soundtracks, Part II


Coaching Absolutes
By: Dave Turgeon


A couple of years back, I used to do a segment with staff called “Soundtracks.” Before diving into it I would always talk about what a soundtrack is. Most of us have heard of them and been impacted by them when watching a movie. Some of us (myself included) have been moved to purchase the soundtrack of a movie. Soundtracks, the music of a movie, evoke and stir emotions and amplify a scene in some way. For example, most of us remember the opening scene from “Jaws” where the young woman goes for a swim and some music begins to play that makes us all feel the impending doom to come. And it did. Another example of a soundtrack that brings about some emotions is from the classic movie called “Rocky.” The scene starts with Rocky doing his road work (running) and ends with him running up the stairs to a song called “Gonna Fly Now.” It absolutely is an inspiring scene that was brought to life from that iconic song.

Just as movies have soundtracks, we also have our own personal soundtrack. When someone walks in a room you can usually feel where they are at by their energy, body language and facial expression. Whether we realize this or not, our soundtrack is playing when we enter a room or walk down the street or engage with others. This is about self-awareness and the impact our soundtracks have on players and our personal lives.

Alex Mehrabian

Alex Mehrabian did an interesting study on communication and he broke it down into three areas: body language, tone of voice, and words. His findings were staggering to me. He found the breakdown of our communication as 55 percent body language, 38 percent tone of voice, and 7 percent spoken words. It shows that it is not enough just to have something to say if you do not have the ability to deliver the message in a way to be received. In other words, if we are a coach or teacher and do not have an effective delivery system then we do not have the ability to help our athletes or students. Your soundtrack is big! Mehrabian was keen on the soundtrack! There have been other studies on communication and while the numbers show some disparities, they were all heavy on the body language and tone and light on words.

The soundtrack package of communication of our words, body language and tone leave out one component that is not to be ignored: Timing. Timing is the ingredient that allows us to leverage our delivery system. Timing, some might argue, is everything.

Lummer

Mike Lum is a senior advisor with the Pirates and has been in professional baseball as a Major League Player or Coach for some 50 years. He played on the Big Red Machine of the 70’s and once pinch hit for Hank Aaron. He has been a mentor to me for the past 10 years. His specialty is the hitting area and he continues to evolve with the technology and the generation he teaches. His mastery of teaching hitting is two things: first, he has a deep knowledge of hitting and understanding how to teach each player as an individual. Second, he has the deepest soundtrack with the ability to command it of anyone I have observed in coaching. I have watched him teach every level of player, players from different cultures, players who did not speak English, and players of all ages. That is a lot of different soundtracks to master. He has the universal soundtrack. His songs are appealing, and they disarm the players he coaches. He uses very few words but when he does, they are timely and have affect. The business of coaching becomes more watch, more show, more do, and then great timing of words. It becomes more experience and feel when his players are learning. Master coaches have mastered their own soundtrack which allows them to master their craft. He has the most effective packaging system for a teacher I have witnessed in my career. The Master DJ is Mike Lum!

To be an effective coach, having command of our soundtrack is critical. Further, having command of many songs of your soundtrack will allow you to reach more players. When I say command, I am talking about having your self-awareness get to a point where you can adjust the song and volume of that song in order to connect and reach who is in front of you.

As a coach, there are two huge questions we must continually ask:
Which song does the individual need?
What song does the collective group need?

Transitioning from song to song and adjusting your volume along the way is what good coaching looks like. It is seamless and constant.


Turgeon is the Coordinator of Instruction for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Turgeon played in the New York Yankees farm system from 1987-1990 under Stump Merrill and Buck Showalter after being drafted out of Davidson College. Before playing for the Baltimore Orioles’ AAA affiliate in 1998 he spent eight years playing abroad. From 2000-2001 Turgeon began coaching in the Cleveland Indians organization before entering the college ranks where he coached with Boston College, the University of Connecticut, Duke University and Virginia Tech. Turgeon was also the Bench Coach for the 2019 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team. 


 Pitcher Fielding a Slow Roller out of the Shadows
(6/21/2020)
 
 
   

Pitcher Fielding a Slow Roller out of the Shadows


Monday Manager
By Tom Succow


In this edition of Monday Manager, four-time USA Baseball coaching alum Tom Succow discusses a pitcher fielding a slow roller out of the shadows.


Tom Succow is currently the assistant coach at Yavapai College in Prescott, Arizona. In 2017, Succow retired as the Head Baseball Coach at Brophy College Preparatory in Phoenix, Arizona, after 42 years at the helm. Succow accumulated over 700 wins during his tenure, as well as a state championship in 2006 and three state runner-up honors in 1982, 2007 and 2012. Succow is a four-time USA Baseball coaching alum, including an assistant coaching position with the 2003 16U National Team, which won the gold medal in the International Baseball Federation AA World Youth Championships in Taiwan. Succow was honored by the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) as National Coach of the Year in 2007 and is a member of four Halls of Fames, being inducted into the Arizona Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame in 2003, the Brophy Hall of Fame in 2007, the National High School Baseball Coaches Association (BCA) Hall of Fame in 2013, and the Arizona High School Athletic Coaches Hall of Fame in 2016.


 The Last Line of Defense
(6/18/2020)
 
   

The Last Line of Defense


FUNdamental Skills
By Darren Fenster


Over the last few years, no skill in our game has transformed more than hitting. With new ways to evaluate swings, combined with more aggressive approaches to hit the ball over the shift instead of around it, hitters are doing more damage than ever. For all that has changed in the batters’ box, there is a very important corresponding fact that we need to acknowledge: outfield play has never been more important than it is today.

Every year as a manager, usually on the day when we are teaching our players the pop-fly priority team fundamental, I would gather everyone together and explain to them that when the ball went in the air, they needed to become Dennis Rodman. A confused look usually overcame the entire group, not knowing for sure who exactly Rodman was.

Before he became “that guy with all the tattoos,” as our young players vaguely recognized him, Dennis Rodman was arguably the best rebounder in NBA history, carving out a Hall-of-Fame career by doing the dirty work on the court that few would ever embrace. When the basketball was shot in the air, Rodman expected to get the rebound. Every single time. And THAT’S the approach all great outfielders have; when the ball goes in the air, they expect to catch it.

There are three main priorities when it comes to outfield play, and the first is a simple one: EFFORT. Go. Get. The. Ball. Without effort, an outfielder can’t even be average. With effort, an outfielder will always give himself a chance to make a play. All of the extra bases are in the outfield, and nothing shuts down the extra base easier or better than simply effort to get on the baseball. The harder an outfielder goes after a ball, the sooner a baserunner or third-base coach has to make the decision on whether or not to stretch an extra 90’ or send the runner around.

The second priority of outfield play is a mental one: ENGAGEMENT. We want all of our players, no matter the position but especially our outfielders, to engage in the pitch, the play, and the game. In the Major Leagues, on average, roughly 300 pitches are thrown per game. That means for 150 of them, our players are out in the field playing defense and are expected to lock in mentally on every single one. That means they are timing out their pre-pitch to be ready to move to the best of their ability if the ball is hit their way.

We expect our outfielders to be engaged to the play. Whenever the ball is put in play, and many times when it’s not, there is always somewhere for everyone on the field to be. When players are focused on their specific job at hand, they are in the correct position, doing the right thing. The final piece of engagement is with the game. Depending on the score, the situation, or the inning, the variables of the game will dictate our players decisions offensively and, in this case, defensively. When our outfielders are engaged in the game, they know where to throw the ball, when to dive for a ball, or when to play it safe.

And lastly, the final priority of outfield play is OWNERSHIP, where we want our players to take pride in perfecting their craft in becoming the best defenders they can be. This is a two-pronged focal point, the first of which takes place during drill work. Our practices routines are designed in a way to only have one or two specific things to work on as we progress through our drill packages. When players truly take ownership, their drill work is laser-focused on the things they are working on and they can’t help but get better.

The second part of ownership is found during batting practice… on the outfield grass. Without question, the most important part of an outfielder’s day is when they work live during BP. There is no drill or fungo that offers a better rep than what an outfielder can get during batting practice. It’s as close to a game rep as there is, allowing for outfielders to get consistent with their pre-pitch timing, clean up their reads and breaks, and perfecting their routes to the ball. How an outfielder approaches batting practice will determine whatever they will become.

Many coaches have long tried to “hide” a productive bat in the outfield, thinking that they could sacrifice defense in favor of offense. Well, with the direction the game is going in, that strategy probably isn’t the smartest one in this day and age. For outfield is truly the last line of defense.


Darren Fenster is currently the Minor League Outfield and Baserunning Coordinator for the Boston Red Sox. Previously, Fenster was the Manager of the Portland Sea Dogs, the Double-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox. A former player in the Kansas City Royals minor league system, Fenster joined the Red Sox organization in 2012 after filling various roles on the Rutgers University Baseball staff, where he was a two-time All-American for the Scarlet Knights. Fenster is also Founder and CEO of Coaching Your Kids, LLC, and can be found on Twitter @CoachYourKids.


 Scaphoid Fractures
(6/15/2020)
 
   

Scaphoid Fractures


Diamond Doc
By Dr. Marc Richard


Dr. Marc Richard, Orthopedic Surgeon at Duke University, discusses why the scaphoid bone is more susceptible to injury and the lasting impacts it can have on a player. To have your questions answered by Dr. Richard, submit them using #USABMailbag on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.


Marc Richard, MD, is an Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at Duke University, specializing in elbow, wrist and hand injuries. Dr. Richard’s research evaluates the clinical outcomes of fractures of the upper extremity, with a particular interest in wrist and elbow fractures and improving ways to treat elbow arthritis in young patients. He also has a clinical and research interest in adolescent elbow throwing injuries.


 5 Things to Avoid When Cultivating Grit
(6/10/2020)
 
   

5 Things to Avoid When Cultivating Grit


Common mistakes when trying to instill grit in athletes


Raising athletes to be resilient and persistent in the face of struggles or challenges is an important role for every parent, but it can be hard to know where to draw the line when helping athletes develop ‘grit.’ An athlete with grit, as explained by Angela Duckworth, the scientist who coined the term, is able to “sustain interest in and effort toward very long-term goals.”

Here are five common mistakes that parents make when trying to instill that spirit in athletes.

Avoid Cultivating a Winner-Only Mindset

It’s easy to praise hard work and ‘grit’ when it’s leading to successful games or competitions. Unfortunately, this means that determination and grit often end up feeling synonymous with ‘winning’ and ‘being a winner’ for young athletes.

It’s your responsibility as a parent to help them understand that it’s possible – and perhaps more important – to have grit when things aren’t going their way.

A board-certified family physician and respected youth development and resilience expert, Deborah Gilboa, MD, explains on her website, “The most important lessons are learned in adversity, so we have to remind ourselves not to shield young people, but to enable and encourage their problem-solving and self-confidence.”

At the end of the day, emphasizing an athlete’s determination during hard times is more important to their long-term development than praising it when the athlete is finding success. .

Avoid Offering Extrinsic Motivation

Offering a reward like a pizza party for winning seems like an easy motivational tactic, but it can backfire. Even athletes who are initially intrinsically motivated can become focused on the material rewards rather than performance and grit for the sheer love of the sport.

Gilboa agrees and shares, “The social science research on behavior change shows that rewards systems (usually called Token Economies in the literature) are effective for only short periods. Over time, the motivation decreases even if the rewards don’t change.”

“The biggest problem is this is not great preparation for the world ahead of our children,” Gilboa states on her website. “When we want our kids to learn good habits, we need to expect it of them and link the mastery of a task to a new privilege. Kids are desperate to be acknowledged as older or more mature and this is a great motivator.”

Avoid Pushing Grit Through Injury and Illness

Dedication is a great quality, but a parent can accidentally pressure an athlete to push through illness or even injury in the name of ‘giving it your all.’ Pay close attention to athletes for signs of injuries or illness, especially in athletes you know already display a lot of persistence without prompting. There’s a line between persisting through a rough patch and pushing so hard that an athlete ends up injured and sitting out for the season…or even longer.

Gilboa reassures parents that even without risking further injury to play, the athlete “can learn resilience – by overcoming the adversity of injury. To do that, he needs you to see that he is facing something that is difficult for him. You don’t have to understand why it’s difficult or agree that it is. You do have to help him see the steps to recovery and praise him when he chooses to follow those steps.”

Avoid Promoting a Fixed Mindset

Telling your athlete that they are ‘naturally talented’ or ‘the team all-star without even practicing’ is merely enabling a fixed mindset.

“Children who wither when confronted with challenges view their abilities as fixed – once they fall short, it’s very hard for them to rebound. On the other hand, kids who develop a “growth” mindset believe they can improve (in ability and intelligence) over time and with practice. They view new challenges as fun and exciting,” explains Gilboa.

Avoid Using Nouns Instead of Verbs

A recent study showed that children persist better with difficult tasks when they don’t have to figure out what it means to ‘be’ something. More specifically, "using verbs to talk to children about behavior – such as 'you can help’ – can lead to more determination following setbacks than using nouns to talk about identities, for instance, 'you can be a helper,’” explains the study’s author.

For your athlete, that may mean asking them to “congratulate each teammate post-game," versus telling them to “be a good teammate.” This also relates to talking about how a game went: The players aren’t ‘losers,’ they ‘lost a game.’


Remember that helping your athlete see how hard work and determination payoff is critical to their current and future goals.


TrueSport®, a movement powered by the experience and values of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, champions the positive values and life lessons learned through youth sport. TrueSport® inspires athletes, coaches, parents, and administrators to change the culture of youth sport through active engagement and thoughtful curriculum based on cornerstone lessons of sportsmanship, character-building, and clean and healthy performance, by creating leaders across communities through sport.

 


 Opposite-Field Stand-Up Double
(6/7/2020)
 
   

Opposite-Field Stand-Up Double with Two Strikes


Monday Manager
By Tom Succow


In this edition of Monday Manager, four-time USA Baseball coaching alum Tom Succow discusses the hitting approach leading to an opposite-field stand-up double with two strikes.


Tom Succow is currently the assistant coach at Yavapai College in Prescott, Arizona. In 2017, Succow retired as the Head Baseball Coach at Brophy College Preparatory in Phoenix, Arizona, after 42 years at the helm. Succow accumulated over 700 wins during his tenure, as well as a state championship in 2006 and three state runner-up honors in 1982, 2007 and 2012. Succow is a four-time USA Baseball coaching alum, including an assistant coaching position with the 2003 16U National Team, which won the gold medal in the International Baseball Federation AA World Youth Championships in Taiwan. Succow was honored by the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) as National Coach of the Year in 2007 and is a member of four Halls of Fames, being inducted into the Arizona Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame in 2003, the Brophy Hall of Fame in 2007, the National High School Baseball Coaches Association (BCA) Hall of Fame in 2013, and the Arizona High School Athletic Coaches Hall of Fame in 2016.


 Preparing for Home and Away Games
(6/2/2020)
 
   

Preparing for Home and Away Games


Cuddyer's Corner
By Michael Cuddyer


Former Major Leaguer Michael Cuddyer discusses how to prepare for home and road games. To have your questions answered by Michael Cuddyer, submit them using #USABMailbag on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.


Michael Cuddyer is a 15-year MLB veteran and two-time All-Star, spending his career playing for the Minnesota Twins, Colorado Rockies and the New York Mets. A member of the USA Baseball 18U National Team in 1996 and 1997, Cuddyer was then named the 1997 Virginia Player of the Year, Gatorade National Player of the Year, and was a member of USA Today’s All-Star team. He was selected ninth overall in the 1997 MLB Amateur Player Draft by the Minnesota Twins.


 7 Easy Vegetarian Meals for Your Athlete
(5/27/2020)
 
   

7 Easy Vegetarian Meals for Your Athlete


Vegetarian options for your athlete


The vegetarian diet is growing in popularity in the youth sports community, inspired in part by the many elite and professional athletes making the leap to plant-based nutrition to maximize their athletic performance and recovery time.

Some vegetarians rely too heavily on processed foods, which can be high in calories, sugar, fat, and sodium. Moreover, they may not eat enough fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and calcium-rich foods, thus missing out on necessary nutrients. TrueSport expert Kristen Ziesmer, a registered dietitian and board-certified specialist in sports dietetics, adds that "vegetarians need to focus on getting common nutrients like iron, zinc, vitamin D, and B12 when it comes to meal planning, as it’s more of a challenge for young vegetarian athletes to reach their basic nutrient needs."

As a non-vegetarian parent, preparing vegetarian meals for your athlete may be challenging, but here are seven quick and easy meals that you can make for your athlete that are also packed with the nutrients they need to help them reach their sport performance goals.

Breakfast Options

Breakfast is extremely important because it jumpstarts your metabolism and provides energy for the day. Here are a few options to help your vegetarian athlete get their day started on the right note.

1. Breakfast Tacos (serving size 4 tacos)


In addition to the ease of preparation of this recipe, it’s also one that you can adapt to your athlete’s preferences, so don’t be afraid to add, remove, or alter the ingredients.

Ingredients
• 4 small flour or corn tortillas
• 4 large eggs
• 1 tablespoon sour cream (or milk), plus more for serving if desired
• Two dashes of hot sauce, such as Cholula, plus more for serving if desired
• ½ teaspoon fine sea salt, divided
• 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
• 2 cups thinly sliced vegetables
• ¼ teaspoon chili powder
• ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
• ¼ cup shredded or crumbled cheese, optional (cheddar, Cotija, feta, goat, even mozzarella)
• ¼ cup thinly sliced green onion
• Suggested garnishes (choose a few): chopped fresh cilantro, hot sauce, salsa, or Pico de Gallo, strips of avocado or guacamole, diced tomato or sliced cherry tomatoes, sour cream

Directions
1. Warm the tortillas in a large skillet over medium heat in batches, flipping to warm each side.
2. Whisk to combine eggs, until pure yellow, and add sour cream or milk, hot sauce, and ¼ teaspoon of the salt.
3. In a large skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium heat. Add the vegetables, the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, and the chili powder and cumin. Stir to combine, and cook, stirring occasionally. Once cooked, transfer the vegetables to a bowl and set aside.
4. Return the skillet to the stove over medium-low heat and melt the remaining ½ tablespoon butter. Pour in the egg mixture. Use a spatula to gently stir and push the eggs around the skillet until the eggs are clumpy but still slightly wet, about 3-5 minutes.
5. Remove the skillet from the heat. Add the cheese (if using) and green onion, and gently stir to combine.
6. Assemble your tacos by spooning scrambled eggs down the length of a tortilla, topping with some cooked veggies, and your garnishes of choice.


2. Power Porridge

If your athlete prefers sweet over savory breakfasts, make this power porridge their go-to meal.

Ingredients
• ½ cup oats (steel-cut for more fiber)
• 2 tablespoons peanut butter
• 1 tablespoon coconut flakes
• 10 ounces low-fat milk (if your athlete is vegan, use oat milk as an alternative)

Directions
1. Measure the oats in a glass and then pour them in a pot. Pour double that amount of water in the pot and then start heating it.
2. Stir frequently, until you reach the consistency of porridge you prefer.
3. Pour in the peanut butter and coconut flakes and then mix it all together.
4. Fill bowl with the oat milk.


3. Avocado Toast

Another breakfast favorite that your athlete can make their own by adding a variety of toppings. Be sure to serve this with a protein source to make it a complete, balanced meal. Examples include: milk, yogurt, egg, cottage cheese.

Ingredients
• 1 slice of bread
• ½ ripe avocado
• Pinch of salt
• Optional: any of the extra toppings (garlic, radish, green onion, arugula, spinach, tomato, egg)

Directions
1. Toast your slice of bread until golden and firm.
2. Remove the pit from your avocado. Use a big spoon to scoop out the flesh. Put it in a bowl and mash it up with a fork until it’s as smooth as you like it. Mix in a pinch of salt (about ⅛ teaspoon) and add more to taste, if desired.
3. Spread avocado on top of your toast. Enjoy as-is or top with any extras.


Lunch/Dinner

4. Ultimate Vegan Protein Burrito (serving size 4)

With 22 grams of protein, this is a protein-packed meal that will help your athlete recover from a big day of training or competition.

Ingredients
• Pico de Gallo salsa
• Guacamole
• 4 large corn or flour tortillas

For Quinoa:
• ¾ cup white quinoa, thoroughly rinsed
• 1 ½ cups water
• ¼ teaspoon sea salt
• 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
• ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
• 3 tablespoons lime juice
• 3 tablespoons hemp seeds
• ¼ - ½ teaspoon sea salt, to taste
• Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For Kale:
• 3 cups destemmed and chopped kale
• 1 tablespoon lime juice
• ½ tablespoon olive oil
• Sea salt, to taste
• Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions For Quinoa:
1. Add the quinoa and water to a small pot with ¼ teaspoon sea salt. Heat over medium-high heat until boiling. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 10-14 minutes or until quinoa is tender and translucent. Fluff with a fork and transfer to a large bowl.
2. Add the black beans, chopped cilantro, lime juice, hemp seeds, sea salt, and black pepper to the quinoa and stir. Set aside.

For Kale:
1. Add the chopped kale, lime juice, olive oil, and sea salt to a bowl and massage the kale for 2-3 minutes or until tender. Set aside.

Burrito Assembly: Lay one tortilla flat on a clean work surface. Fill the tortilla with the quinoa mixture, Pico de Gallo, guacamole, and kale. Begin rolling the burrito away from you, being sure to tuck the sides in as you go. Slice in half and serve immediately. Repeat.


5.Black Bean Sweet Potato Chili

Ingredients
• 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 medium-large sweet potato peeled and diced
• 1 large red onion diced
• 4 cloves garlic minced
• 2 tablespoons chili powder
• ½ teaspoon ground chipotle pepper
• ½ teaspoon ground cumin
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• 3 ½ cups vegetable stock
• 1 15-ounce cans black beans rinsed
• 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
• ½ cup dried quinoa
• 4 teaspoons lime juice
• If desired: avocado cilantro, crema, cheese

Directions
1. Heat a large heavy bottom pot with the oil over medium high heat.
2. Add the sweet potato and onion and cook for about 5 minutes, until the onion is soft.
3. Add the garlic, chili powder, chipotle, cumin and salt and stir to combine.
4. Add the stock, tomatoes, black beans and quinoa and bring the mixture to a boil. Stir everything to combine.
5. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer.
6. Cook for 30-40 minutes until the quinoa is fully cooked and the sweet potatoes are soft, and the entire mixture is slightly thick like a chili.
7. Add the lime juice and remove the pot from the heat. Season with salt as needed.
8. Garnish with avocado, cilantro, crema or cheese before serving.


6. Loaded Sweet Potato

Ingredients
• 4 medium sweet potatoes
• 2 cups cooked black beans, or 1 (15-ounce) can black beans
• 1 cup salsa
• ½ chopped fresh cilantro
• Optional: ¼ cup mashed avocado or dry-roasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

Directions
1. Wash the sweet potatoes. Pierce each potato 4 to 5 times with a fork and bake in the oven or microwave.
2. Oven: Preheat the oven to 400 ˚F. Place the potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper. Bake 45-75 minutes, or until tender.
3. Microwave: Place the potatoes in a microwave-safe dish with ½ cup water. Cover loosely with a lid or plastic wrap. Microwave for 10 minutes. Carefully turn the potatoes over. Microwave another 10-12 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.
4. Once cooked, split the potatoes and top each potato with black beans, salsa, cilantro, and mashed avocado or pepitas, if using.
5. Note: Other tasting toppings include corn (fresh or thawed from frozen), chopped tomatoes, and sliced green onions.


7. Mexican Quinoa Stuffed Peppers (serving size 4)

Ingredients
• 1 cup quinoa or rice (thoroughly rinsed and drained)
• 2 scant cups vegetable stock (sub water, but it will be less flavorful)
• 4 large red, yellow, or orange bell peppers (halved, seeds removed)
• ½ cup salsa (plus more for serving)
• 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (optional)
• 2 teaspoons cumin powder
• 1 ½ teaspoons chili powder
• 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
• 1 15-ounce can black beans (drained / if unsalted, add ¼ teaspoon sea salt per can)
• 1 cup whole kernel corn (drained)

Directions
1. Add quinoa and vegetable stock to a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat, cover, and simmer until all liquid is absorbed and quinoa is fluffy – about 20 minutes.
2. Preheat oven to 375˚F and lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish or rimmed baking sheet.
3. Brush halved peppers with a neutral, high heat oil, such as avocado oil or refined coconut oil.
4. Add cooked quinoa to a large mixing bowl and add remaining ingredients – salsa through corn. Mix to thoroughly combine then taste and adjust seasonings accordingly, adding salt, pepper, or more spices as desired.
5. Generously stuff halved peppers with quinoa mixture until all peppers are full, then cover the dish with foil.
6. Bake for 30 minutes covered. Then remove foil, increase heat to 400˚F, and bake for another 15-20 minutes, or until peppers are soft and slightly golden brown. For softer peppers, bake 5-10 minutes more.


Preparing a filling vegetarian meal for your athlete doesn’t have to be daunting. Try these recipes to prioritize your athlete’s overall health, growth, and development while supporting their choice to be vegetarian.



TrueSport®, a movement powered by the experience and values of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, champions the positive values and life lessons learned through youth sport. TrueSport® inspires athletes, coaches, parents, and administrators to change the culture of youth sport through active engagement and thoughtful curriculum based on cornerstone lessons of sportsmanship, character-building, and clean and healthy performance, by creating leaders across communities through sport.


 Shoulder Tightness
(5/18/2020)
 
   

Shoulder Tightness


Diamond Doc
By Dr. Marc Richard


Dr. Marc Richard, Orthopedic Surgeon at Duke University, discusses pain and tightness in the shoulder caused by the unnatural motion of throwing a baseball. To have your questions answered by Dr. Richard, submit them using #USABMailbag on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.


Marc Richard, MD, is an Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at Duke University, specializing in elbow, wrist and hand injuries. Dr. Richard’s research evaluates the clinical outcomes of fractures of the upper extremity, with a particular interest in wrist and elbow fractures and improving ways to treat elbow arthritis in young patients. He also has a clinical and research interest in adolescent elbow throwing injuries.


 Opposite Field Homerun on a Breaking Ball
(5/17/2020)
 
   

Opposite Field Homerun on a Breaking Ball


Monday Manager
By Tom Succow


In this edition of Monday Manager, four-time USA Baseball coaching alum Tom Succow discusses the adjustment a hitter makes to hit an opposite field homerun on a breaking ball.


Tom Succow is currently the assistant coach at Yavapai College in Prescott, Arizona. In 2017, Succow retired as the Head Baseball Coach at Brophy College Preparatory in Phoenix, Arizona, after 42 years at the helm. Succow accumulated over 700 wins during his tenure, as well as a state championship in 2006 and three state runner-up honors in 1982, 2007 and 2012. Succow is a four-time USA Baseball coaching alum, including an assistant coaching position with the 2003 16U National Team, which won the gold medal in the International Baseball Federation AA World Youth Championships in Taiwan. Succow was honored by the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) as National Coach of the Year in 2007 and is a member of four Halls of Fames, being inducted into the Arizona Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame in 2003, the Brophy Hall of Fame in 2007, the National High School Baseball Coaches Association (BCA) Hall of Fame in 2013, and the Arizona High School Athletic Coaches Hall of Fame in 2016.


 While Few Will Be Basestealers, All Will Be Baserunners
(5/14/2020)
 
   

While Few Will Be Basestealers, All Will Be Baserunners


FUNdamental Skills
By Darren Fenster


In February of 2019, I reported to Fort Myers for my first Spring Training in a new role as our Minor League Outfield and Baserunning Coordinator. In that role, I am essentially the lead voice- with a lot of input from a lot of people- for our organization with regard to how we will approach developing outfielders and baserunners. As players began trickling into JetBlue Park, many came up to me, excited about getting better on the bases… just not in the sense they truly needed to improve.

“Fens, I really want to get more bags this year,” a number of them proclaimed.

What I quickly realized was that most players associate baserunning only as basestealing, which is just one of the many elements of the overall skill. Furthermore, the stolen base is a dying play at the Major League level, with only six players in the entire game finishing 2019 with more that 30 bags for the year, which works out to a little more than one per week. Gone are the days of guys like Rickey Henderson and Vince Coleman stealing over 100 bases in a single season.

So, with our focus on developing the skills needed to help our club win in Boston, it doesn’t make sense to spend a ton of our time working on something in the Minor Leagues when it will only be a tiny part of our success in the Big Leagues. That goes for any part of the game, and in this case, basestealing. But for as few who will become true basestealers in the Major Leagues, every single position player we have WILL be a baserunner, and if they take the same pride in the developing the skill required to running the bases as they do their skills of hitting or fielding, they will have a chance to impact games with their legs, and they don’t even have to be fast in order to do so.

Our development on the bases is geared towards players understanding the importance of 90’. Every 90’ is that much closer to scoring a run; a run that may be the difference in a win or a loss; a win or loss that may have us celebrating a championship or languishing in bitter defeat. Baserunning is far more about details and decisions than it is about being fast or slow or even being out or safe.

Above all, baserunning begins with effort, and effort is a decision that is completely independent of talent. It takes no athletic ability whatsoever to give effort. The fastest guy in the world and the fattest guy in the world can both run equally as HARD. “Running for the possible” is the mindset and approach that all baserunners should have. Sure single? Round first base for a possible double. Sure double? Give yourself a chance for the possible triple. Ground into a sure out? There’s no such thing; run for the possible infield hit. Effort forces errors and changes the entire complexion of playing defense.

Baserunning is a skill, in the same exact respect that hitting, fielding, and pitching are all skills. And there is a very specific, detailed technique that comes with running the bases well. Those details include the route from home to first, the correct part of the base to touch, taking a primary lead, timing out the secondary lead, and what to look for while running. When thinking in such a focused manner on those little things, big things on the bases are sure to follow.

Baserunning is a separator skill that is a true indicator of players who are able to successfully separate the game. The second the ball is put in play, the mind has to transform from hitter to baserunner immediately with a 100% commitment and focus on running the bases. That commitment starts with effort, especially in those instances when we didn’t have a good at bat but still found a way on base. Mentally engaged baserunners are dangerous baserunners who know the situation of the game and anticipate all that may happen that will impact their decisions on the bases.

Impact baserunners are both smart and aggressive. Great baserunning teams make intelligent decisions, taking chances based on the game’s variables combined with their reads off the bat and of the defense to challenge the other team to make a play to prevent the extra base. They are aggressive, with effort as their foundation, to work to get to 2nd where they can score on a single or to reach third where they are in position to score on an out, error, wild pitch, or infield hit among others. With that aggressiveness, players must understand that it’s OK to make outs on the bases. There is a risk versus reward aspect to running the bases. Safe teams who don’t make outs on the bases aren’t giving themselves to get extra bases and, in turn, prevent themselves a chance to score more runs. With risks come outs, but with risks also come runs.

There are free bases all over the field, and it’s just a matter of players being made aware of where exactly to look for them. Whether it be anticipating a dirt ball, advancing as a backside runner on a high throw from an outfielder, or reading an outfielder who isn’t in a great position to make a play, there is a competitive edge on the bases that comes from simply watching the game with the eyes. When players realize that being a great baserunner goes beyond their speed and their coaches consciously spend time practicing all of the skill’s minute details, combined they will create a weapon in their club’s arsenal that other teams will soon fear.


Darren Fenster is currently the Minor League Outfield and Baserunning Coordinator for the Boston Red Sox. Previously, Fenster was the Manager of the Portland Sea Dogs, the Double-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox. A former player in the Kansas City Royals minor league system, Fenster joined the Red Sox organization in 2012 after filling various roles on the Rutgers University Baseball staff, where he was a two-time All-American for the Scarlet Knights. Fenster is also Founder and CEO of Coaching Your Kids, LLC, and can be found on Twitter @CoachYourKids.


 Should I Be Worried About My Kid Doping?
(5/13/2020)
 
   

Should I Be Worried About My Kid Doping?


Performance Enhancing-Drugs and Red Flags for Parents


There’s no question that the pressure in youth sports has become increasingly high over the years. The money and time dedicated to exclusive camps, extended travel, and elite club teams have reached epic proportions in the quest for stardom, scholarships, and status. Even in youth sports, there are also many examples of success or self-worth being sought through darker means, including the use of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) like human growth hormone (hGH) and testosterone.

When it comes to how success is achieved, there’s also no question that young athletes are very much influenced by those around them. In addition to parents, athletes are often influenced by coaches, trainers, medical support personnel, professional sports idols, and their peers.

Young athletes exposed to the win-at-all-costs attitudes of others are susceptible to adopting the behaviors that go along with that climate, and in some cases, may even be directed to abuse substances. These substances can enhance performance and violate the rules of sport, but more importantly, they can lead to devastating physical and mental effects.

As parents, it’s important to evaluate the influencers in your athlete’s life and be aware of substance abuse warning signs. Here are three red flag phrases that might indicate your athlete is in a risky situation or facing pressure to dope.

1. "Everyone does it."

The phrase “everyone does it” has been used to justify doping for decades at all levels of sport, from high schools to the Tour de France. This reasoning can result from exposure to PED abuse by peers, as well as the many examples of professional athletes who’ve found success through shortcuts.

Unfortunately, the life-threatening impact of this mentality is evidenced by the story of Taylor Hooten, one of the most well-known examples of a student athlete whose quest for success through steroid use led to the worst possible outcomes, including physical effects like back acne and rapid muscle growth, as well as mental effects like depression and aggression, and finally, suicide.

Taylor sourced the steroids from a local gym, and even in 2003, before widespread internet use made substances even more accessible, Taylor’s close friend Billy Ajello told the New York Times that steroid use was “extremely widespread” at the boys’ high school before Taylor’s death.

In addition to the “everyone does it” mentality among peers, Ajello believed that students construed mixed messages from coaches. ''Coaches don't come out and say, 'Take steroids,' '' Ajello told the New York Times. ''Freshman, sophomore, junior year, they tell you you're too small. A kid thinks high school sports are everything: 'I have to take it to the next level to get bigger and stronger to play.'"

He also noted, “I think the coaches know and almost kind of turn their heads. I think if they knew for sure, certain coaches would pull a kid aside and say, 'What are you doing?' I think other coaches would turn their heads, and even if they knew wouldn't say anything to a kid.''

As the TrueSport Report further confirms through national research and data, “High school and college coaches who turn the other way on bad or delinquent behavior (e.g., drinking, violence off and on the field) are sending a strong signal that such behavior is acceptable.”

2. “It’s for their health or benefit.”

In some cases, the pressure to dope may be more forceful and come directly from a person of influence in an athlete’s life. If an authority figure - whether it be a coach, medical professional, or parent – encourages an athlete to dope, it’s extremely unlikely that the athlete will be able to resist or even realize that they are doing anything wrong because their sense of security and understanding of right and wrong is frequently dependent upon the adults around them.

These trusted authority figures may also attempt to justify the behavior by insisting that a pill or treatment is necessary to protect the athlete’s health, is required for inclusion in a training group, or is the only way to achieve success. An authority figure may also insist that an athlete hide their use from friends, family, and other adults because they wouldn’t understand, which can alienate the athlete from positive influencers while further uniting the athlete with a negative influencer.

There are many examples of authority figures directly facilitating doping behaviors by young athletes, but one of the most egregious may be the case of Corey Gahan, whose own father, a trainer, and an alleged medical provider arranged for him to receive increasingly risky injections to improve his in-line skating performance. It started with b-12 vitamin injections when he was 12 and quickly escalated to testosterone and hGH injections.

“Both his father and his trainer, Corey says, assured him that the shots were for the best,” according to a Sports Illustrated article. “The prick of the needle was accompanied by a pinch of guilt; it felt, as Corey puts it, ‘like I was doing something wrong.’ But he believed in his dad, a charismatic and fiercely ambitious former high school wrestler. He also trusted his trainer, a bodybuilder who acted like a big brother. Besides, what did Corey know about the substances being injected into his body? ‘Testosterone cypionate, it's just a word,’ he says. ‘It doesn't have a meaning. At least not when you're 13.’”

By 16, Corey was breaking records at top competitions and testing positive for testosterone and another steroid. While his reinstatement from a two-year ban hinged on acceptance of counseling and a medical evaluation, Corey’s father, trainer, and the false doctor were under investigation and went on to receive jail time for their crimes.

"This case shows the extent to which drugs have infiltrated youth sports," said U.S. Anti-Doping Agency CEO Travis T. Tygart to Sports Illustrated at the time. "It was hard to punish this kid. Yes, he cheated and unfairly beat other competitors, but he was under his father's influence. The kid was a victim."

3. “Don’t worry, it’s safe.”

Sometimes, there is also risk from trusting an influential person even when that person respects the athlete’s health and wellbeing, as well as the rules of sport. This is especially true in today’s climate of rampant supplement use and radical health trends to support and enhance performance. But with supplements regulated pre-market and wellness clinics offering treatments banned in sport, there are many opportunities for exposure to prohibited and potentially dangerous substances, even when assurances are provided that a product or treatment is safe.

Unfortunately, a recent case involving a young and up-and-coming weightlifter illustrates this risk. Abby Raymond was just 14 years old when a family friend and fitness influencer offered her a protein powder and a pre-workout supplement from his newly formed company. The family friend assured Abby that his company’s products were plant-based, vegan, and made from all-natural ingredients. Excited about the sponsorship opportunity but recognizing the risk that supplements pose, Abby’s father pointed out that she was subject to anti-doping rules, so the products would have to be completely free of prohibited substances. This concern was met with further assurances by the family friend and company owner that the supplements were safe. After just weeks of using the supplements, Abby had an anti-doping test and soon learned that she had tested positive for ostarine, a prohibited anabolic agent that’s not approved for human use or consumption anywhere in the world. Later testing confirmed that the supplements were contaminated, to the family friend’s surprise, but Abby still received a period of ineligibility from sport and devastating damage to her reputation.


Remember, young athletes are vulnerable to the influence of trusted authority figures and their peers, so it’s important to stay alert for signs of a win-at-all-costs environment, including the red flag phrases and situations above. To learn how to support clean and healthy decisions, visit our Clean Sport Lesson.


TrueSport®, a movement powered by the experience and values of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, champions the positive values and life lessons learned through youth sport. TrueSport® inspires athletes, coaches, parents, and administrators to change the culture of youth sport through active engagement and thoughtful curriculum based on cornerstone lessons of sportsmanship, character-building, and clean and healthy performance, by creating leaders across communities through sport.


 Routines
(5/6/2020)
 
   

Routines


Cuddyer's Corner
By Michael Cuddyer


Former Major Leaguer Michael Cuddyer discusses the importance of routines. To have your questions answered by Michael Cuddyer, submit them using #USABMailbag on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.


Michael Cuddyer is a 15-year MLB veteran and two-time All-Star, spending his career playing for the Minnesota Twins, Colorado Rockies and the New York Mets. A member of the USA Baseball 18U National Team in 1996 and 1997, Cuddyer was then named the 1997 Virginia Player of the Year, Gatorade National Player of the Year, and was a member of USA Today’s All-Star team. He was selected ninth overall in the 1997 MLB Amateur Player Draft by the Minnesota Twins.


 Judging the Hop at Shortstop
(5/3/2020)
 
   

Judging the Hop at Shortstop


Monday Manager
By Tom Succow


In this edition of Monday Manager, four-time USA Baseball coaching alum Tom Succow discusses the proper footwork to judge a hop at shortstop.


Tom Succow is currently the assistant coach at Yavapai College in Prescott, Arizona. In 2017, Succow retired as the Head Baseball Coach at Brophy College Preparatory in Phoenix, Arizona, after 42 years at the helm. Succow accumulated over 700 wins during his tenure, as well as a state championship in 2006 and three state runner-up honors in 1982, 2007 and 2012. Succow is a four-time USA Baseball coaching alum, including an assistant coaching position with the 2003 16U National Team, which won the gold medal in the International Baseball Federation AA World Youth Championships in Taiwan. Succow was honored by the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) as National Coach of the Year in 2007 and is a member of four Halls of Fames, being inducted into the Arizona Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame in 2003, the Brophy Hall of Fame in 2007, the National High School Baseball Coaches Association (BCA) Hall of Fame in 2013, and the Arizona High School Athletic Coaches Hall of Fame in 2016.


 Corticosteroids v. Anabolic Steroids
(4/23/2020)
 
   

5 Facts You Need to Know About Corticosteroids v. Anabolic Steroids


Educating athletes on the effects and warning signs of steroids


When athletes or their parents hear the word ‘steroid,’ they may envision a muscle-building, performance-enhancing drug that not only destroys the integrity of sport, but also comes with extreme health risks – especially for young athletes.

When it comes to steroids, however, that description is only one piece of the equation. There are actually multiple classes of steroids, including anabolic steroids and corticosteroids, which have different uses, side effects, and performance-enhancing qualities.

Amy Eichner, PhD, U.S. Anti-Doping Agency’s Special Advisor on Drug Reference and Supplements, explains five things you need to know about steroids, including the difference between corticosteroids and anabolic steroids.

What are steroids?

Steroids are a class of compounds that all have a similar structure and bind to hormone receptors in the body. Anabolic steroids bind to the androgen receptors, whereas corticosteroids bind to the glucocorticoid receptors – leading to different effects on the body.

The body naturally produces testosterone, an anabolic steroid, that regulates bone and muscle mass and fat distribution, as well as sex-drive (libido) and red blood cell production. The body also naturally produces cortisol, a corticosteroid. When cortisol binds to the glucocorticosteroid receptor, it activates a metabolic pathway that suppresses inflammation and immune responses.

There are also many synthetically produced anabolic and corticosteroid compounds, some of which are legitimate medicines and some of which are not.

What are they used for?

Prescription use of testosterone can be used to treat hypogonadism in men, or to prevent the loss of muscle associated with HIV infection. In some teenage boys that have been diagnosed with delayed onset of puberty or a genetic abnormality, testosterone injections are sometimes prescribed to kick-start growth and development.

Corticoids are often prescribed to reduce inflammation and allergic reactions. Corticosteroid creams can be applied to the skin to treat poison ivy rashes, or contact dermatitis, whereas corticosteroids in pill form can be taken to treat allergies, as well as autoimmune disorders like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis. Inhaled corticosteroids are effective in treating asthma, and corticosteroid injections into joints can treat inflammation related to sport injuries or arthritis.

Are there side effects with steroid use?

Corticoids and anabolic steroids not only differ in the primary medical uses, but also in their potential health risks and side effects.

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency lists some physiological effects of both, as well as psychological effects from anabolic steroids:

CORTICOIDS

PHYSIOLOGICAL:
- Short-term side effects include an increase in appetite, weight gain, insomnia, fluid retention and bloating, and mood changes like irritability and anxiety
- Long-term use of corticosteroids can result in loss of muscle and/or bone mass, thinning of the skin (with topical use of corticosteroid creams), high blood pressure, diabetes, weakening of injured areas in muscle, bone, tendon, or ligament, decrease in or cessation of growth in young people
- Withdrawal from long-term use of corticosteroids can cause fatigue, weight loss, and nausea

ANABOLIC STEROIDS

PHYSIOLOGICAL:
- Acne
- Male pattern baldness
- Liver damage*
- Premature closure of the growth centers of long bones (in adolescents) which may result in stunted growth*
- Stunted growth and disruption of puberty in children

PSYCHOLOGICAL:
- Increased aggressiveness and sexual appetite, sometimes resulting in abnormal sexual and criminal behavior, often referred to as “Roid Rage”
- Withdrawal from anabolic steroid use can be associated with depression, and in some cases, suicide.

NOTE: * Effects may be permanent and can vary by individual.

Why are steroids considered performance-enhancing drugs in sport?

Anabolic steroids are performance enhancing because they have such profound, long-term (several months) effects on muscle mass and strength. Athletes that use anabolic steroids still benefit from their effects long after they stop using them. For this reason, anabolic steroids are prohibited at all times, during competition and in the off-season, by athletes subject to anti-doping rules.

Corticosteroids offer more immediate performance-enhancing benefits. Injections into muscle or oral corticosteroids reduce the pain and inflammation that often occurs with extreme exertion. Athletes have reported that corticosteroids help them push through the pain of extreme exertion and allow them to recover faster for the next event. The benefits of corticosteroids wear off pretty fast, which is why they are prohibited in-competition only.

What are the warning signs of anabolic steroid abuse?

Some teenagers abuse anabolic steroids in order to build muscle and get the body they want. Parents are often very surprised to learn how easy it is for their kids to access illegal steroids. The FDA has issued warnings about such abuse.

If an athlete is abusing anabolic steroids to enhance their performance, there are a few patterns of use they may employ:

• Cycling: The person ingests anabolic steroids in cycles of 6-12 weeks (known as the "on" period), followed by four weeks to several months off.
• Stacking: Users combine several different types of steroids or incorporate other supplements in an attempt to maximize the effectiveness of the steroids. This is called "stacking."
• Pyramiding: Some users gradually increase the dose to a peak, then reduce the amount.

According to a report, 3.3 percent of high school students admit to anabolic steroid use and another study found that 8 percent of girls and 12 percent of boys report using products to improve appearance, muscle mass, or strength.

If you suspect your athlete is abusing steroids, here are gender-specific physical changes to look for:

MALES:
- Breast tissue development*
- Shrinking of the testicles*
- Impotence
- Reduction in sperm production

FEMALES:
- Deepening of the voice*
- Cessation of breast development
- Growth of hair on the face, stomach and upper back*
- Enlarged clitoris*
- Abnormal menstrual cycles

NOTE: * Effects may be permanent and can vary by individual.

If your athlete has been misusing anabolic steroids and they suddenly stop taking them, they can also exhibit symptoms of withdrawal, which include:

- Fatigue
- Restlessness
- Mood swings
- Depression
- Insomnia
- Cravings

Help your athlete understand that there are serious health consequences associated with the use of steroids, especially anabolic steroids. These substances can end up illegally in supplements and are fairly accessible on store shelves and online, so your awareness and diligence is critical.


TrueSport®, a movement powered by the experience and values of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, champions the positive values and life lessons learned through youth sport. TrueSport® inspires athletes, coaches, parents, and administrators to change the culture of youth sport through active engagement and thoughtful curriculum based on cornerstone lessons of sportsmanship, character-building, and clean and healthy performance, by creating leaders across communities through sport.

 


 Hitter Produces 2 RBI with a Two Strike Count
(4/20/2020)
 
   

Hitter Produces 2 RBI with a Two Strike Count


Monday Manager
By Tom Succow


In this edition of Monday Manager, four-time USA Baseball coaching alum Tom Succow discusses a hitter producing 2 RBI with a two strike count.


Tom Succow is currently the assistant coach at Yavapai College in Prescott, Arizona. In 2017, Succow retired as the Head Baseball Coach at Brophy College Preparatory in Phoenix, Arizona, after 42 years at the helm. Succow accumulated over 700 wins during his tenure, as well as a state championship in 2006 and three state runner-up honors in 1982, 2007 and 2012. Succow is a four-time USA Baseball coaching alum, including an assistant coaching position with the 2003 16U National Team, which won the gold medal in the International Baseball Federation AA World Youth Championships in Taiwan. Succow was honored by the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) as National Coach of the Year in 2007 and is a member of four Halls of Fames, being inducted into the Arizona Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame in 2003, the Brophy Hall of Fame in 2007, the National High School Baseball Coaches Association (BCA) Hall of Fame in 2013, and the Arizona High School Athletic Coaches Hall of Fame in 2016.


 Hamate Fractures
(4/21/2020)
 
   

Hamate Fractures


Diamond Doc
By Dr. Marc Richard


Dr. Marc Richard, Orthopaedic Surgeon at Duke University, discusses hamate fracture diagnoses, treatments, and the recovery process. To have your questions answered by Dr. Richard, submit them using #USABMailbag on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.


Marc Richard, MD, is an Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at Duke University, specializing in elbow, wrist and hand injuries. Dr. Richard’s research evaluates the clinical outcomes of fractures of the upper extremity, with a particular interest in wrist and elbow fractures and improving ways to treat elbow arthritis in young patients. He also has a clinical and research interest in adolescent elbow throwing injuries.


 Getting Up After Getting Sent Down
(4/17/2020)
 
   

Getting Up After Getting Sent Down


FUNdamental Skills
By Darren Fenster


Every year at the very end of Spring Training is what is arguably the worst day of the baseball calendar: cut day. A Major League roster carries 26 players. This year, we brought in 66 guys to camp. You don’t have to be a math major to realize that there are far more players than there are spots. The same rule holds true on the Minor League side.

As camp begins to wind down and the Major League roster is set, there is a trickle down all the way through our Minor League system that often causes players to put on their imaginary GM hats. They, too, know that there are more players than spots and try to figure out for themselves where they will fit come April 1st when we leave Fort Myers and head to our affiliates up and down the east coast.

Players spend their entire off-season working towards the next year. They report to camp in better shape, with better swings, better pitches, looking to become better players. Whether they are coming off of a great season or one that didn’t necessarily go as planned, most players come to Spring Training with high aspirations to make the club at a higher level from the prior year. While sometimes that works out, often times, it doesn’t. That reality tends to set in on cut day.

On cut day, there are a lot of sad faces with bad body language across minor league fields all over baseball. But most aren’t upset because their buddies just got sent home. Rather their hurt stems from a demotion that they hoped wouldn’t happen. Whether it’s from the Major Leagues down to AAA, or back to the rookie leagues from A-ball, getting sent down sucks, and is an added challenge to overcome in a game full of incredibly hard challenges.

But getting sent down is better than the alternative of getting sent home. And that is the message we seemingly always relay to our players still in the organization on cut day every year.

The players that had to walk out of the complex with bags in hand may have played their last game. In that moment, they would kill to have been sent down to a lower level, because that means they would still have a job. As long as a player has a uniform, they have an opportunity to become a Major Leaguer. Throwing a pity-party for will only take them away from that goal.

Our game is filled with adversity on so many levels. Whether it be a professional getting demoted to a lower level, a college guy being benched, or a high schooler getting cut, they all have the same exact choice, which should be a simple one. They can wallow in self-pity, or they can use their hardship as motivation to overcome and grow from it. Hopefully the send down has left the player better prepared to get back up.


Darren Fenster is currently the Minor League Outfield and Baserunning Coordinator for the Boston Red Sox. Previously, Fenster was the Manager of the Portland Sea Dogs, the Double-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox. A former player in the Kansas City Royals minor league system, Fenster joined the Red Sox organization in 2012 after filling various roles on the Rutgers University Baseball staff, where he was a two-time All-American for the Scarlet Knights. Fenster is also Founder and CEO of Coaching Your Kids, LLC, and can be found on Twitter @CoachYourKids.