In December 2020, with the help of world-class experts, Baseball Quebec undertook a long reflection on the efficiency and modernity of its development system. The conclusions of this revolutionary approach have also been chronicled on our site.
In addition to having specialized baseball coaches, the federation’s leaders made it their goal to surround their best athletes with an integrated support team, similar to that enjoyed by Olympians.
In recent weeks, players at the Canadian Baseball Academy (ABC) have been given a fascinating insight into the machine that works around them to help them become better athletes and better people.
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of accompanying pitchers Charles-Olivier Cyr, Elliot Cadieux-Lanoue and Jérémy Pilon as well as catcher Deiten Lachance at the Institut national du sport (INS). They had an appointment with sports biomechanist Mathieu Charbonneau.
The purpose of the meeting was to measure the force on the ground that these 17-18 year old athletes display when throwing.
Mathieu Charbonneau explained that he works with Olympians in various sports such as short track speed skating, diving, boxing and swimming. Two plates had been installed on the floor to measure acceleration force (rear foot) and braking force (front foot). Various cameras also captured the baseball players’ swings from different angles.
All four Canadian national team hopefuls took their shots and got the results of their performances. But above all, they were treated to a theoretical lesson on the importance of generating speed and managing to stop this momentum sharply when putting the front foot on the ground.
It is this sudden braking, combined with the speed of the boost, that creates a catapult effect. And this catapult effect ends up transmitting more speed to the rotation of the trunk, to the action of the arm and then, finally, to the ball. To illustrate this principle, the biomechanist, in particular, has dissected the braking phase of javelin throwers on screen. He also discussed the forces that propel the body forward when braking very suddenly in a car or during an accident.
I consider my knowledge of baseball to be above average. I was a pitcher at the junior elite and then at the senior level. I trained in the Federation’s AAA Midget Development Network. And, not long ago, I was still following the training courses offered to the coaches of the federation’s competition teams.
Despite my athletic background, what I learned during this visit to the INS seemed from another world.
After taking their shots and discussing their results with the biomechanist, the CBA players had to dive quite deep into their understanding of physical and mathematical principles. At the meeting, the CBA’s director of performance, Marc-Antoine Bérubé, engaged them in an interesting discussion on how to achieve maximum potential.
Bérubé, who was himself a former professional pitcher, was notably insistent on the fact that every athlete is designed differently and that a 1.83 m (6 ft) pitcher, for example, may have to develop certain sequences of pitch differently than a 1.96m (6’5″ pitcher) to achieve the same result in terms of speed or efficiency.
There are different ways to solve a problem. For example, if everyone wants to generate a force that is equal to 4, it doesn’t matter if you get that result with the formula 1 x 4, 2 x 2 or 4 x 1. What matters is knowing yourself and understanding what aspect you need to work on.He explained.
The following week, the ABC players had another date with Mathieu Charbonneau. This time, the strength and endurance of both shoulders were measured with an isokinetic dynamometer.
Links can be made between the resilience of the shoulder and injury. But also, these tests allow us to build individual profiles for our players, and these profiles may require different interventions or courses of action, depending on the physical type of the player.adds Marc-Antoine Bérubé.
In addition to these formative encounters with biomechanics, all ABC players are also subjected to extremely comprehensive visual exams.
In addition to the basic tests used to ensure the health of the eyes and the quality of vision of athletes, we measure oculomotor qualities (efficiency of the eyes to effectively follow a fast-moving object), static visual acuity and dynamics, the visual field and the ability to distinguish depth (3D vision).
No matter what sport you play, an athlete’s path is likely to end because someone will tell them they’re not throwing hard enough, running fast enough, or being hit far enough. To keep him from ending up with one of these flat responses, surround him with people who will impact him outside of baseball and help improve his physical and motor skills.argues the technical director of BQ, Sylvain Saindon.
Visual acuity is an aspect that we did not put enough emphasis on in our sport. This is an important project for us. Clearly, the better an athlete’s visual acuity, the better their performance and concentration.
To top it off, about ten days ago, ABC players participated in a search for UQTR. This study aims to determine the effect of lower and upper limb fatigue on the speed, accuracy and variability of throws made by throwers. The researchers are also trying to measure the evolution of pain and stiffness felt by pitchers.
This position is extremely demanding, so starters can only pitch every five days.
All of these steps place athletes in a state of awakening. We want to help them discover who they are as athletes and as people. It allows them to know where they stand and what their needs are in various facets of their development. It also allows them to make connections between the things we do in training and what we’re trying to accomplish.says Marc-Antoine Bérubé.
Our players will begin working with a mental coach over the summer. Our players who live in residence had the opportunity to do their shopping with our nutritionist. They develop knowledge and skills that will follow them throughout their lives. You cannot be happier than when you help human beings to improve their life path.adds Sylvain Saindon.
The ABC players arrived in Arizona last Friday. They will hold a spring training camp there for about two weeks. Éric Gagné will notably join the coaching staff.
During this stay, ABC will notably face the Los Angeles Dodgers, the San Francisco Giants and the Texas Rangers. Games against American college teams are also on the program.
Then, in early May, ABC will head to Kamloops, British Columbia. The Quebec program will then participate in the Best in the West tournament. This showcase allows a large number of Canadian hopefuls to showcase their talents to coaches from universities in the American West.
The new program that BQ is implementing is remarkable. As I recently pointed out, it is incomprehensible, even embarrassing, that ABC has somehow become a traveling sports show in the Montreal area.