Baseball Biomechanics

As the off-season moves away from the winter meetings and the ever-pounding drumbeat of the rumor mill, the thoughts of many turn to preparing for the upcoming 2018 season. When you ask baseball followers about off-season training, it often conjures images of players in endless lines of teammates playing long toss, coaches with a stream of repetitive drills, players jogging in the outfield and working countless hours in the weight room, etc. And while much of that still exists, baseball is moving in a more comprehensive direction in developing their players. At the forefront is Katherine Roberts, who has been working with MLB teams for the last 15 years, including the Cubs for soon to be six seasons.

Katherine Roberts is the founder of Human Performance for Sports, specializing in baseball.  Roberts holds a Fellow degree in Applied Functional Science and Chain Reaction Biomechanics. Officially listed as the Cubs Yoga and Pilates Performance Instructor, Roberts explains that there is more to role than simply holding yoga and Pilates classes. “I am hired by the Strength and Conditioning coaches to work with them, along with the skills coaches, for a comprehensive, focused, and directed development of the players”, stated Roberts.

“My methodologies are based on baseball biomechanics. They are specific to the position and the demands of the day and the season,” Roberts explained during a recent interview. “I treat each player as an individual, but there are some consistent issues that affect each player based on their position and repetitive movement patterns.”

Working with the team two to three times a week, Roberts collaborates with the strength coaches. Roberts will incorporate what needs to be done on a particular training day and formulate a program based o those needs. Those needs could be a warm-up before the players partaking in drills, working with individuals or groups on specific skills, or as part of a “cool down” at the end of a day. “For example,” Roberts said, “a few days ago, we worked with small groups of five in a rotation, getting them ready for their upper body workout.” Roberts also related instances in which she worked a recovery session at the end of a day’s workout, and working with individual players on Pilates. “The key for me is to be adaptable to meet the coaches’ daily needs for their players.”

But there is more to what Roberts does than assist players in improving things like strength, stamina, flexibility, and coordination. An integral part of every player’s plan, according to Roberts, is breathing and body awareness. “Learning how to breathe properly affects a player’s brain functioning and cognitive capabilities”, reports Roberts. Through breath-work, a player can improve their focus and “lock in” on the diamond. Roberts believes that relieving stress by working with breathing and body awareness can help a player slow the game down and allow his natural abilities to come through.

Roberts states that she enjoys working for the Cubs organization, and reports a high level of respect in all facets of the organization. “The Cubs have a great deal of respect for what each coach brings to the team” says Roberts.

Roberts believes that her collaboration with the Cubs coaches is on the forefront of the way players are being trained for baseball. “Together, we are becoming more innovative when it comes to training players for a future in the major leagues” states Roberts, who considers herself a “human performance coach”.

“It’s not just about developing baseball players” says Roberts, “it’s about cultivating human beings”.

For more on Human Performance for Sports, please click on the following link:

https://humanperformanceforsports.com/

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  • Hopefully, Katherine can help minimize the mysterious injuries related to strains, pulls and general soreness. As long as she isn't teaching them to "breathe through your eyelids like a lava lizard," it's all good.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Hey now, breathing through your eyelids worked for Nuke.

  • Wow zach britton ruptured his achilles yesterday. Out at least 6 months

    I wanted the cubs to trade for him. There goes that

  • In reply to bolla:

    I just saw that. It sucks, because I thought there could be a fit as well. I couldn't see a straight Britton-for-player X deal, I thought other pieces would have to be involved. Then the Machado rumors began. I guess we're back to the highly likely scenario of Russell and Montgomery and top prospects for one year and around $17M for Machado, because hey, that's what the Orioles need. Everyone in baseball knows if these two braintrusts get together on a deal, one of them is getting fleeced.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Russell and Montgomery and top prospects for one year of Machado would be crazy. No way the front office does that in my opinion.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    Sarcasm. This is the latest trade proposal floated by Ken Rosenthal. Often these proposals are based on what one team wants/needs without regard to the fit and expectations of the other team. That scenario is completely lopsided in one direction, and history shows that an actual deal between these two parties would most likely not result in the Cubs coming out on the losing end. My comment was meant as praise of our FO, a condemnation of the Orioles FO, and the ridiculousness of some of the trade proposals offered by the media.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Oh ok. Sometimes sarcasm does not does not look obvious in posts. Now that I reread it I see it. LOL

  • Boy, this organization doesn't miss much. I remember when players would just show up in the spring, stretch, play catch, do a few sprints, jump in the cage, and take some grounders.

  • I was just reading yesterday about Schwarber' s quickness, agility, and coordination drills. I can really see where a little more fiinnesse could improve his game. Sometimes it looked more like he is trying to tackle the ball on D. He lhas lost 20lbs and pitched his knee brace in the process. Kyle gives me the impression that he will not be denied. No wonder the front office doesn't want to trade him.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I like the analogy of trying to tackle a ball. Yesterday many of us sang the praises of Bryant and his unending desire to become a better baseball player. Schwarber certainly shares this trait. It seems as though he has fully bought into the Cubs and Katherine Roberts' conditioning program.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Read your post and did a quick search and found this

    http://kwese.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/21817891/cubs-slugger-kyle-schwarber-lost-20-pounds-mission-transform-body-game

    He seems dead serious this offseason. I'm excited to see what this looks like on the field.

  • I was just scanning through some headlines, and I came across this one, from The Cub Reporter: "Cubs Re-Sign Davis". Alas, it is Taylor, not Wade.

    The Giants have just acquired Longoria from the Rays. I haven't seen all the details yet, but I think Span and his money is going to the Rays.

    This is another example of creative bookkeeping, a trend we are seeing more often. Another market inefficiency our FO can exploit? This offseason's market has been extraordinary. Many major players in the FA market, such as the Yankees and Dodgers, have so far sat this one out. Everyone seems to be gearing up and getting under the tax threshold for the class next year. There are opportunities here for a forward-thinking FO. I'm intrigued by how the rest of this offseason plays out. We had a plan coming into this winter, and the landscape has changed in ways that could not be foreseen or planned for.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Based on the comments I've seen on the Giants beat reporters tweeter feeds, most Giants fans are decidedly unhappy with the trade. Longoria is 32 (post prime) and will be under contract for four more years at +$15m. Sure, Span is gone, but he only had one year left. And is adding Longoria going to make the Giants better than the Dodgers, Rockies, and DBacks? With the number two pick in the draft this year, I really feel like the Giants should have tanked one more season, gotten another high draft pick, traded Bum at the deadline, maybe even salary dumped Shark and Cueto, and cleared Span and Pence off the books. Instead, they are really gambling.

    Now, for the Cubs, I'm hoping the Rays are finally ready to rebuild and trade Archer for Schwarber.

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    In reply to Cubswin09:

    I guess they are "beli-even."

  • In reply to Cubswin09:

    I appreciate the local insight on the Giants' moves from your end, 09. I'm not sure where they are as a franchise, with the worst record in baseball and a payroll hovering at the luxury-tax threshold. This makes me appreciate our leadership that much more.

    Speaking of fans reactions, the DirtyBirds fanbase is out another target in Longoria. This is after Stanton and Ohtani. They are now saying they are favorites for (insert name of desirable player here). The Cardinals will get that player because that is the Cardinal Way, and because everyone wants to play for the Best Fans in Baseball.

    Tee-hee!!

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I wouldn't cry for the Cardinals, They did, after all, practically steal Marcell Ozuna, who is only 27 and an absolute stud. And the Giants gave up Christian Arroyo, ranked as their best prospect last season, and two minor league pitchers for Longoria. I'm sure the Cardinals were too smart to offer anything close to that.

  • We sure have come a long way in this sport from pudgy fellows with burgeoning beer guts haven't we?

  • Dan O'Dowd must be broke. It seems like he is on MLB NOW everyday.

  • Marlins are into dumping money. Could the Cubs take on Ziegler to entice them to trade us Yelich?

  • In reply to NilesNorth:

    Who would you trade for them?

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    In reply to Milk Stout:

    Stanton didn't bring back much. Would you trade Almora even up for Yelich? I think this year AA breaks out so I would be hesitant.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I could see them wanting Almora in any deal involving Yelich. Looking at their roster & prospects list, they need OF. Not sure what else it would take.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    The way they seem to be looking at this rebuild, and the state of their farm system, you would have to think that it will be 5-6 years before they even think about competing. Not sure why they would want Almora as he'd be gone to FA around that time.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Probably because they still need to field a team... They’re cutting payroll. Already traded 2/3rds of their starting OF & Yellich would make it 3/3rds... Almora is cheaper, & could be a good trade chip before he becomes a FA. I could go on...

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Stanton brought 265 million in payroll relief.
    Need to give up much more than Almora for Yelich

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I've been wondering about Almora for Yelich. As much as I love AA Jr and rooted hard for more playing time for him last year, I would let him go for Yelich. He's already arrived, plays great CF and is a great leadoff hitter. He checks all the boxes and makes Almora expendable. And Albert would be home and playing everyday.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Yellich would be an absolute stud in Wrigley. However, it would cost an arm and a leg to acquire him.

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    Being in the moment seems so integral to how the club tries to relax its young players and keep them from thinking too much or getting out of their game due to the many pressures of major league ball, it's fun to look behind the curtain and see one of the ways they go about accomplishing this. Good read. Love to see more articles about other aspects of their training program, body and mind.

  • In reply to TheoLeo:

    Thank you TheoLeo.

  • Anthony Bass?

  • I suggest telling Peter Angelos to go away!

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