Learn More About Us: Q & A with Tyson McKee

Earlier this year, SOTG Player Development writer, Jonathan DeMarte connected with with Tyson McKee to discuss about the operations at SOTG and how we handle the player development process to aid with McKee’s research,

Can you please explain your involvements with analytics, data-based training, or the programs you use and how they are executed?

As far as the analytics side, we have a few aspiring analysts that have taken the reigns since the departure of my brother, Matthew, who now currently works with the Angels.

The style of programming I use is based on the Cressey Sports Performance (CSP) Model. Fortunately, I have been mentored the last two years and coached by a CSP employee, Andrew Lysy. He handles my personal training programs, coached me in person last year, and helps educate me on the nuances on strength and movement from his lens. Many of heard of  CSP, for they are responsible for the training and development of pitchers such as Noah Syndergaard, Max Scherzer, Corey Kluber, Clayton Kershaw, and many more. The training model starts with an evaluation to assess physical deficiencies and limitations to be targeted in programming. The athlete has the option to have a mobility program, lift (with warm-up, mobility and movement prework), and a customized throwing program, or all inclusive. As someone who is not a strength coach and am just trying to help athletes based on what I have learned and experienced, it is difficult for me to collect data. I do my best to stay up to date and continue to learn as I progress in the field. Andrew has helped me a lot with this throughout the process through offering his opinion on various topics throughout.

Can you explain the involvement of data collection and how these results are used?

With off-site programming, I do not have the ability to track metrics on jumps, med ball velocities, range of motion tests, throwing velocities, etc. I ask the athletes to track as much of this information as possible and report back to me to show the improvements. With remote training, most of the burden of data collection is placed on the client. As a full-time professional baseball player also competing on an international stage for the Israeli National Team, I do not have the resources and means to collect all the data that CSP employees do. I am not certified and am just trying to help athletes who do not have the financial means, resources, or connections to receive the most efficient style of athletic and performance development.

The purchase of any program opens up a line of communication between myself and the athlete where they can ask any questions or share concerns and feedback to meet their goals and needs.

Research shows velocity gains, increased arm strength, and endurance when throwing. Have you seen this with your “students” through your style of programming and educating?

Athletes whom I have written throwing programs for typically see improvements in all the categories you mentioned. The athletes who do not follow the program are the ones who end up seeing no results. I notice these are the individuals who do not demonstrate accountability, ownership, and priority in their baseball development. In the end, nothing is guaranteed, but the results show that those who buy into both the strength and conditioning as well as the throwing program typically see positive results.

How do you assess your custom-tailored programs for your athletes?

I assess athletes through an evaluation that a CSP and RVA Athletes (Richmond, VA) employee helped me establish for virtual training. They taught me how to look for movement deficiencies in the joints and muscles, and the necessary correctives, movements, and lifts to overcome these inefficiencies. From there, I build a custom built program to tackle these deficiencies in the best manner.

From personal experience, have you noticed improved arm recovery as a result of your training?

Throughout my baseball career I always struggled with arm recovery. I endured numerous arm surgeries and could never understand why they were reoccurring. Although I was the type of player who always outworked everyone around me, my training regimen was not optimal, and I would work too hard rather than smart. After learning, understanding, and committing to this new functional movement style, I have noticed a significant increase in recovery, velocity, command, and fluidity of my delivery.

Explain any negative feedback you have seen while a program is being executed.

The negative feedback I have received is typically having to decrease the length of programs for certain individuals, as they are hit with unexpected conflicts, schedule changes, academics, and team practices. These are simple adjustments that I make to optimize the program to meet their requests. A program is not meant to be stagnant, as changes should always be made to get the most out of it for the specific athlete. There are external factors that neither the athlete nor myself can control, and we must be ready to overcome those roadblocks.

The additional feedback I have for this question regards athletes and lack of commitment, ownership, and attention to detail. A program is meant to be followed and executed, not forgotten about or skipped, unless extreme conflicts arise, which is completely understandable as this happens to the best of us. Most young athletes lack attention to detail, especially with the cues, notes, and directions I provide. This is what I see hindering athletes from achieving desired results. When the directions are not properly followed, the athlete will likely not achieve the fullest extent of desirable and sustainable results. That and giving up prematurely are probably the two biggest hinders from the best outcome.

We hope that one program leads to a lifelong relationship for the duration of the athlete’s career. Sticking to a routine/program and not constantly changing up style or routine is what I preach, but I understand that this is a difficult request, especially with virtual training. At the end of the day, I will always recommend in-person coaching over virtual training. This style will help mitigate some of the obstacles mentioned above. It is the responsibility of the athlete, mentors, parents, coaches, etc. to analyze, research, and seek out the style of strength, movement, and throwing training best suited for the individual and optimal for ballplayers. All of this information can be found on the internet; therefore, I believe there is no excuse to not filling some voids in an athlete’s career. If an athlete does not stick with his or her routine, full potential will not be unlocked or reached. At the end of the day, something is better than nothing, so I advise you to take this information and decipher it for yourself. Remember, no two athletes are ever the same!

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