• College Bound Athlete Package

    Take advantage of this program that combines every aspect of becoming an elite college athlete.  For those looking for the edge, this is the only program in the country offering complete athlete development, detailed evaluation, intense personalized marketing and college coach communication. Find your perfect college fit with the guidance of Power Line’s experienced staff.

     

    This pack is designed over a 12 month period.

    Please call for more information - 858*277*7792

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  • Complete Athlete Training Pack

     

    Power Line Consulting  is proud to announce the release of the Complete Athlete Training Pack. Are you pre-recruiting age, or college bound and want to stay on the fast track to the next level of softball? This pack includes all areas of softball to help transform you into the player of your dreams! Through developmental camps, lessons, Right View Pro swing analysis, speed and agility coaching, and one-on-one meetings with those who have paved the trail before, you can raise your skills to an advanced level. Meet with the staff at Power Line Consulting to create a personalized package to fit you! Take a look at the example below, and see some of the different options!

    The pack is designed over a 12 month period.

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  • Defensive Drill

    Defensive Insight: a note from Kristen Gensler

     

    As a defensive coach at Power Line Consulting, I teach the importance of attacking the ball. Whether you are an infielder or outfielder you should never be standing still while fielding. To help understand this concept better, I found a video of the USA team practicing. Take note how the players are constantly moving, staying low, and their transition from fielding to throwing is quick and smooth. If you have further questions feel free to contact me.

    Click the video below to watch the full workout.

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  • Pitching: A Body and Mind Endeavor by Becca Heteniak

     

    Pitching: A Body and Mind Endeavor

    by Becca Heteniak

    “Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.”  This quote by Robert Collier describes perfectly the hard work that must go into being a great and, ultimately, successful pitcher.  The pitcher is arguably the most challenging and time consuming of all positions in softball.  Of those girls who decide to take on the leadership in the circle, some excel while others never reach the tough standards being a pitcher entails.  The difference comes from two significant aspects of pitching: execution and mental toughness.  Good execution is often a result of mental toughness.  However, good execution is most notably due to being able to repeat the fundamental mechanics pitch after pitch.  The better the muscle memory, the more consistent a pitcher will be, and the way she faces mental challenges in practice will allow her to tackle those same challenges with ease come game time.

    Think back to some of the great pitchers through the past couple decades: Lisa Fernandez, Michele Smith, Jennie Finch, and Cat Osterman.  From the time when Michele and Lisa reigned and put softball on the map to now when Jennie has just retired and Cat still shines in the NPF, we see two universal similarities: proper fundamental mechanics and mental toughness.  When I played at DePaul and worked with pitching coach Cat Osterman, it was impressive to see first-hand the way she utilizes the fundamental form and the mental aspect of pitching to her benefit.  I realized that fundamentals and mental strength, accompanied by hours and hours of hard work and practice, are what gives pitchers a foundation for success.

    I believe teaching the fundamentals from a young age is important in creating a path of success for pitchers.  By promoting the proper mechanics, a pitcher will learn correct body position, arm circle, leg drive, and wrist snap.  Having a strong understanding of those important facets of pitching early on in a pitcher’s career will allow her the mental toughness to make adjustments under the pressure of a game situation.  I have learned in my experience that an interactive teaching style is more beneficial, especially with young pitchers.  It engages the athlete in the process of considering her body position, arm circle, leg drive and wrist snap and leads to better understanding of mistakes and quicker, more useful adjustments.  By forcing the thought process to occur, a pitcher will not only build a foundation of better fundamentals but also increase her mental toughness.  As she becomes more and more aware of the reasons behind poor pitches, she will understand the corrections and adjust accordingly.  This greater understanding will help a pitcher create muscle memory and ultimately become a more consistent competitor.

    Having an understanding of the fundamentals is also important as a part of the prevention of pitching-related injuries.  Too often now I see young girls sustaining injuries that could have easily been prevented by simply correcting improper mechanics.   And frequently these injuries are due to a lack of emphasis on the power of leg drive.  As females, we carry the majority of our muscle mass in our lower half.  Without the emphasis of increasing leg strength and drive, a pitcher is almost certain to end up with an arm injury.

     

    Today, the focus on picking up speed has become more prevalent.  A fundamental look into a pitch tells us that small increases in speed and strength in the proper mechanical form will help to increase pitch speed. Rather than simply trying to throw harder, focusing on increasing leg strength, picking up arm speed, and improving wrist snap through resistance and weight training is a safe and effective way to gradually build muscle and increase speed.

    Above all, making sure that a pitcher is held accountable for her pitches and her mental attitude is what will help her achieve success in the game of softball.  A pitcher is the physical leader on the field and she sets the tone of the game.  If her execution, mental toughness, or a mixture of the two is not at the level it should be, the rest of the team will follow suit.  Pushing a pitcher to figure out the mistakes she makes rather than giving her the answers with no thought on the matter will make her more independent and mentally strong.  A mentally strong pitcher is most often a successful pitcher. Look back to the great pitchers of the past and present and you will see fundamental pitchers that have a “take no prisoners” attitude.  That is how you become a successful pitcher and ultimately win in this challenging game.

     

     

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  • Mental Skills Manual, Part I: Introduction

     by Geoff Miller, Owner, Winning Mind

    When people talk about the mental game of baseball, they are talking about two basic principles: knowledge and performing under pressure.  To have a strong mental game, you have to know what to do and then be able to execute on that knowledge when it counts.  Most books on sport psychology offer strategies for staying focused, controlling emotions, and developing positive thinking, but they miss the big picture for getting everything out of your talent.  When you are comfortable, confident, and in control on the field, you don’t need help staying focused, controlling emotions, or staying positive…those things just happen on their own.  So instead of learning tricks to help you overcome the tough times, the real key to successful performance is to learn and understand where, when, why and how you experience pressure.  If you can know the conditions that make you feel pressure, you can get to the root causes that get you off track and then you won’t need the short-term fixes.

    Unfortunately, it takes time to sort through the complexities that make us feel pressure.  We all come to the field with our own life experiences, habits, personalities, families, and preferences.  And sometimes, we don’t WANT to know what’s really making us feel the way we feel.  Learning to understand why we make the decisions we make and training our minds to move toward long-term success is a process that requires patience and practice.

    That’s why I have designed a mental skills program that offers two approaches to developing knowledge and abilities to perform under pressure.  In the long term, you need to be able to know who you are, know what you want, and know what to do if you don’t get it.  And in the short term, you need to have some weapons to help you stay on track when you’re not feeling confident, comfortable, and in control while playing the game.

    Components:

    1. Knowledge
    2. Goals
    3. Dealing with Failure
    4. Short-Term Skills for Performing Under Pressure

    These topics are laid out in this sequence so the following can be answered:

    1. Know who you are
    2. Know what you want
    3. Know what to do when you don’t get it
    4. Know what to do in the meantime before you’ve mastered these concepts
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  • Winter is the perfect time to turn the heat up!

    Winter is a perfect time to turn up the heat!

    December 1, 2010 - Sara Hayes, Owner Power Line Consulting

    Vince Lombardi said, “Leaders are made, they are not born.  They are made by hard effort, which is the price all of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile.”  Now that the busy summer and fall showcase seasons have passed, many turn their focus away from softball.  The upcoming holiday and break from school is right around the corner, semester finals are creeping up, and although high school ball is in between, summer softball seems to be a long time away. Yet still there are some determined athletes and coaches who seize the opportunity that exists.  Those athletes and coaches truly looking to advance, those driven to raise the level of their game, use these “breaks” as opportunities for adjustment and training.

    When I was in high school playing travel ball, we competed during the summer and on a few weekends during the fall.  We had time to compete in other sports, to rehab and heal our stressed bodies, and to regroup and hone our skills.  Today, athletes are focused on developing one sport and the travel ball schedule is year round.  In many ways, the overscheduled seasons limit the development potential of our athletes unless they seek out timely opportunities.

    Practice makes perfect.  Taking the time to patiently perfect skills is being overlooked by the need to “get seen”.  But honestly the real key to exposure is positive performance and that only comes through perfecting skill.

    With the oversaturation of recruiting, college coaches can be selective in making their decisions.  They are looking for those athletes who have taken the extra steps to ensure productivity as college student-athletes.  Grades, overall health and fitness, maturity and communication, and skill performance all come together in a coach’s decision.  For this reason, it is imperative that athletes and coaches use opportunities throughout the year to turn up the heat!

    This December through February period is one of those to take advantage of and here are some recommended steps to take in maximizing it:

    • Realistically evaluate your skills and ability

    In looking at the last 6 months, what are some aspects of your game that you need to sharpen?  How complete of an athlete are you and how competitive do you honestly assess your marketing level to be?  Through our Power Line recruit advising program, we assess athletes’ ability in the same way that the college coaches are evaluating you – offensive consistency, power potential, speed, quickness, position specific defense ability, arm strength, game sense, leadership, fitness, academic stability, maturity, and communication.  It is important for you to be able to judge which tools you are bringing to the table and which still need to be sharpened. 

    With over 1400 college options and thousands of high school athletes vying for roughly 3200 roster spots, you want to do the very best you can to have every opportunity to find the right spot for yourself. 

     

    • Honestly weigh your goals

    If you are seriously considering trying to play in college, how competitive do you feel you are against those other athletes trying to do the same thing?  How hard have you been working to achieve that goal, and what are you willing to adjust now in order to make that happen?

    When I played at the University of Notre Dame, my friends and I used to sit around before or after practice to hit in the cages.  Those years we were top 20 in Division 1 and consistently faced strong programs like DePaul, Michigan, and Missouri.  We wanted to be able to have the confidence to perform at the highest level.  Our coaches had given us all the tools to do so, but it was ultimately up to us to get it done!

    Have you made the decision to independently drive to be great?  If not yet, now is the time to start doing so!

     

    • Set short term goals for February

    You have three months of dedicated time to get yourself in the best possible physical shape you can be in.  Lay out a detailed map of sport performance training, nutrition, and skill development.  Schedule practices and workouts, get in a routine, and hold yourself accountable.

    I would be happy to meet with you to assist you in developing this plan.  We have a number of athletes who train in small groups with their teammates.  We set up a schedule for now through high school to dedicate themselves to fine tuning.  It is exciting to see their apparent commitment and drive!  You should follow suit if you have not yet done so.  And don’t hesitate to let me know if you need help.

     

    • Write down long term goals for June and plan a schedule for achieving them

    Expand on the training, nutrition, and skill development short term goals in preparing for next summer.  Use the opportunities available through high school – live pitching, game situations – to continue to hone the skills you address this winter.

    Your goal should be that you are peaking during the primary showcase tournaments.  You will want to be on fire, to have everything clicking!  Optimal fitness and sharpened skills, combined with effective situational training during the high school season will give you the chance to have your best foot forward.  As you progress through the high school season, you will want to evaluate and learn as situations arise.  Just as you develop physical skills through repetition on the tee, use the live game situations to address mental processes, learn to make adjustments, or to produce more effectively.

    While doing this, continuing the repetition of lessons is just as important.  Remember when you learned to hit a new pitch. You didn’t totally disregard the majority of what you were doing before.  You simply added a new focus.  In-season practice is the same in that you expand to include situational analysis while maintaining the consistent focus you have built before that point.

     

    • Light the fire in your belly! 

    In anything that we do in life, we have the opportunity to commit to achieve greatness.  “Success is a peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.”  -John Wooden 

    I tell the athletes who I am advising through the college recruiting process that if they want to take ownership and make the decision, then they have to do the grunt work (as opposed to their parents doing the work for them).  Similarly, if you expect to feel good and perform well on the field, then you must take care of business in preparation.

    Set yourself ahead of the pack, rather than with the pack.  I had two athletes this summer prepare to enter as freshman at San Diego State University and Stanford University.  Both had strength and conditioning programs that they were given to complete over the summer and were to be tested on their efforts during the start of practice.  Our goal was not just to pass the tests, but to ensure that there was no doubt.  All of our stress was placed on the need to prepare, so that they were recognized as leaders right off the bat.  Our plan proved perfect!

    I challenge you to adopt a similar approach.  What is it that motivates you and lights your fire?  Draw on this as you turn the heat up.

    Whether you are 10 years old preparing for the beginning of the rec season and All-stars or a 16 year old junior heading into a major recruiting summer, it is important to learn to understand and practice seasonal development.  It keeps us progressing, interested in learning new skills, and gives us the opportunity to truly develop outstanding and complete athletes!

    If there is anything we can do for you here at Power Line – as you turn the heat up – please do not hesitate to let us know!

    College Recruit Advising – Skill Development – Sport Performance Training – Leadership and Mentoring
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  • Softball and the Female Athlete – From A Physical Therapist’s Perspective

    Kelly Heffron, PT, DPT of Kate Grace Physical Therapy provided an article, Softball and the Female Athlete - From A Physical Therapist's Perspective, for our December newsletter.

    For over a century the sport we call softball has taken on immense change from the discovery of the sport to the level of competition it encompasses today. Softball first originated in the “windy city” in 1887.  It was started by the Chicago Farragut Boat Club as a form of indoor baseball.1,2  Prior to being termed softball, it was referred to as kitten ball, mush ball or pumpkin ball.2 It wasn’t until 1906 that official rules were organized for the sport.2  In 1926, W.A. Hawkinson provided the sport with its official name, “softball”.2  Since that time there has been tremendous evolution of this game. Perhaps the largest growth occurred in 1972 when Title XI passed and increased the availability of collegiate teams and softball scholarships for the female participant. Title XI defined that there would be equal funding for female vs. male athletic teams.3  It was following this decision that the United States started to experience a rise in the popularity of the sport amongst the female population.1  In 1996 softball became an Olympic event.1  Today softball is one of the most popular sports for the young female athlete.  

     
    The discovery of fast pitch came following the rise of female involvement in the sport.  In 1982 the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) hosted the first women’s fast pitch softball championship.4  From 1988 to 2004 there was a 65% rise in the number of female collegiate softball teams in the NCAA; with this came a rise in the number of sport related injuries.4  At the forefront of everyone’s mind might lie the question “why has there been a large spike in the number of injuries inflicted on the female softball player?”.  Wouldn’t it be safe to believe that as the sport evolved, the coaches and trainers would have ever increasing research available to them regarding how to best train the players to avoid injury?  Unfortunately that has not been the case. Little research has been published to guide the trainers and coaches on how to effectively teach their players to play in the safest manner to achieve success while avoiding acute or overuse injuries.

    There has also been a spike of youth involvement in year-round, single-sport participation.  The advent of club softball has made it possible for the young adolescent player to participate in organized sport for 12 months of the year without rest.  There has been a lot of research to support the fact that the human body can participate in year round athletics, but that there should be a variety of sports involved.  Variety helps avoid the overuse of one region of the body.  Think about how differently we use our bodies for softball versus soccer.  If the youth athlete were to participate in these sports year round, she would use her legs predominately for one sport and her arms for the other.  This would reduce the likelihood of her sustaining a shoulder or elbow injury that could result from year round softball participation.

    Another leading cause behind the rise in the number of injuries is the lack of isolated strength training of the larger muscle groups located at the core.  Our core (abdominals, pelvic floor, back muscles and diaphragm) makes up one of the strongest power generators in our bodies.  We need to maximize the use of this area, thus necessitating that less force be generated and transmitted by the smaller muscle groups. Typically, the throwing athlete does not focus on using the core and instead “whips” her arm forward, using only the strength present in her rotator cuff.  This applies excessive stress to the shoulder and elbow joints.  

    It is important that the softball participant, coach, trainer and general public understand the importance of core strength, varied sport participation, and isolated muscle strengthening to reduce overuse at the smaller joints where injuries tend to be more prevalent.  Through this newsletter you will find tips to meet these goals and updates on the current trends in research.  It is important to stay abreast of the current literature to maximize the efficiency of the athlete’s ability to participate without injury.

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    Newsletter topics will include recruit advising, sport performance coaching, mental training, physical therapy, and skill development.  Sign up to recieve this expertly written monthly prowl.  Also, be sure to comment, share, or follow through RSS feeds.

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