NIL Athlete Case Study: Owen Millar
When PPP athlete, Owen Millar, first stepped into the building at the beginning of the summer, he knew that something wasn't right.
He was coming off of an abnormal spring season. He knew something was wrong but was unable to pinpoint it.
He had three goals in mind;
Identify the “low-hanging fruits” of his game, and to attack them.
Improve fastball velocity and shape.
Remodel the slider.
Upon his arrival at PPP HQ, Millar had a clean table assessment as well as a strong power/strength assessment. At this point, it became clear that it was a mechanical issue.
Pre & Post Assessment Results
Owen’s initial motion-capture assessment came on June 1st. It identified a pair of problems for Owen that were preventing him from reaching his full potential.
Excessive trunk tilt (towards third base) through the linear phase of his motion.
Body moved very slow down the mound
After recognizing these deficiencies in Owen’s assessment, we were able to create an individualized plan for him to clean up his mechanics, centered around being able to move quicker down the mound.
Once the team created the plan, it became crucial to recognize not only the physical attributes of Owen’s game, but the mental attributes as well. Once mental cues were made, Millar was able to incorporate them in his throwing program.
After training at HQ for eight weeks, Owen did his end of summer assessments on July 30th and saw some massive improvements.
Owen saw an average increase of his fastball velocity up 4.4 mph, a max fastball velocity increase of 5.4 mph, and an increase in Max External Rotation (shoulder layback) of 16 degrees.
Clearly, Owen saw serious improvements in these categories over the summer, but how was he able to get there?
Mastering Pitch Technique & Efficiency
When Millar threw from the mound for the first time at PPP HQ, he came in with four pitches; fastball, sinker, slider, changeup. It became clear early on that the fastball was not where it needed to be, to be an efficient pitch.
The four-seam fastball is designed to maximize vertical break, which in turn would typically limit the horizontal break. Owen’s fastball accomplished this, however, his spin rate on the four-seam was well below what we would like to see.
In Major League Baseball, the average spin-rate of a four seam fastball is around 2300 RPMs. Owen’s average fastball was around 2100 RPMs with a spin efficiency no higher than 70%. Due to this, we decided to focus on the sinker. This would allow him to maximize the horizontal break of his arsenal.
His initial assessment on the mound showed his sinker up to 19 inches of horizontal break and around 87 mph. The MLB average for spin rate on a sinker is 2150 RPMs and Owen was up to 2070 RPMs in his initial assessment.
When it came to his slider, it became clear that Owen needed a little more consistency. In his initial assessment, Owen was throwing his slider with an average of 2050 RPMs. The Major League range is 2430-2530 RPMs. At the end of the summer, Millar got his max spin rate on the slider up to 2460 RPMs.
How did he get there? The answer is simple.
“With the slider, we changed the grip slightly and changed my cue to prioritize throwing it harder instead of just trying to guide it,” says Millar.
Mastering Mobility for Greater Shoulder ROM
Another big factor was Owen being able to improve his mobility and range of motion in his scaps, which tests shoulder flexion stability. The scap test consists of the athlete raising their arms above their head and testing the range of motion overhead.
We like to see our athlete be able to reach a straight arm up overhead past their ear. In his first assessment of the summer, Owen had his shoulder flexion tested and was unable to get them past his ear.
In his final physical assessment of the summer, Owen had his shoulder in a range where he could get his arms past his ears overhead. This was a big improvement in the overall range of motion for Owen. Had Owen not been able to improve on his shoulder flexion, there was a serious potential for shoulder injury in the future.
None of Owen’s accomplishments could have happened, if Owen had not bought in and dedicated himself to his craft over the duration of the eight weeks. Along with his eight week throwing program, Owen was on a lifting schedule which helped maximize his results on the mound.
Heading into his sophomore season at Howard College, Owen is as confident as he has ever felt on the mound. “All of these (goals) were accomplished and I’m feeling really confident heading into my sophomore season,” says Millar.
Owen Millar continues his PPP training program as a remote athlete while he gears up for his 2024 season. As a result of his hard work and effort over the summer, Owen is a member of the first group of PPP NIL athletes.
If you’re interested in getting your own assessment and individualized training program, like Owen, fill out the form this page to get started.