Patrick Jones Baseball Podcast Recap: Interview with Cody Fick About the Evolving Approach to Coaching Pitchers

In a recent episode of Patrick Jones Baseball podcast, Cody Fick, the Director of Pitching at Premier Pitching Performance (PPP) shared his perspective on the evolving world of pitching. 

His insights shed light on how technology, individualized training and data analytics are shaping the future of baseball.

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Fick’s Transition From College to Private Sector Pitching Coach

Fick originally learned about Premier Pitching Performance during his tenure as a college  pitching coach at Evansville. One of his collegiate players had been training at PPP’s facility in St. Louis, MO over the offseason, and Fick was impressed that his player had drastically improved his game and reestablished himself as a division one athlete in less than a year. 

As Fick learned more about PPP’s unique approach to assessment-based training and conditioning programs, he started to encounter the limitations of traditional coaching methods. Reflecting on this period, Fick notes, 

"As a college coach, I wish I had the information and access to tools that I do in the private sector." 

Many coaches in the collegiate ranks face similar challenges with limited access to resources, which is one of the reasons PPP travels across the country with their College Partnership Program to offer their high-tech assessments to collegiate athletes.

Embracing Technology and Data in the Private Sector

Upon joining PPP in 2018, Fick was exposed to an array of cutting-edge technologies, such as Rapsodo and Trackman. These tools represent a significant leap forward in pitching analysis, offering detailed insights into a pitcher's mechanics, ball flight data, spin rate, velocity and more. This data allows for a more nuanced understanding of a pitcher's strengths and weaknesses, facilitating targeted improvements.

With access to these advanced tools and eventually motion capture technologies in 2019, Fick was able to delve deeper into the science of pitcher development. He could analyze the minutiae of each pitcher's delivery and ball movement, something that was not possible to this extent in his previous role as a collegiate coach. 

The Power of Individual Assessments & Training

A key focus of Fick’s approach at PPP is on individualized assessments. He emphasizes the importance of understanding each athlete's unique strengths and limitations. 

"Different movers have different types of pitch quality strength," Fick explained. “That’s why it’s important to get down to the individual level.”

In essence, by taking a tailored approach to training, pitchers can maximize their potential by focusing on what they do best. Fick highlights that without objective feedback coaches may be doing their players a disservice by pulling pitchers away from their natural strengths.

“Instead of fitting guys into one or two different types of molds, we help [pitchers] become the best version of themselves,” Fick stated.


The Role of Biomechanics and Data in Pitcher Development

Fick emphasizes the importance of biomechanics and data in understanding and developing pitches. He discusses how different physical traits can influence a pitcher's ability to throw certain types of pitches effectively. 

With the help of movement patterns and ball flight data analytics, Fick could start to see similarities between guys that have good sliders, sinkers, fastballs, etc.

"For example, not everybody should throw a sweeper,” Fick commented. 

“Some guys that are more pronation biased are just gonna throw better gyro sliders and if I try to teach him a sweeper that may take him away from that good carry fastball and curveball that he already has.” 

Pronation v. supination is just one of the movement patterns that PPP coaches look for when determining an athlete’s strengths. Supination involves rotating your forearm so that your palm faces up, which can make for better sweepers. However, when the palm is faced down, it's referred to as pronation which can be better for gyro sliders.

The PPP Differentiator: Meeting Players Where They Are

Movement pattern data, like pronation and supination, is just one of the metrics that can be obtained from a PPP assessment. This information is instrumental in revealing each athlete's unique biomechanical profile, which serves as the foundation for personalized coaching strategies. 

As a coach, Fick's mission is to help athletes of every age and skill level understand and digest all this data. Then, they know exactly what training and performance skills they need to focus on. 

“[At PPP] We try to hang our hat on taking objective data, subjective observations, blending those two and communicating it in a way that meets the athlete where they're at,” Fick explained.

He and his team at PPP use this data to create individualized training regimens that address specific mechanical technique tweaks and weight room preparation. Fick also highlights how PPP’s coaching philosophy is more like a science with consistent testing and readjustments.

“Whenever you execute a program with us either at the facility or remote, there’s a deliberateness to it,” Fick noted. “You’re not just doing a mindless checklist.”

With this approach, athletes can completely understand their unique pitching profiles and have a clear, actionable roadmap to harness their full potential. 

Revolutionizing the Future of Baseball at Premier Pitching Performance

Cody Fick's interview with Patrick Jones highlights the future of baseball training. His career journey and insights as a collegiate and private sector pitching coach showcases how embracing technology, individualized assessments and a deep understanding of biomechanics are pivotal in developing successful pitchers. 

Fick acknowledges that each pitcher’s path is different, but the most important thing he emphasizes to his players is the process, 

"It's about the work, it's about the journey, it's about doing what you're supposed to do to get the most out of your abilities." 

To hear more of Fick's perspective on player development, college recruitment and his studies on major league pitching, tune into the Patrick Jones Baseball podcast. And if you’re interested in getting your own Premier Pitching Performance assessment, fill out the form here.

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