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I’m Ranked!

January 14, 2020
Whether we’re talking about a ranked 10U team or a player being ranked #XYZ in the state, I’m not a fan of rankings.   Why you may ask?   Well, because the people that are ranking you generally can’t do anything tangible for you and distract you from the things that actually matter in your career.   They aren’t making you better. They can’t give you playing time. They aren’t giving you a college scholarship. And they aren’t able to draft you.   So, why do they matter? The truth is, they don’t.   When it comes time to be recruited, whenever that may be for you, all a college coach cares about is how GOOD you are…unranked or ranked top #5 in the state, ultimately all that matters is THEIR own option of you. That is option that means something.   Instead of spending your valuable time and energy chasing a meaningless number, assigned to you by strangers in a conference room, chase the things that are truly meaningful…tangible and intangible.   Quick case study…   Player #1-Good size RHP, ranked #12 in the state (has attended a ton of showcases and large tournaments). Sitting 85-87 with decent stuff.   Player #2-Also a RHP with good size. Unranked because he’s never done showcases or the “big” tournaments. Sitting 88-91 with electric stuff.   Who do you take?    Yes, that’s a rhetorical question because we’re all taking the same player. Player #1’s ranking doesn’t add MPHs on his fastball and it certainly doesn’t make his curveball sharper.    Chase 90mph. Chase an 100mph exit velocity. Chase a 6.5 60yd dash. Chase being an animal in the weight room. Chase being an extraordinary teammate and man.   Work hard. Focus on being the best version of you on a daily basis and the real numbers, the ones that actually matter, will be there when they need to be. Hunt your potential, not your ranking. Be obsessed.    Ken Spangenberg Director of Baseball Maplezone Sports Institute
Athletic Training Baseball Wellness

Throwing Program to Get You Ready for the High School Season

January 8, 2020
With New Year’s Day having come and gone, two things have occurred. One, the holiday season is over; and two, baseball season is just around the corner! It’s certainly an exciting time here at MSI: our pro pitchers are continuing to dial in their stuff on the mound, college guys are building up in preparation for their season, many of our high school guys are in the middle of their velocity phases, and our youth guys are starting to on-ramp after shutting down for a few months.   High school baseball starts in the beginning of March, leaving 8-9 weeks before daily practices and lots of throwing. The rest of this article will detail why it’s important to start throwing now and provide two free throwing programs to get you ready for March!   First, why is it important to start throwing two months before practices start? Can’t you just show up March 6th and get your arm in shape without a problem? Giving an answer to this question is challenging and heavily nuanced. However, the short answer is no.   Every time we throw a baseball, lift a weight, or go for a jog, our bodies are stressed. As we experience stress, the body is forced to react and adapt. As we adapt to this stress, more and more stress can be applied. If high amounts of stress are placed on the body before it’s ready, soreness, fatigue, and in some instances, injuries can occur. On the other hand, if stress is gradually applied over days, weeks, and months, the body will continue to positively adapt.   So, what does that have to do with pitching? Well, if you don’t throw for three months, then decide to throw a bullpen at max intent, you’re likely placing way too much stress on your body. (Note: I’m not saying that you will get hurt if you do this. I don’t use fear-mongering to motivate athletes. But, just understand that you are at a higher risk for injury.)   A common metric used to measure stress is acute to chronic (AC) workload ratio. AC ratio is defined as the amount of stress during one week of activity divided by the average total stress over the previous four weeks. In baseball terms, that means how much throwing you’ve done in one week compared to your total amount of throwing over the previous four weeks. A recent study, Relationship between workload and throwing injury in varsity baseball players (Mehta, 2019), found that players who had an AC ratio greater than 1.27 were 14.9 times more likely to get injured compared to baseball players with an AC ratio lower than 1.27. Some takeaways from that study highlighted the importance for throwing workload to be built up over time as a means to decrease injury risk.   That’s where a throwing program comes in.   By following a program that gradually increases your chronic workload without spikes in your acute or daily workload, you may decrease
Baseball Wellness

The Most Important Moment

January 8, 2020
As we close in on the New Year, it’s totally natural to start thinking about resolutions and goals for 2020. Most of us do this annually, however, the numbers show that most of us fail rather quickly in chasing our newly made resolutions.   Why? Because long term goals can be very daunting and we get lost dreaming about the future instead of trying to dominate the present moment.   This totally makes sense to me. Isn’t thinking about all the cool stuff that we COULD be doing in the future more fun than making inglorious sacrifices today? Absolutely!   So here’s the challenge to 2020 you…   Don’t obsess about what “could be”. Instead, conquer the current moment…then repeat moment after moment and you WILL get to actually live out what you’re dreaming about rather than it just being an imagine floating around in your head.   Dreams are fun. The future is cool. Resolutions can be useful tactics. But ultimately, consistent, daily action will be what does or does not turn your dreams into your reality. The most important moment of your career is now. Today’s sacrifice isn’t glamorous, but it’s required. Be obsessed.   Ken Spangenberg Director of Baseball Maplezone Sports Institute

100 Out of 100 (Almost)

January 8, 2020
If you’re reading this, odds are strong that you want to play baseball in college or are involved with a player/players that have that exact dream. When the typical player is asked what school they want to go to, it is almost a guarantee that they’ll list schools like UVA, UNC, Florida, Vandy, etc…all D1 Colleges and all Top 25 Programs in the country. And who wouldn’t want to go to these schools? They’re gorgeous, have insane facilities, and a great baseball track record! However, it’s also important to know what the odds of actually playing at a Top 25 DI Program are. So let’s do some math… About 7% of High School baseball players move on the play NCAA Baseball at some level (DI, DII, or DIII). About 2% of those players will go to a DI college to play. There are just shy of 300 DI schools in the country currently, but just to keep the numbers cleaner, let’s use 300 DI schools for this example. So if you want to play at a Top 25 DI Program, that means that you are in the top 0.16% of all High School baseball players! Just to put it into perspective, take a room full of 100 High School players…the numbers show that it’s very close to 100 out of 100 NOT having the opportunity to play at that type of program. Wow. Now please hear this…just because the odds are not in your favor (at all), doesn’t mean that you CAN’T be in that 0.16%. Realize that you’ll have to match what you’re willing to sacrifice, on a daily basis, to the crazy odds of reaching a goal that tough to obtain. Ultimately, you will be the one that determines whether you fall into that 0.16% or not. Be obsessed. PS-Going to a Top 25 Program or even a DI Program is far from “required” if you want to have a great college career or even play after college. Players from all levels will have a chance at playing post college if they are GOOD enough so make sure to pick a school that will develop you, but again, it’s ultimately in your hands whether you reach that goal or not. Another topic we’ll touch in the future. Ken Spangenberg Director of Baseball Maplezone Sports Institute


We are grateful for the experience that Ethan is getting and appreciate all you and the other coaches do for the kids. You guys are very good with the kids run a great program.

Crissi, MSI Parent

Brooke is throwing her change-ups and they are working big time! The girls were way ahead of the pitch. Brooke could not stop smiling!
Nice work coach!

Scott, MSI Lesson Client

I wanted to thank you again for putting on a great winter lacrosse league. This was our first year in your league, and it was the best winter league we have played. We will definitely be participating next year.

Jeff, MSI Lacrosse League Client

The instruction and guidance offered to Michael by Corey during a batting session is truly appreciated. Just to see Michael’s expression when he gets that “ha-ha” moment after Corey improves his swing or stance is priceless. Everyone at MSI is truly wonderful. Please convey my Thank you!

Teresa Eze, MSI Parent

Chris, Just wanted to say you did a hell of a job getting everybody 3 pool play games. I’m sure it was a scheduling nightmare. That’s why you’re the best!!

Tom Hunter, MSI Tournament Client

Andrew did a great job with Daniel, he really liked his lesson. We will be putting him on schedule for lesson every week till the start of the season in March.

Paul Jacobs, MSI Parent

Thank you very much for allowing me and my teammates to use your facility, it’s the perfect place to get everything we need done to get ready for the upcoming season!

Edwin Lee, Goldey-Beacom College 1B/OF

Our MSI experience has been amazing. My daughter is about to start her 3rd year of softball. Michelle has been incredible with her. She is very new to catching and her first 2 lessons have helped her gain some confidence. She is so excited for her next lesson! We will definitely continue with lessons and clinics.

Julie Bossler, MSI Lesson Client

I cannot say more about how wonderful Cory is with my son!! He has made such a positive impact on my son’s hitting and is always kind and respectful of him. I constantly recommend him to my many baseball mom friends!!!

Julie McHugh, MSI Lesson Client

My son Cole raved about his experience with Carlos. This is his first year in little league and he has been very intimidated with batting. We are hoping the lessons will give him more skill and confidence so he can enjoy his experience to the fullest. So far, things seem great.

Lori Captain, MSI Lesson Client

Nick did a great job instructing my son Patrick. He took the time to teach him the proper mechanics and build his confidence at the same time… I was very impressed with Nicks ability to get through to my son and get him to respond much better than I could.

Rick Godfrey, MSI Lesson Client

Pat Shevlin was great. We’ll be back. Thanks!

Ian McDonald, MSI Lesson Client

Great lesson with Cory last night. My son responded to the couple flaws Cory picked up quickly. He hasn’t listened to me in 15yrs but listened to Cory in 30 min.
Thank you.

Stan Ciesielka, MSI Lesson Client

Chris, I wanted to compliment you, your staff and your location. This was my first visit to your facility and I was very impressed. I have played in dozens of venues on the east coast and our experience this weekend was one of my most enjoyable. The umpires, staff and facility were A+, and we as an organization can’t wait to come back in July! The competition was strong in the playoffs and we look forward to playing many tournaments in the future. I will be spreading the word here in CT about your facility for 12U and up! Thanks again,

Bill Granata, MSI Baseball Tournament Client