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Unleashing the Power of Newtforce Mound Insights: Lessons from Randy Sullivan's Success Story

Updated: Dec 29, 2023


For a quarter of a century, Randy Sullivan has been a driving force in the world of baseball, dedicating his life to developing athletes and baseball players. Randy is a true industry leader, and one with extensive experience applying insights from our Newtforce mound. His commitment to helping MLB, high school, and youth pitchers increase velocity, eliminate arm pain, and reduce injury risk is making a lasting impact in our game.


What sets Randy and his team at Florida Baseball Armory apart is that beyond the pursuit of velocity, command, and performance on the field, they care about the human being first.

Randy Sullivan, Florida Baseball Armory
Randy Sullivan

Anyone who has had the privilege of interacting with Randy can attest to his infectious energy and passion. His enthusiasm for the game of baseball and his dedication to helping others is genuine. Randy's positive energy has a ripple effect, inspiring those around him to shoot for greatness and reach new heights.


FBR is backing that passion up with results. Randy said they have helped over 450+ FBA Students develop >90 mph fastballs. Over the last 3 summers, Armory Guys gained an average of 5.4 mph and improved command by 10.4%. In the last five MLB drafts, FBA students signed collectively for more than $24 million in signing bonuses. Additionally, their students have signed over $10 million in college baseball scholarships.


Newtforce Insights and Transformative Results:

Randy and his team have been actioning insights from our Newtforce mound to impact pitchers and help them reach their potential longer than anyone. He took some time out of his busy schedule to answer a few of my questions to provide some insights into how he actions the information.


Q: Could you share a few specific instances where Newtforce insights guided you in making adjustments that led to enhanced control or increased velocity for your clients?


A: Absolutely. In our 2019 study, we embarked on a data-driven journey to uncover the secrets behind enhancing control and increasing velocity for our clients. We collected data and Stalker radar readings on over 500 pitches and named 22 data points on the graph. Running an XG Boost machine learning algorithm, we ranked the variables based on their influence on velocity
Surprisingly, after accounting for mass (up to about 180 lbs), the most influential variable in velocity was impulse (Rear leg Y force x time). The next most influential variable was player velocity. This led us to delve into the intricacies of anatomy, which ultimately led us to a critical insight: the importance of an isometric co-contracted hinge that kept the pelvis tilted in the frontal plane. This hinge allowed our pitchers to maintain rearward force while moving quickly down the mound.
To put these insights into action, we adopted a constraints-led approach to learning. We developed drills and exercises that specifically targeted improving our students' capacity to elicit and hold the isometric hinge during the load and ride phase of their delivery. Additionally, we identified the urgency with which the lead leg negative Y force returned to the zero line after weight-bearing foot plant as the 3rd most influential variable. We created drills and exercises to optimize the use of the lead leg iliotibial band to stop forward momentum in a proximal to distal order.
The results of these adjustments have been nothing short of transformational for our students.

Q2: What was prescribed to make those adjustments?

A: To implement these adjustments effectively, we designed individualized drills and exercises tailored to each pitcher's unique needs. The primary focus was on improving the isometric hinge, ensuring pretension in the lead leg to activate it with zero delay upon landing, and utilizing aqua ball/bag exercises to teach lead leg bracing.

Q3: What did the process look like for the pitcher?

A: The process for each pitcher was customized based on their specific needs and areas for improvement. It involved a combination of drills and exercises, which are detailed in the "Use Case" below. 

Q4: What were the results of these adjustments?

A: The results have been remarkable. Impulse improved in terms of both amplitude and shape. Lead legs braced in the proper sequence, and we witnessed significant improvements in velocity and ball flight metrics. These adjustments have had a profound impact on our clients' performance, and they continue to yield outstanding results.

Q5: What has been a surprising finding or observation?

A: Another fascinating finding from our research was that stride length ranked dead last in importance. However, we made a crucial observation: when pitchers reached ball release before peak lead leg Z force was reached, our TrackMan data indicated that the ball tended to run horizontally. Conversely, if they released the ball after peak lead leg Z, they were able to cut the ball.

 
Florida Baseball Armory

Florida Baseball Armory Use Case

Randy shared the steps and results with one athlete looking to improve Impulse number and improved Back Leg Z, Lead Leg Z, and the overall shape of his Impulse. 


Pitch 1


Medball Drill for Pitchers
Newtforce Mound, Florida Baseball Armory


Newtforce Graph

Drill 1

Medball Drill for Pitchers
Medball Drill for Pitchers


Drill 2

Medball Drill for Pitchers
Newtforce Mound, Florida Baseball Armory

Pitch 2

Newtforce Mound, Florida Baseball Armory
Newtforce Mound, Florida Baseball Armory

Newtforce Graph

Conclusion

After a few reps of 2 differing waterball drills (Modified GM Progression & Jump Arm Side), this athlete created a higher Impulse number and improved Back Leg Z, Lead Leg Z, and the overall shape of his Impulse. Results show the impact of the insights used to individualize and plan combined with the immediate feedback.


 

Additional articles by Randy:

In addition to the books Randy has written, I highly recommend checking out a couple of articles specifically on insights from our mound.


 

Randy continues to push the envelope and develop personally, which is a testament to his commitment to be the best for his athletes and staff. Whether as a coach, mentor, or innovator, he continues to leave his mark in the baseball community. We’re grateful to have Randy and his team at the Armory on Team Newtforce and can’t wait to see what the future holds.


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