Individualized at KPI
Being “individualized” in training is the trendy term these days, but what does that mean at KPI? We do not market on “hyper-individualization” or other buzz word terms for a simple reason… it’s not reality. Every athlete has unique physical, movement, mechanical, and mental needs. The sweet spot is creating a system that addresses the needs that provide the most value and have the most positive effect on performance. That’s what we have done at KPI… created a system that can bucket athletes across the board to directly address their most pressing needs and drive the athlete in a system that prioritizes health and performance.
This traditionally has been the most challenging area to not so much individualize, but to display improvement outside of performing well on the field and staying healthy. Our large investment into Hawkin Dynamics Force Plates has now allowed us to individualize our Strength program based on the tendencies of the Central Nervous System (CNS) and certain anatomical features. We identify certain elements of the CNS and then we program the athlete according to their largest deficiency and then monitor their progress weekly. After 4-weeks we evaluate their performance on their force plate jumps and decide if they should stay in their current programming or move to one of the other buckets we have created in our system. This is a constant check, test, re-check system to ensure everyone is held accountable. If an athlete experiences an injury, needs recovery time, or other issues pop up, we are able to adjust and implement different protocols to return them to normal programming. We view trend reports in various time ranges to ensure that the athlete is progressing in the area that we have placed them in.
We have tested many different hitting systems and have settled into an awesome, proprietary system that allows us to use the pre-contact swing measurements we have deemed the most important to batted ball profiles. Every 2 weeks we gather and evaluate the swing data we get from Blast Baseball Bat Sensors and K-Vest Biomechanics, and we place them in buckets where they receive individualized drills and front-toss routines that are specifically designed to address their swing deficiencies through environmental setup and perception/action cognitive training. We then run weekly hitting reports that display progress, stagnation, or regression in their hitting focus’ and review batted ball metrics to ensure the system is working for each athlete. If an athlete progresses in their bucket to an acceptable level, we move them into another area of our system for them to work on their next “lowest hanging fruit.” This process constantly ensures every hitter is participating in deliberate practice and is constantly being placed in areas of the system that will serve their individual needs the most.
Individualization in pitching can display in many different ways across the spectrum in pitching training. At KPI, we do it with various modalities. First, every pitcher is always in a throwing phase based on the time of the year and their workload. For example, this past Summer we placed our high level pitchers in a Maintenance phase. These pitchers carried large loads for their high school teams in the Spring, and had many large events for their travel teams in the Summer. It would have been negligent for us to place too much stress on them with their throwing program, given the extreme load they carry for their respective teams. Other players did not have that kind of load, and needed to focus on something like velocity in the offseason, so we placed them into different phases so we could individualize their needs. In the training environment, we use Rapsodo pitching units and Insight cameras to individualize each pitcher’s process. We evaluate movement patterns and spin efficiency to determine areas of pitch design focus for each pitcher. We also use Pro Play Ai to provide biomechanics instruction and individualized drills for each pitcher.
In the world of marketing and sales, everyone tries to throw simple solutions at complex problems and gravitate towards trendy terms that make their product seems like it is like everyone else’s, or even more so, like the top dogs in the industry. That’s what has been done with “individualization.” A few years ago that became the cool thing to do and now everyone claims they individualize. As the consumer, ask how… what specific systems are in place and how do they validate their work to increase accountability on all sides of the equation? At KPI we are constantly challenging ourselves to improve our systems and validate our approach to individualization. We are constantly publishing our work and engaging more and more parts to the process. It’s a novel and refreshing approach in an industry full of the opposite… Are You Ready?