Live Oak Baseball: A Model of Collaboration
Since the Spring 2020 season, the Live Oak High School Baseball team has a record of 42-12 with 2 League Championships in 2021 and 2022 (2020 was the Covid suspended season). During that 3 season span, the program has had 5 Division 1 commits and will have sent 14 players to the collegiate level. What’s the reason for that unprecedented success in this area?? A collaborative approach and a progressive, ego-free mindset that has setup the athletes in the program for the ultimate level of success.
The Model – Do What’s Best for the Players
In the modern landscape of youth athletics there are many “players” involved in the young baseball player’s ecosystem… the high school coach, the travel coach, the trainer, the lesson giver, the parents, the friends, the family… and potentially more, including medical professionals. This can lead to a segmented process for high school baseball players and the normal model is that player often feels conflicted and pulled in multiple directions. This is usually the result of the “players” in the equation putting their ego and beliefs in front of the athletes, which inevitably leads to conflict and scattered results.
Since the opening of KPI in 2020, Live Oak Baseball has taken the opposite approach. The leadership in the program decided to work cohesively with KPI to provide the best and ultimate experience for the athletes in the program. The players know that they have support from every side and there is strong cohesion with their health and development. This has led to the Live Oak Baseball program finding some new heights, producing a massive amount of wins, but more importantly, sending players to the collegiate level at a historic pace.
Avoiding the Trap – Creating Solutions, Not Problems
In the standard setup, where there are many entities and egos pulling at the modern player, everyone feels that their opinion and approach is the most important in a young athlete’s development. The problem with having everyone think they are right is that no one is wrong, which means that an athlete has to decide between external forces, or worse, try to make all of them happy. This is not a model of success in the professional world, yet it is the norm in the youth sports world. The problems never go away since no one will check their ego to find solutions.
Live Oak Baseball has done the opposite. The program has decided to work collaboratively with us to provide the best experience and developmental setup for the athlete in the program. There is constant communication and collaboration on all areas of health and player development. Each entity respects the time of the year (Spring is time for high school baseball, Summer is time for travel baseball, Winter is time for training, etc) and there is an understanding of approach during each one of those segments of the calendar. This creates an environment that is open and ego-free, which leads to constant solutions being found, not problems being created.
Moving Out of the Way – Letting Systems and Collaboration Drive Athletes Towards Their Goals
We work hand in hand with Live Oak Baseball on all areas of player development. Most of their players train with us full-time, but we are always a resource for the players that do not train with us. We consult with the program on everything from pitcher workloads, recovery protocols, conditioning, and wellness levels of the players. This ego-less approach allows everyone involved to feel like they are part of a cohesive system that is based in the players’ wants and needs. This is the magic in creating an integrated approach.
At KPI we can provide every high school with the tools to assist them in their normal developmental structure. We can do everything from provide arm care protocols, to working with coaches on pitcher health and wellness, to assisting with in-season strength and conditioning. We have systems in place for every situation and level and it is our goal to work with as many programs as possible in the Bay Area to prioritize development and health. Our systems, assessment process, and approach can be implemented anywhere. We have major Power 5, Division I universities implementing our training protocols and we want to work with local high schools to help the players in their programs. We understand a new approach can alter the dynamic of a program, but sometimes change can lead to the enhancement of what might be an already good product.
The Stakes Are High – Allowing High School Players To Achieve their Dreams
There is no arguing that the more entities on the same page with a player’s development, the higher chance that player has of achieving their dreams. The vast majority of players do not enjoy a cohesive approach and the bulk of those fall a victim of the numbers and never make it to the upper levels of the game. With an approach like Live Oak Baseball’s, we can collaborate and work together to provide the best experience and developmental setup for the athlete. When egos are checked and the athlete is pushed to the front as the center of attention and the star, amazing things can happen and high schools can transform their programs. This progressive approach has helped many local high schools flourish and send their players to the next level… and that should be all of ours ultimate goal.