Behind the Comeback

  • By Dynamic Sports Training
  • 02 Dec, 2015

Barry Zito

In my career at DST, I’ve had the opportunity to work with a number of great ball players. Some of you might remember the blog I wrote about our work with Scott Kazmir. Last offseason, I was blessed to have the opportunity to work with Barry Zito. Barry discovered DST through Ron Wolforth and the Texas Baseball Ranch.
Barry walked into our office wearing exactly what you’d expect a Cali-born left-handed pitcher to be dressed in. On his head was a snapback hat, which had seen better days. The hat read ‘PatCast’ across the front (referencing Train’s front man, Pat Monahan’s podcast). He wore a blue t-shirt with the phrase ‘Pugs Not Drugs’ and below it was a picture of a pug. I was surprised to see that he was in remarkably good shape. I asked him if he’d like to sit down and talk. I had envisioned a meet and greet situation. He looked at me confused, almost annoyed, and said, “Actually, I’m ready to get started now if that’s cool.” So, we started.
Barry Zito’s story is well known. He was one of the best pitchers in baseball while a member of the Oakland Athletics (Cy Young Award, 2002). Things seemed to turn south after he signed with the San Francisco Giants in 2007. He had a brief resurgence in 2012, winning 15 games and leading the team to a World Series Championship. That winning streak was short lived and was followed by the end of his tenure with the Giants. This ultimately led to Barry taking off the entire 2014 season. Fast-forward to this year. Barry played the entire season with the Nashville Sound, the Triple-A team for the Oakland Athletics. Today he was called up to pitch the remainder of the 2015 season in Oakland, where it all started for him.
Barry began training at DST’s north location, operating out of Premier Baseball of Texas in Tomball, Texas. It is smack dab in the middle of nowhere. The facility is surround by farm fields and livestock, and the next-door neighbors are horse doctors. Our first conversation was a philosophy exchange on the mechanics of pitching. Barry is a guy that is deeply passionate about the art of throwing a baseball. I showed enough knowledge and understanding to be a sounding board for the new ideas Barry would come up with. The majority of what I know about pitching comes from the minds of Cleveland Indians Pitcher, Trevor Bauer and pitching coach, Ron Wolforth of the Texas Baseball Ranch. I wish I could say that there was some secret exercise that helped Barry get back on top. His success can only be credited to his own hard work and dedication.
Barry is a different breed. While he is everything you’d expect from a Cali-born lefty, he is extremely focused and intelligent. He won’t do something unless there is a reason for doing it. He wanted to know that each exercise we were doing was a building block for his ultimate goal, a return to baseball. He didn’t waste a single minute. While walking from exercise to exercise, Barry would work on the pitching mechanics that he was learning at The Ranch. This is a guy who is flat out hungry for success.
I was never concerned that Barry wouldn’t reach his goal. He was too determined to fail. He didn’t have a chip on his shoulder or something to prove. It was a very calm determination. Barry was enjoying the process and wanted to play again for the love of baseball. He had the confidence, was taking the right steps and putting in the right work in order for his goal to be realized.
Barry could not be further from the words high maintenance. One day he came in and asked if he was allowed to throw in one of the back cages; as if there would be a problem with a Cy Young winner using a cage. I noticed that Barry didn’t have anything with him. I said, “Yeah, go for it. Do you need a bucket of balls? I got a bunch of big-league ones here by my desk.” Barry replied, “No thanks, man. There’s a ball back there.” Then he quickly walked off. I was confused; one ball wouldn’t be nearly enough. I walked to the back cages about ten minutes later. The one ball that Barry was content using was one of those terrible dimpled balls that you see at the local batting cages. To Barry, it was a tool for him to get better with. This happened throughout the course of the offseason, by the way. Another time, Barry forgot his glove and stopped on the way to buy one. He picked a good one.
Barry Zito is an all-around great guy. For a pitcher who had a lot of successful years in the MLB, you would think that he would act somewhat “big league”. The fact is that Barry never big-leagued anyone. He has always been friendly. From time-to-time would help out our minor league guys with something they were working on. Barry and I also talked a lot about our faith, as we are both Christians. After his last bullpen in front of scouts, Barry was upset that a couple specific teams hadn’t shown up. As we were both leaving, he turned to me and said, “You know what? I just have to trust the fact that God has a plan.” Later that night Billy Beane, GM of the Oakland A’s, called Barry Zito.

Dynamic Sports Training Blog

By Dynamic Sports Training 20 Sep, 2017
Being able to achieve an effective hip hinge is a foundational movement pattern any athlete must be able to demonstrate. The hip hinge is the best way to train the posterior chain, which we all know is vitally important to athletic development. The posterior chain or backside of the body (hamstrings and glutes) are the primary muscles involved in sprinting. Look at any high level sprinter and I'd bet they have a very well-developed posterior chain. The kettlebell swing is a great exercise to progress your hip hinge after you master a basic RDL at slower speeds.

The swing is more of an explosive movement with lighter weight. You might think that heavier is always better, so why use the swing? Heavy lifting is very important, but at a certain point we must teach the body to produce that force much faster as there is no time to waste on the field or court. The swing is a great option to achieve this increased rate of force production.

1. Hinge through your hips while maintaining a neutral spine posture (flat back).

2. Lock in your lats which will increase thoraco-lumbar stiffness and help protect your back.

3. Hike the weight through your legs like a long snapper in football.

4. Snap hips forward into full extension making sure to stand tall and squeeze your glutes fully at the top of the movement.

5. Let the weight fall back down between your legs and repeat in a smooth rhythmical fashion for 10-15 repetitions.
By Dynamic Sports Training 15 Sep, 2017
Dynamic Sports Training is growing as a company, making a few staff changes in the 2017 calendar year. Two of those changes have included hiring on Business Operations Associate Ryan Henry and Digital Content Manager Rachel Owens to the DST Business Department. Both hires have been a valued addition to Team DST.

Rachel Owens  is a former DST athlete (2010-2017). She graduated with a degree in strategic communication from Stephen F. Austin State University in 2015, where she played division 1 soccer and won four Southland Conference Championship rings. After graduation and before joining the DST team in January of 2017, she played a season of professional soccer for IA Akranes FC in Iceland. She now plays for a Houston team in the UWS, a competitive semi-professional women's soccer league in the U.S. and Canada.

Rachel manages DST's digital content, which includes our blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and our YouTube channel. She also helps with day-to-day business operations at our DST West facility out of Houston Christian High School.

Ryan Henry  received a bachelor of arts degree in multidisciplinary studies with focuses in business, communications, and math, graduating in December of 2016 from the University of Texas in San Antonio. He was president of the club baseball team for three years where he managed, coached, and played. He was named pitcher of the month in May of 2012 where he led his conference in strikeouts and ERA. He joined the DST team in 2017.

Ryan is our "video guy", working closely with Rachel to create video content for our digital channels. He also helps with day-to-day business operations at our DST North facility out of Premier Baseball of Texas in Tomball.

Dynamic Sports Training welcomes these new additions to the team! #DSTstrong 
By Dynamic Sports Training 12 Sep, 2017

The kettlebell windmill is a great exercise that improves many traits at once. We all know that mobility, stability, and strength are vital to optimizing sport performance. Any time we can accomplish all these physical attributes at once is ideal to maximize training time.

Thoracic spine rotation is something that many athletes lack and is necessary for optimal sports performance.  As a throwing athlete, thoracic spine mobility is imperative to attaining separation and fluidity in the throwing motion. Elbow and shoulder health is also very much dependent on the thoracic spine doing the job it is intended to do.

Shoulder stability is also very important as the shoulder joint is the most unstable joint in the body.  Good control and alignment of the joint can help to prevent many common injuries that athletes face in sports like baseball. Throwing a baseball is the fastest motion in sports, and therefore extremely stressful. Proper stability will ensure that the shoulder can withstand the repetitive stresses and avoid the common overuse injuries.

The windmill also helps to improve lateral core stability where the oblique’s resist against unwanted movement of the spine. When sprinting, many athletes lack the necessary core stability to maintain posture. This is evident when the athlete exhibits a lateral hip hike or an unnecessary side bend of the torso. Stability through the core will ensure that all force is being put into the ground as it should and not lost, thus achieving maximum velocity.

By Dynamic Sports Training 12 Sep, 2017
Mindset Principle: Relentless
By Josh Graber

“A river cuts through rock not because of its power, but because of its persistence.” —James N. Watkins

Have you ever known one of those people who just refuses to give up? Has to play "just one more game" until they win? Sometimes you love them, sometimes you hate them, but you will always respect their tenacity and never-say-die attitude. That mindset of relentlessness is exactly what we'll be focusing on this month.

Last month , we discussed resilience and the importance of bouncing back after getting knocked down. Relentlessness and resilience are definitely closely related, but there's also a distinct difference between the two: the resilient person withstands all sorts of setbacks and doesn't falter while the relentless person fights through all obstacles no matter what they may be.

Still sound the same? Think of it in terms of the proverbial meeting between an immovable object and the unstoppable force. The immovable object is the resilient athlete and the unstoppable force is the relentless athlete.

Let's go back to that person you know who refuses to quit. What's always the end result? They win. They accomplish their goals. Always. Why? Because the narrative is never over until they're on top. It doesn't matter if they lose 19 games before finally winning one. At the end of the day, they won.

Have a goal? Be relentless. Don't stop until you reach it. Babe Ruth had it right when he said, "You just can't beat the person who never gives up." Be that person.

Nutrition Principle: Nutrient Timing
By Chelsea Bellinger

Nutrient timing is all about the dispersion and distribution of calories and macronutrients throughout the day. This is a complicated concept because, like most things regarding diet and exercise, there is no "one-size-fits-all" guideline on how someone should consume their nutrients throughout the day. The type of athlete, intensity of the training program (or performance days) and time of day the athlete is expending the most energy are just a few factors that go into evaluating an individual's nutrient timing. Nutrient timing is important to ensuring the athlete's body is fueled properly during training sessions, competition time and also during recovery time.

Physical Principle: Tempo

By Sammy Knox

When discussing tempo in training, we are referring to the speed at which we execute the exercise. Training with different tempos is important because it will provide the athlete with a different stress, therefore causing a specific adaptation to that stress. There are three different tempos we utilize in our training because there are three different types of muscular contractions.

  1. Eccentric – a muscle that is lengthening while contracting
  2. Isometric – a muscle that does not change in length while contracting

  3. Concentric - a muscle that is shortening in length while contracting

Let's use a squat exercise as our example:

- The better you are at eccentric strength (a slow descent in the squat), the better you will be at absorbing force. This is important for both preventing injury and increasing performance. When sprinting, we want to spend very little time on the ground while still being able to apply enough force to be fast. The stronger the athlete is eccentrically, the better they will be able to achieve this.

- Isometric strength (holding the bottom of the squat) is beneficial to being a well-rounded athlete, as you are required to hold static postures under high forces and velocities while sprinting. Our core muscles must be strong isometrically during sprinting and other athletic feats to transfer force in the most efficient and effective way.

- Concentric strength (standing up from the bottom of a squat) is all about force production and can also be referred to as  “starting strength.” This is very important in the acceleration phase of sprinting, which is the first 10-20 yards. This is the case since we are not able to utilize the stretch reflex as effectively to propel us in the direction we want to go; therefore, we must use more concentric strength to get us going.

As you can see, all three tempos are important and useful for athletes to develop maximum strength.

By Dynamic Sports Training 07 Sep, 2017
These past two weeks have been a whirlwind of activity, emotion, stress, dejection and hope. When the Houston area was hit by Hurricane Harvey a little over a week ago, it left many without power, transportation, and ruined homes along with everything in them. The images of the devastation have been heartbreaking to see. However, the response by neighbors, strangers, communities, and churches has been a bright light in the darkness.

At DST, we were mostly unaffected by the Hurricane. A couple of lost possessions and an evacuation were the extent of the toll on our DST family. Our good fortune gave us the opportunity to help those who were not so fortunate. This was the main reason we were closed all of last week - we were out in our communities helping those affected. At the end of the day, there are much greater things in life than sports and training. We should always strive to keep this perspective. The hurricane is over, but the storm is hardly gone as many are still in desperate need. While we have returned to work, our work in this city is far from over.

As Christians, we know that we are called to first love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and secondly to love others as we love ourselves . Jesus made it very clear that the second of those commandments is like the first, in that loving others is akin to loving God (Matthew 22). In 1 John 3:18, John tells the church that we should not love with mere words, but with action . That is what I, and DST, plan to do. If we, as believers, expect Jesus to work in this darkness, then we must be ready to do his work, as we are members of the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12).  If God is to go to work, one of us will be holding a hammer. Let’s let God use us in this.

In his letter to the Romans, Paul clearly states that our true act of worship to God is to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God. It’s time to offer ourselves, sacrificing personal comfort and gain for the good of others. Why should we do this? Not simply because we should, but in response to God’s mercy on us. The actions from DST will be not be of self-service, but a response to God, intended to do nothing more than to show love for others and love for God.

We are excited to have resumed normal training and to continue serving the needs of others as the DST family. Please let us know if you or someone you know is in need as a result of this storm. We are also looking for any way to contribute as a company, so if you would like to work with us, please email me at .

As I’ve stated several times, there is still currently a ton of need out there. With many organizations doing great work, there is a lot of opportunity to give. One close to me is my home church at Bayou City Fellowship. I’ve been witnessing first hand the great work of the church through this entire process. I know 100% of the donations are going straight to victims in need, and not one cent is going toward funding the church. If you would like to give to a group that is daily helping those in need, I would encourage you to go to and give to the Harvey relief fund.

We will be announcing several ways that we, and the rest of the DST family, can provide support and aid to those affected by Harvey, so be on the lookout for a series of announcements on ways you can get involved.

Kevin Poppe

By Dynamic Sports Training 06 Sep, 2017
The Pallof series is a series of anti-rotational core exercises. This can be used on any normal core day or as a reinforcement for thoracic mobility.

We are primarily targeting the obliques, but we are also looking at an anterior core exercise. The obliques attach to the aponeurosis of rectus sheath. This means, the rectus abdominis (abs) must act as an anchor for the obilques. This effect makes the exercise multi-planar and extremely effective for core function, overall.

Pallof presses and holds are a great way to add rotational strength without adding reps on the spine. Lets be clear, in order to gain rotational power, you need to rotate powerfully. Having said that, it is all about appropriate volumes and periodization. It is not enough to only do flexion/extension based core work. Try adding this series to your workouts.
By Dynamic Sports Training 06 Sep, 2017
Mindset Principle: Resilience
´╗┐By: Rachel Owens

Sometimes you just can't catch a break.

Your car breaks down. Do you not go to work or school because you can't drive your car? You find a way to get it fixed, and in the meantime you find other ways to get where you need to go. You burn dinner in the oven. Do you not eat that night because you can't eat the burnt food? You make something else, or order takeout. You find yourself on the bench during games. Do you quit because you aren't getting playing time? You spend more hours in the weight room and on the field on your own to get better to prove you deserve that playing time.

Resilience: the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness. To be resilient means to not let hardship slow you down or hinder your journey. Whether it's in life or in sports, the resilient are the ones who don't take 'no' for an answer.

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts."
- Winston Churchill

Nutrition Principle: Energy

Eating the right combination of foods can help maximize your energy throughout your day and during training. One key is eating often and eating light. Eating smaller meals every 3-4 hours can help fuel your metabolism while maintaining muscle mass and help to avoid overeating. Keeping the meals balanced with a complex carb, lean protein and vitamin-rich vegetables and fruits can encourage sustained energy through caloric intake.

Energy is an essential part of athletic performance for practice, training, and in-game performance.

Physical Principle: Movement

Of all our physical principles, movement is the most important building block we have. While the concept is simple, the implementation is, unfortunately, often overlooked in many athletic development programs.

We approach movement as a core foundation of everything we do. Before an athlete can excel on the field/court, they must first be able to move efficiently. Because of this, we take all our athletes through an in-depth bio-mechanical assessment in which we look at an athlete's:

  • Flexibility
  • Joint Mobility/Stability
  • Body's Balance
  • Functional Movement
  • Motor Control
From there, we're able to create a personalized workout program that re-educates our athletes' bodies and movement patterns. Only after an athlete is able to move properly and effectively are they able to see improvements in the weight room that will translate to their in-game performance. Sometimes this means taking a perceived "step backward", but it's actually a step in the right direction.

"We all want progress, but if you're on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive."

- C.S. Lewis

By Dynamic Sports Training 15 Aug, 2017
Dynamic Sports Training Director of NFL Combine, Kyle Kleeman, takes some of our NFL athletes through various drills working on cutting from all parts of the foot. This is the third and last video in a series of agility drills working on cutting from different parts of the foot.

In this exercise of the week video, we will be going over reaction drills. The athletes don't know which direction they will be cutting before starting each rep, so they will have to react to whichever direction Kyle points. They also won't know if they'll be taking two steps, three steps, or four steps before the cut. We make sure they attack vertically and then react to Kyle's hand, still focusing on being explosive each change of direction. 

Speed and agility drills should focus on explosive movements and cutting from all parts of the foot because, in competitions, athletes are going to cut from all parts of the foot. This is training one part of the foot - the outside edge. We want to train and improve movements that are sport-specific and will improve in-game performance.
By Dynamic Sports Training 08 Aug, 2017
Dynamic Sports Training Director of NFL Combine, Kyle Kleeman, takes some of our NFL athletes through various drills working on the outside edge cut. This is the first video in a series of agility drills working on cutting from different parts of the foot.

In this exercise of the week video, we will be going over the outside edge cut. To start this drill you will only need three cones. We will first work on the three-step cross over with our back leg staying nice and tight to our body as it comes up and over to change direction. After that, we will work in a heiden at the beginning of the drill to work on deceleration and acceleration coming back through that cut. Here we are really focusing on sticking the landing each time and driving out into the outside edge cut drill.

We do this drill to help in our outside edge cuts. More than likely we are cutting and opening up in one direction. The benefits of this drill are to help feel the outside edge of the feet, it teaches athletes how to bring the knee drive up and over, and it helps athletes with motor control/skills.

Speed and agility drills should focus on explosive movements and cutting from all parts of the foot because, in competitions, athletes are going to cut from all parts of the foot. This is training one part of the foot - the outside edge. We want to train and improve movements that are sport-specific and will improve in-game performance.
By Dynamic Sports Training 01 Aug, 2017
Dynamic Sports Training Director of NFL Combine, Kyle Kleeman, takes some of our NFL athletes through various drills working on the inside edge cut. This is the first video in a series of agility drills working on cutting from different parts of the foot.

In this exercise of the week video, we will be going over the inside edge cut on the ladder. To start this drill you will need two ladders set up side by side. If you’re starting on the left side of the ladder your right foot will start in the box. Next, we will cross over with our left leg keeping a high and tight knee to our body into the next ladder. After that, we will step outside the ladder with our right foot. Here we are really focusing on inside edge of the foot.

We do this drill to help in our inside edge cuts. More than likely we are cutting and opening up in one direction. While going through the ladder, we are also focused on body lean - always towards the center of the two ladders. The benefits of this drill are to help feel the inside edge of the feet, it teaches athletes how to bring the knee drive up and over, and it helps athletes with motor control/skills.

Speed and agility drills should focus on explosive movements and cutting from all parts of the foot because, in competitions, athletes are going to cut from all parts of the foot. This is training one part of the foot - the inside edge. We want to train and improve movements that are sport-specific and will improve in-game performance.
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