Woodbury & Arden Hills, Minnesota – Brian Bambenek, the Founder and Owner of Great Lakes Baseball Academy, announced the Academy has signed a five-year agreement with Eastbay to provide Nike footwear, apparel, and gear for the academy.
Eastbay has been a leader in the athletic performance and lifestyle product market for over 40 years, with a vast selection of gear from all the biggest brands.
Bambenek said “To partner alongside two of the most recognizable brands in sports – Nike and Eastbay – was a no-brainer for us. This partnership will give our athletes access to the best gear and training opportunities on the market. Our loyalty to both brands existed well before this partnership, but this five-year contract only solidifies our belief in both Eastbay and Nike moving forward. Our staff and coaches appreciate the trust both Nike and Eastbay are placing in us to represent their brands.”
Bambenek went on to talk about the future of the organization. “Our Academy is still in the infancy stages of where I see our organization in 5-7 years. From our facilities to our programming, in five years I hope the only thing our alumni recognize is our coaching staff. We’re currently working to build a sports performance team that will specialize in training premier athletes based on data analytics using state-of-the-art equipment and technology. Our vision is to become the #1 baseball center in the midwest, guided by the research where training hard meets training smart and athleticism, injury mitigation, and longevity are equal priorities.”
Eastbay representative Brad Raymond worked closely with Great Lakes Baseball Academy to organize the partnership.
Like oil and water, it was once believed that sport facilities and environmentally friendly regulations just don’t mix. With all the water, fertilizer, and energy spent on upkeep, it seemed near impossible to limit unrecycled waste. But one brand made a commitment to fight that stereotype and is already making promising strides in the fight against unrecycled waste in sports.
Early this year, adidas announced it was opening the brand’s first sustainable football field, made with Parley Ocean Plastic, at Miami Edison Senior High School in Miami, FL.
Parley Ocean Plastic is created from upcycled plastic waste, which is intercepted and collected from remote islands, beaches, coastal communities, and shorelines to prevent it from polluting our oceans. adidas wants that plastic to be reused and they announced that approximately 1.8 million recycled plastic bottles were utilized to help create the field that will serve not only Edison High, but the wider Liberty City community.
“We believe that, through sport, we have the power to change lives, and this field is a demonstration of our taking action on that belief,” said Cameron Collins, Director of Football, adidas North America. “(It’s) more than a place for these young athletes to play, it’s a reminder of our collective responsibility to end plastic waste.”
The multipurpose field will be officially unveiled with a celebratory 7-on-7 football tournament for high school athletes, who will also get the opportunity to debut the environmentally friendly adidas Adizero x Parley cleats, made with Parley Ocean Plastic.
Along with introducing new, eco-friendly products, adidas has pledged to continue to be a driving force in the fight against ending plastic waste. Here is what the brand plans to roll out over the next decade plus:
2020: more than 50 percent of all the polyester adidas uses in products will be recycled.
2021: adidas will work with key US sports partners (MLS, NHL, USA Volleyball, and the Power 5 NCAA football programs) to transition to more sustainable uniforms.
2024: adidas will use only recycled polyester in all adidas products across the business – aided by the introduction of PRIMEBLUE and PRIMEGREEN performance fabrics where 100% of the polyester used is recycled.
2030: adidas will reduce the company’s carbon footprint by 30 percent (as compared to 2017) as part of the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action.
2050: achieve climate neutrality. In Germany, the company already sources almost all its electricity from renewable sources.
“Since 1998, we’ve been developing and introducing innovations to end plastic waste,” said James Carnes, VP Brand Strategy. “Our commitment to eliminate the use of virgin polyester in our products by 2024 helps us get one step closer to being a more circular company.”
Steven Lo is the Offensive Coordinator, Quarterback Coach, and Director of Strength and Conditioning of the 2019 National Championship football team at St. John Bosco High School. Coach Lo shared with us his top tips for a player’s successful recovery after practices and game days.
NUTRITION is key leading up to any intense training. Carbohydrates provide energy; protein prevents muscle breakdown. You’ll also want to eat after your workout to replace what you lost – protein to repair muscles, carbohydrates and fruits to replace muscle glycogen (which supplies energy for your next workout or competition).
HYDRATION, both during and after competition, replaces fluids. This is vital in order to avoid dehydration and flush waste products out of your system.
MOVEMENT is medicine. After the rough part of the day is over, don’t forget to cool down. And the next day, no matter how sore you feel, you’ll want to get the blood flowing with some easy exercises to help the repair process.
ACTIVE RECOVERY is crucial when it comes to recovering from a tough training session. Start with a dynamic warm up, walking, swimming, or light running. Also include some flexibility work, like yoga.
SLEEP is the only time your body can truly rebuild and recover microtears in muscles so it’s important to get between seven and nine hours of sleep per night.
Find top of the line training gear from all your favorite brands at eastbay.com.
Yoga, a prominent exercise in the United States since the early 20th century, has continued to pick up popularity as a training workout for athletes. One reason it’s enjoyed by so many is its simplicity. All you need is a mat and an open area, so whether you’re out and about or cooped up in doors, you can reap the benefits.
Many athletes and athletic programs have ditched static stretching in favor of yoga or dynamic stretching exercises. I encourage all athletes I work with to do yoga. When done correctly, it promotes relaxation, reduces stress, and helps the everyday athlete recover from tough workouts.
It’s also a great way to break up your workouts. Many athletes tend to do the same (or very similar) workouts every day, and it can get boring, but yoga can help switch it up. So, try breaking up the week with yoga, and you’ll soon notice these differences.
Flexibility: Yoga not only stretches your muscles and loosens them up, but it also works the joints to loosen them up as well. Keeping your joints and muscles warm and loose allows for maximum flexibility. In sports, this maximum flexibility allows for better movement, range of motion, strength, and even power.
Blood Flow: In order for your body to function as best as possible, good blood flow and circulation is needed. The dynamic stretching and breathing techniques used in your yoga sessions facilitate good blood flow to the body parts you are working.
Agility/Balance: Many dynamic stretches in yoga help work on your balance, which in turn can increase your speed and agility. These poses and stretches during your routines will work on balance directly, and in the long run make you much more limber.
I highly recommend every athlete do yoga at least once a week — and if they can, do hot yoga which is yoga done in humid conditions to increase flexibility. The humidity makes you sweat more, but also loosens up your muscles to increase your flexibility in all of the poses, or stretches during the workout. This relaxing exercise can do wonders for your health and wellness and take you to a whole new level as an athlete.
Looking for a more dynamic way to excercise from home? Check out this blog post to find some simple and effective workout ideas.
What are the factors that go into creating a top-tier high school baseball program from a newly opened school in under five years? Clear Springs High School (just outside Houston) opened in 2007 and the school moved to varsity level with its junior class in 2009. Since their first playoff run in 2011, the Chargers baseball team has only missed the playoffs once.
Head coach Chris Floyd has led the Clear Springs baseball program since the school’s inception. The team started with just freshmen and sophomores, and played sub-varsity competition the first year. With the first clear springs class of four-year seniors in 2011, the team advanced to the regional quarterfinals.
“It’s interesting to start from scratch,” Floyd says. “As coaches, we took successful pieces from other programs we were with and tried to figure out how it would work with a different dynamic of kids.
“The biggest key to our success is having a coaching staff that has been together for 10 years now,” he says. “In no way is this a one-man show. I have former head coaches as assistant coaches, and that’s a huge plus.”
THE ROUND ROCK CHALLENGE
One of the developments was the unique offseason program that eventually became known as the round rock challenge. The team plays through the spring and players move to elite and select, then play July through September.
“When the players come back to school in the fall, we lift and begin rebuilding the body from the first day of school through thanksgiving,” Floyd says. After thanksgiving break, the team begins the Round Rock Challenge.
Events are determined for each day over the subsequent 3-4 weeks and include tire-flipping relays, weight room challenges, sprints and distance races, obstacle courses, and a talent show. The 36 players in the baseball program vote on four captains, and the captains “draft” the players they think will best benefit the team based on the upcoming events. Individual times become part of each team’s overall score, and teams and individuals with the best scores are recognized.
“We try to get them comfortable at being uncomfortable,” Floyd says. “When you get to the playoffs and you’re facing the best of the best, you’re going to run into a lot of uncomfortable situations. We’re teaching them how to compete and how to be a good teammate.”
“The challenge can be easier or harder for each kid, and the competition by design doesn’t focus on baseball skills,” Floyd says. “Captains have to draft kids who are strong in different areas, so they have to be able to envision what each teammate’s skill set is. It gives them a taste of what it’s like to be a coach and how to rely on teammates.”
The challenge also helps identify leaders, Floyd says. “They have to learn how to communicate with each other, how to plan, and how to help coach one another,” he says. “There are a lot of lessons outside of training to be bigger, faster, and stronger.”
WISDOM FOR YOUNG COACHES
“Coaches have to be in it for the kids,” Floyd says. “Helping kids develop into the best people they can be needs to be the focus of any coach. As a coaching staff, we focus on preparing these players for life after high school to be a good father, a good husband, a responsible citizen. I believe winning will take care of itself if this is our focus. Winning a state championship is always a goal, but what good is that goal if you aren’t developing young men? If you’re just pursuing a championship to pad your resume, the kids will see right through that. They want to know you care first.”
One change over the past 10 years is that almost every athlete has a personal coach outside of school. “We’ve tried to find people who have similar coaching philosophies as we do, and point parents and kids in the right direction if they ask for a recommendation,” Floyd says. “For us, it’s a way to connect them with someone who preaches what we preach. And we do remind them personal coaches are not free.”
Every offseason, Floyd sets up a time to take his staff to visit with a college coaching staff. They’ve visited the University of Houston Texas, Texas A&M, Sam Houston State, and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (ULL). “We pick their brains, ask them about their experiences and apply what we learn to our program,” Floyd says. “We don’t need to see them taking batting practice or fielding grounders. We’re interested in how they coach and communicate with their kids. One year, coach Tony Robichaux at ULL, who passed away in July, spent three hours talking with us on character development. That has had a huge impact on our program. If you’re a young coach out there, read the tributes from coach Robichaux’s players. They all talk about how he has impacted them as men.”