It was Apr. 8 when Ontario went into its third province wide shutdown in the past year. And with most baseball organizations in Ontario not being able to field a team practice, Canada’s baseball players will have to find new ways to stay physically active from home.
Matt Mills the owner and GM of the Ontario Royals Organization in Oakville, Ont., admits COVID-19 has been a bigger obstacle than expected.
“COVID-19 has affected us a great deal between March, 15th 2020 and January 1st 2021. We were completely shut down from in-person baseball activities until the end of July.” Mills said via email. “At that point we could have modified outdoor practices, which eventually progressed into gameplay in the fall. Unfortunately due to Halton entering the red zone coincided with heading back indoors in November – however we stayed operating just in small groups.”
With the deadly virus growing at a rapid rate, baseball organizations like the Ontario Royals have had to act quickly to keep their players in peak conditions. “After our experience last year with COVID-19, we partnered with a specialized remote training program that has helped us create completely individualized daily movement and throwing programs for each player,” Mills said. “We/they have also created a complete at-home strength and conditioning program so our players can continue developing strength-wise. in terms of baseball content we are running remote training sessions 5 nights a week in both positional and team formats.”
That specialized remote training service Coach Mills was talking about, well it’s called Tread Athletics. The service was originally created as a blog by its co-founder Ben Brewster back in 2013. Now, after eight years and over 25 trainees drafted into the MLB the results speak for themselves. This works by combining training methods that helped the founder raise his pitching velocity from the low 80’s to high 90’s as well as a balanced diet plan and work out routine specialized to each player.
Even though Tread has been a big tool in player development for the Ontario Royals organization, Royals coaches can still get into their facility and have one-on-one training.
But with a strict limit on how many people can be in the facility at once has made it harder for players and coaches to see each other on a more regular basis compared to previous years without a global pandemic threatening to shut down all in-person training.