MLB Player Development & Sports Science

MLB Player Development & Sports Science


Welcome to the last in my series of MLB sports science and elite performance.

You can catch the previous two if you missed them here:

Building The Right Sports Science Program

Learning from other sports – Reverse Engineering Sports Science ‎


As we all know investment in players has reached an all-time high and planning a careful pathway for their long-term career is essential for the teams sustained success.

Sports science gives a great opportunity to teams to observe the player as a whole and help identify where the players are limited and how to help them sustain their career.

Limiting Factors & Compensating

As we know great players are able to compensate for some limitations in one area by maximizing the positive impact of outstanding capacity in another. Sometimes this is quite pronounced and obvious: even a casual fan may notice when a player makes up for being limited technically, tactically, and psychologically by using their physical gifts to the fullest.

The most recent example the world witnessed was of course Tiger Woods overcoming obvious incredible physical limitations. In other cases, an athlete’s competence might be fairly even across the four (Tactical, Technically Physical and Psychological)coactives, and the need to compensate is much less noticeable.

Tactical, Technically Physical and Psychological (TTPP) Factors

Great players are able to adapt such compensations over time as their careers evolve, and it’s fair to say that if an athlete is to continue their career, they must be able to constantly develop all elements of their game – tactically (game sense, perception, positioning), technically (skill, awareness), physically (speed, power, stamina) and psychologically (concentration, awareness, resilience). Flipping this upside down, they also need to stay in the game to advance these elements.

For example, a pitcher needs a minimum level of physical ability and health to be able to stay in the game long enough to develop resilience psychologically, and then to be able to spend enough time improving physically to then improve technically and tactically. The pattern recognition, decision-making speed, and emotional fortitude needed to dominate a World Series takes time to develop.