Derek Florko Discusses Movement Screening For Baseball Athletes On The AOTC Podcast

Tue Oct 23, 2018 by OnBaseU

Derek Florko (@SaberCoach on Twitter) joined the Ahead of the Curve podcast to discuss his approach to coaching hitting.  Derek manages the Axe Bat program and is an assistant coach for the Abbotsford Cardinals. 

Among a variety of topics, Derek and AOTC host Jonathan Gelnar discussed the importance of assessing movement in hitters of all ages and abilities.  Derek attended TPI's Level 1 seminar earlier this year (he's signed up for OnBaseU Level 1 next month) and we thought it would be helpful to share how he's incorporated screening into his coaching program.  You can listen to the podcast below or download on iTunes here.


Here are a few highlights:

"In the offseason, we're trying to build up our athletes as much as possible.  I try to focus on tools and creating the biggest engine for the athletes." (6:34)

Derek shares how he starts the off-season with a physical screen (TPI) and the power test developed by Dr. Greg Rose.  The power test is comprised of a vertical jump, seated med ball chest pas and a sit up med ball throw.  It's used to help identify an athlete's most capable sources of power (lower body, core, or upper body).  Additionally, Dr. Rose and TPI use it to evaluate potential clubhead speed in golfers.  As Derek shared on the podcast, Dr. Rose famously predicted that a virtual-unknown Carl Wolter would win the World Long Drive Championship based on his marks in the TPI power test.  He did (2:11 mark of the video below, but the whole piece is really good).  



So many times in my career I would try and get kids to do a certain movements and I’d get frustrated because they couldn’t figure it out. Now I’ve come to the realization that everyone moves differently.

- Derek Florko

“I have set up a spreadsheet. So say athlete one fails the exercise, we can click on that and bring up another spreadsheet of a list of exercises that the athlete needs to do in order fix that limitation that they have.” (7:15)


Quoting the TPI and OnBaseU philosophy) “We do not believe in one way to swing a club, but rather an infinite number of swing styles. We believe the most efficient way for each player to swing is based on what the player can physically do.” (10:21)


“Medicine ball training and weighted bat routines are a really good bridge between the weight room and building up rotational strength.” (11:07)


“Rotational strength and velocity is one of the most important things there is in throwing and hitting.  That is a major focus, no matter what age the player is.” (11:20)


“The second a ball and a bat are involved they are just going to go right back to their natural movement.” (15:48)

- Advocates for using a broomstick/PVC pipe for hitting


“An external goal with a group of kids is a much more effective way to do it. They can move more natural without getting confused.” (16:50)


“One of my favorites things is hitting BP and telling them to hit oppo home runs. If your swing isn’t able to at least drive a ball to the oppo gap, you are probably not moving properly.” (17:50)

“My goal when I coach kids is I try not to tell them what to do, I try to more share information. I really like having dialogue with players and sharing ideas. Where you get to the point where if I’m gone, they’re still able to learn on their own.” (19:12)


“When working on specific movements, I think it is really important to really focus in on that one specific thing and don’t worry about anything else.” (27:20)


“If a kid can’t disassociate his hips and his shoulders, that will show up in the KVEST.”


"If you aren’t strong and you dont have the intent to throw/swing hard, not alot else matters because those are the two big foundations."


“Make your own plan, take in information and measure your results. If your results are positive then that’s all that matters.” (39:05)