Each week Ubersense showcases a coach or athlete of the Ubersense community who we think our users and everyone else would like to meet. This week, we’re talking with Bent Pourciau, pitching coach of USA Certified Weightlifting performance coach. Brent is the owner and operator of TopVelocity.net and helps baseball pitchers around the country increase their velocity.
It seems like that rotator cuff tear at 18 was a pivotal moment in your life -- could you tell us a bit about that time? How did you overcome that injury?
It was the most pivotal time in my life. I went from a rising star in the game of baseball to a damaged pitcher who doctors told he would never play again in my first college appearance. I never was the same again. I was 18 at the time so you could imagine this kind of adversity at that young of an age. I went into a depression and if it wasn’t for a great support team in my family and friends I would have struggled a lot longer and probably would have given up.
They helped me realize in that moment of my career I could either do two things; quit like the doctors where telling me too or bite the bullet and go full tilt at figuring out what caused this injury and challenge myself to overcome it. I had discovered an old saying when I was making this decision on my future and that saying was, “Where there is a Will There is a Way.” I knew I had the will and if that was enough to show me the way then I knew my decision, I took the challenge.
From that point on I have worked to master the art of pitching at the elite level. It first started with redeveloping my body to a peak performance level and then gaining an elite level of pitching mechanics which forced me to carve my own road due to the lack of knowledge in this game. Not only did I get my arm back and was able to play some college baseball again but I continued after college to improve my performance and got my fastball to 94mph. I could sit 91-92mph which got me drafted into professional independent baseball at 26 years old. I was now living the dream and getting to play against my ideals like Jose Canseco. It wasn’t the Bigs but it was a professional level which made me feel like I had not only overcome this career ending injury but got to live a bit of my baseball dreams.
What made the fastball become your area of expertise?
I focus on the fastball because I learned quickly in my career that the fastball is what always takes you to the next level. There is a ton more to pitching than pitching velocity but it is always the key to the next level.
I would have been a better pitcher in pro ball if I would have developed more than a fastball but I only had enough time to develop the 90+ fastball post surgery. If I would have discovered this level of information a lot earlier in my career then I would have had the time to do more than just develop my fastball. I would have developed another few pitches and a better approach at the plate. This would have probably taken me farther but without my relentless work on developing my 90+ fastball I would have never made it out of college baseball post surgery.
How have you managed to turn an online coaching tutorial into such a successful program that produces real results?
I was 28 years old and was traded to Yuma, AZ which is not the easiest place to live. It is like 120 degrees at night there. I was also getting married and I couldn’t get the horrible imagine of dragging my brand new wife through the grind of minor league baseball. I also knew it was going to take a ton more work to get myself into the Bigs one day if it was ever going to happen. At this moment I realized I had done something that most people had never done and develop a program along the way. I had overcome major rotator surgery to not only pitch again but at almost 10mph harder.
My grandfather was a famous football coach and I always looked up to him and felt I had a lot in common with him. I always had this feeling that I would be a good coach one day as well, so I decided that this was probably the best time to make this transition. I had a good feeling that the information that I had gained and the unconventional approach that I had developed to overcome this career ending injury needed to get out to the public, so it could help others in similar situations as myself. In 2008 I launched the 3X Pitching Velocity Program and it just took off. I have to credit Google for its popularity because without the exposure of this search engine no one would have known it existed.
I also have to created the poor level of pitching knowledge in this game because just with a little effort to figure these high velocity movements out, using the latest science, I was able to put together a program that far exceeded the information you could find in most pitching books in book stores at the time.
When I first launched the program online I didn’t even put my name on it because I felt no one would want to know that I just played indy ball but this didn’t matter. The information was different, unconventional and very effective which was enough to excite the baseball community. I say very effective because the first few pitchers that went through the program had just about the same results as I did in a shorter amount of time. This is when I knew I had something special!
Mitchel Sewald went from 10 innings his junior year in high school at 82mph to 94mph in one summer on the program and signed with LSU before his senior year. Josh Favaloro left his first high school because they told him he would never play to his new high school and in one summer went from 78mph to 90mph. He broke their strikeout record that season and signed a college scholarship. Daniel Pitfield was cut every year in high school and his 2nd year in college he went through the program from 78mph-88mph and signed a college scholarship.
I also had several guys drafted after coming through the 3X programs and tons more with similar stories as my first round of pitchers. This has all happened in less than 6 years of coaching these programs. 4 years ago I started running the camps and sense then I have attracted the University of Georgia, Central Arkansas, many more D1s, D2s and Naia organizations. I am also now working with a Major League team implementing the 3X Pitching approach within the organization.
What do you think is the most important focus for someone looking to improve their pitching velocity?
You cannot ignore the fact that speed and power is what drives the elite levels of this game and elite speed and power must be developed. Once this speed and power is developed then you must learn how to mechanically put it into the ball but without the speed and power, good mechanics have a little effect on pitching velocity.
The 3X Pitching Velocity Program uses an Olympic Style approach to speed and power which is the same program I used and I have trained with for over 15 years. It is by far the best way to develop elite speed and power and the 3X Pitching Mechanics are by far the best system for converting this elite speed and power into pitching velocity.
Your advertising guarantees the opportunity for an athlete to reach his pitching goals, not the goals themselves. Is that leaving space for hard work and dedication to pay off?
Everyone has their own pitching velocity goals. They have a certain two digit or even three digit number that they want to achieve. I want to help them through the 3X Pitching Velocity Program to achieve it. As much as I could say I want to get you to 90 and I do say this a lot but that may not be the number they are looking for.
You call pitching practice without the use of video technology “pitching blind.” What do you think are the most substantial benefits of video analysis?
Pitching mechanics are what not only allow you to convert your elite speed and power to pitching velocity but they help you with locating your pitches consistently and keeping your arm healthy. You will never have a significant effect on changing your pitching mechanics if you cannot see them for yourself. You may feel like you are doing something a certain way but rarely are you actually doing it that way. Once you see it on video then it makes perfect sense.
The pitching delivery also occurs in less than 1 second in the high velocity pitcher. How can a coach provide feedback to what he is seeing without the ability to slow it down on video? This is impossible and it is lazy coaching that will only make pitchers worse.
It is important to note as well just because you have the ability to slow the pitching delivery down through the Ubersense app doesn’t mean you know what to look for and what needs to be changed. This is why you need a skilled coach in the game of pitching. This is why my business has grown to the level it has.
What is your favorite Ubersense feature?
I like how Ubersense immediately shares the video with the student I am analyzing once I have his email associated with his video and vice versus. This keeps me more connected with the student which is critical because the more time that goes by the more the student can get off target.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Every pitcher should have the Ubersense app and be shooting video on a daily basis in todays game of baseball. If you are not working through video to improve your game then you are wasting valuable time which most pitchers do not have enough of. Get the Ubersense app today and start shooting video NOW. If you need help analyzing your pitching mechanics then setup a video analysis with me TODAY!
For more information on Brent visit TopVelocity.net or follow him on twitter @TopVelocity.