Dodgers: Director of Athletic Development Talks About Preparing For Long Season Grind

Meet Brandon McDaniel, the Director of Athletic Development for the Los Angeles Dodgers. This is the individual who is in charge of managing the health of the players. Indeed, he is responsible for keeping the players we all love to watch on the field for the long grind of a baseball season.

For this, we owe this man much gratitude. While there isn’t a ton of X’s and O’s talk in the sport of baseball, this is that wholesome baseball talk that certain crowds may have a passion for or find interesting.

Particularly for me, I have heard a lot of players talk about the mental and physical grind that a season takes on them and their teammates. Therefore, McDaniel did a nice job of providing a snapshot of how the Dodgers manage this as an organization. For the full Facebook live video, have a watch below. Let’s check out what McDaniel had to say about keeping the Dodgers’ players healthy.

First off, McDaniel talks about how the organization goes about preparing their players for the long grind of a 162-game season.

“The biggest thing that’s been developed here is the access to the players in the off-season. Being in Los Angeles isn’t a bad thing, the players want to be here and want to work with us. So what we have developed from November to February, that time period serves as our ‘bank account’. We can build that [energy level and rest] up so that during the season we can pace ourselves. It’s tough to prepare to play a sport and also build up fitness. That’s where we have to remain cautious.”

For instance, McDaniel provides a short quote that puts things in perspective about ‘pace’ for the marathon.

“We aren’t trying to win the World Series on the first day of Spring Training.”

Notably, the Dodgers also use a wellness app that gets sent out to the players that has been developed by a third party company. In terms of this, think of your fitbit with some extra bells and whistles.

Finally, it’s interesting to hear how organizational philosophy differs on this. Certainly all organizations do things differently. By comparison, the Seattle Mariners recently welcomed a theory about ‘enlightenment’ that they believe will be as cutting-edge as Moneyball was. Still, it doesn’t sound like the Dodgers are that radical or trying to invent the wheel.

The season is a marathon, not a sprint. From the top down with what McDaniel says and practices, to the platoons we see each night giving guys their rest; the Dodgers believe in keeping their team fresh from the opening bell to the end.

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