This story ran in the "7th Inning Stretch" segment of the Playball! program at Dr Pepper Ballpark from June 12-23.
The Frisco RoughRiders had an extremely successful 2012 season. The tenth season of 'Riders baseball featured a full roster of talented players including Jurickson Profar, Justin Grimm and Mike Olt. The RoughRiders also advanced to the Texas League Championship Series against Springfield. To top it all off at the end of the season, Frisco's Strength & Conditioning Coach and Athletic Trainer were voted the best in the league by their peers in the Texas League.
Strength & Conditioning Coach Eric McMahon has been with the RoughRiders for three years and has coached in the Rangers organization for five years. In his career, this award is the first recognition he has received, making it even more special. "It's nice to know your work is being acknowledged by your peers and fellow coaches in the league," McMahon said.
Athletic Trainer Carlos Olivas says that this is the first time that he has been recognized as the best at his position in his league as well, in his thirteen-year career and third season with the RoughRiders.
"It's cool to have an award that the other trainers vote on. It's nice, especially in jobs like ours that are under the radar and no one really pays attention to what we do. This is actually one of the first recognitions in my career," Olivas said. "I'll be working the All-Star game this year for the first time. I know that has little to do with winning awards, but it's a nice recognition of my work."
Olivas has been with the 'Riders for the past three years following eight years with the Los Angeles Dodgers organization. He and McMahon both agree that there is something special about working in the Rangers system.
"We are very fortunate that the Rangers have a pretty solid Strength & Conditioning program," said McMahon. "They put a lot of programs in place; it really comes from the top down."
"I love working for the Rangers," Olivas added. "It's a great organization, and everything from the top down is run in the best way possible."
McMahon indicated that what might set the training and strength programs apart from others is simply sticking to the basics. "A lot of people train and try to reinvent the wheel. We believe in the basic fundamental movements and strengthening the basic movement patterns on the body," said McMahon. "We feel that works well for us."
Olivas mentioned that on the training side, every organization generally does the same things, but with unique sets of differences. For example, the shoulder maintenance program with the RoughRiders is a little more in-depth than other teams in the league.
The two combat situations in their jobs that many do not in other sports industries. When it comes to challenges McMahon said that game schedules can sometimes come in conflict with plans he might have for the players: "One of the biggest challenges in this game is you're always on the road. There is no set schedule with games at different times of the day. Obviously baseball takes priority so on the training side, we've got to make a lot of adjustments on the fly."
On the fly adjustments, though, require a lot of work. "Sometimes we're fortunate that we can get in our own gym here in Frisco," McMahon said. "On the road, we've sometimes gone out to 24-Hour Fitness somewhere with a group of guys in the morning."
Both Eric and Carlos feel confident in their programs and enjoy working for the RoughRiders and the Rangers. They believe the players know that in order for their performance to benefit, they need to put in the necessary work to train and condition. The work will pay off in the long run.
"We're able to challenge our guys," McMahon said. "The players understand that is they put in the time, their performance is going to benefit."