I recently interviewed Former MLB baseball player Frank Catalanotto about his rise to the Majors and what he did to improve himself along the way. Enjoy!
– Give us a little back story to your life. Where did things begin for you in athletics, not only baseball?
I grew up in Smithtown and I always loved sports. I played basketball, hockey, baseball and soccer. I always wanted to get better at each sport that I played so I was constantly practicing and playing sports in the neighborhood. I believe playing multiple sports as a kid helped me become more athletic.
– What was it like being drafted out of HS?
Getting drafted out of high school was a dream come true. I never actually believed it would happen because there were three other guys on my team that were better than I was. I figured one or two of them might be drafted. I worked hard to try to keep up with those guys during my senior year and it wound up paying off for me.
– Why do you feel Smithtown had such a strong group of baseball players around the same time?
I really feel like the Little Leagues were and still are very good in Smithtown. I always had good, positive coaches. Also the Smithtown Booster Club Baseball Camp that they run in the summer was very instructive. I remember learning a lot there.
– You battled injuries early in your MLB career, what do you attribute that to?
When I was young I lifted heavy weights every time I went to the gym. I rarely stretched and didn’t pay much attention to the little muscles in my body. My body seemed to get tight and the injuries caught up to me.
– How did the role of strength and conditioning aid you as a player?
The proper strength and conditioning helped me out so much as a player. Once I learned how to do it the right way my career started taking off. I became stronger, faster and less injury prone.
– How often did you train in-season? 162 games it must be hard to fit in.
During the regular season it was very hard to train but I would try to get at least 3 workouts in during the week. I would usually train after the game so I wouldn’t be wasting energy before the game. I did, however, make sure I did my core exercises everyday.
– When did you first take an active approach in S&C?
I first started lifting weights when I was about 15 years old but it wasn’t until after I got to the big leagues that I started learning about the proper ways of strength and conditioning.
– What areas of training do you feel most helped your career as a player?
Core training and speed training helped me the most as a player.
– What advice do you have for young players
Make sure you do plenty of core exercises. They helped me stay healthy when I did them religiously. Make sure you do plenty of speed training. Speed training helped me get faster and ensured the proper form so I wouldn’t be wasting any steps. Take care of your shoulders by doing Jobes exercises or a good shoulder stabilization routine. As athletes that need to throw we must make sure that the shoulder stays as healthy as possible. Proper nutrition is also very important. Make sure you are putting the right food and drink in your body.
– Speaking of nutrition you have Proven 4 sport. What is that?
Proven4 is a vitamin and supplement company that I started a couple of years ago. I have helped develop a few NSF certified products that are free of banned substances. Over 20 major league baseball teams use my products currently. For more info you can go to Proven4.com
– In helping younger athletes, in what ways are you planning on teaching them and allowing them to get better?
Whether it be conditioning or sport specific training, I think it is important to start slow and really focus on drills that help teach muscle memory. When I give hitting lessons I like doing one arm drills to teach each hand and arm the proper mechanics individually. I believe you should first build a good, strong base and then work from there.
– What is in store for you next in your life moving forward?
I plan on continuing to do my best to help baseball grow locally. I’m passionate about youth sports especially baseball and I love being able to teach young kids what I learned when I was in my 20’s.
Frank is a great person, follow him on Twitter to hear more from him and his quest to get others better