Rob Sleamaker

Last night I had dinner with Rob Sleamaker and his crew from Vasa. They were in Clearwater, Florida (about 60 miles from where I live) displaying at the Expo held in conjunction with the Half Ironman championship. It was a very enjoyable and stimulating evening tossing around ideas about training. Rob is one of the genuine nice guys in sport. He is the coauthor of a very good book on training the endurance athlete Serous Training For Endurance Athletes. He is also the inventor of the Vasa trainer, which was inspired by a device used for cross country ski training. Now it is used in a variety of sports, but is most popular in swimming and surfing. I met Rob in 1990 at the American Swim Coaches Convention in Washington D.C. I was intrigued by his machine and we spent a lot of time talking about training. He offered to let me have a Vasa trainer to use with the White Sox Players. It was a tool we incorporated into out pitching conditioning program with a great success. It is a training tool I continue to use today. As many of you know I am not a big machine person, but this is a great tool for simulating aspects of the swim stroke, but for me the paddling motions really get the upper back and depending on the position on the bench link through the core. We also had great success using it as a tool in shoulder rehab. I have always felt paddling (like a surfer paddles out to catch a wave) had great carryover in terms of strengthening the back for throwing. It goes back to my first year teaching when the Presidents Fitness test was a truly challenging test. I noticed very quickly that the kids who did consistently well on the softball throw were the surfers. Coincidently they also were the Quarterbacks and Pitchers. The Vasa gave me a tool a tool to simulate the paddling action of surfing.


At 11/9/07, 10:02 AM, Anonymous Will Kirousis said...

I had the pleasure of meeting Rob this past winter at a USAT coaches clinic. What an incredibly nice, genuine and positive guy! His books original edition was one of the first I read on training and was an inspiration in my getting into this field.

Rob has been a great contributer to our field in my opinion.

At 11/12/07, 10:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very interesting. FYI, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln had a great pitcher in the early 2000's named Shane Komine, from Hawaii. He is a bout 5'8, threw 90+, but had some shoulder and back issues his first year. His "rehab"? He went home and surfed all summer! He came back strong and pitched fabulously. Of course he eventually had TJ surgery as a professional in 05(?), a fact I partially attribute to the heavy weight-lifting that was part of the "program"to make him "stronger" at UNL.

Love your blog, keep sharing - you influence more than you know!

Paul Davis, Omaha


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