(CBS Local Sports)– Former MLB pitcher, pitching coach and expert Tom House has spent decades studying the physical mechanics of throwing and the mental training of some of the world’s elite athletes. Through a new app called Mustard, House wants to apply the same techniques and evaluations to youth athletes across the country.
House has been a player, coach or researcher for 50 years and Mustard is the world’s first elite-level motion app for youth athletes. The app will allow parents to target the physical, mental and emotional needs of their kids and House believes this technology can change the landscape of youth sports.
“In the mid 1980s as I was winding down my career as a pitcher and getting more into coaching, I started to get involved with three dimensional motion analysis. It was cumbersome and expensive, but we managed to get around 900 Major League pitchers in the computer,” said House in an interview with CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith. “We came up with a statistically validated model on movement efficiency. Because of necessity, we realized recovery was just as important as preparation for elite athletes. We got into nutrition, sleep and all the blood chemistry issues. We can now statistically validate, measure and quantify bio-mechanical efficiency, functional strength, recovery and mental and emotional measurements.”
Based on the research House has done, 80% of youth athletes stop playing sports competitively by the time they are 14 years old. While artificial intelligence and analytics have been available for professional and college athletes for decades, youth athletes haven’t had the same opportunities to learn about the intricacies of their bodies and minds. House believes the access to information will help young athletes from a performance standpoint and with mental and physical recovery.
“We know that moms and dads of pre-adolescent athletes hugely affect where their kids are going to play,” said House. “What we’re able to do with a cell phone is give a mom of an 11-year-old Little Leaguer the same thing I would give that 11-year-old Little Leaguer with the identification of time and point capacity that’s age-specific. If there’s an issue, we also give them the fixes and the drills and all the protocols to fix the mechanical flaws and to condition them properly for their age. We tell them that sodas are no good and cause you recovery issues. The fears of failure you have, the stress and getting nervous in a game are normal and here’s how you deal with it. We are enabling parents to do the same things that elite coaches and elite athletes are doing on a broader scale.”
The initial beta launch of Mustard starts on Friday and the new app features investors like MLB Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees and 2x World Cup champion Mia Hamm. House has worked with athletes like Ryan, Brees and Tom Brady over the years and he sees a consistent theme with the great ones.
“The thing I’ve seen is the one common theme I’ve seen with elite athletes in golf, tennis or whatever it might be is they try to get 1% better every day. When a kid comes to us, they can make a 20% improvement in a weekend. The superstars every day have one thing and a commitment to that excellence to get better every day is one of the reasons these guys are throwing into their 40’s now.”
Watch all of DJ Sixsmith’s interviews from “The Sit-Down” series here.