You don't see many low 90s fastballs in Division III, but then again, Devin Hayes isn't your typical Division III pitcher. Devin reached out in the fall of his Junior year at Castleton University. He'd already been training furiously over the past two seasons, pushing his velocity up into the mid-80's, but had reached a hard plateau. His strength numbers were in the advanced intermediate range already, and he was fairly filled out at 6'2", 205 lbs.
Hayes finished his senior year 7-1 with a 1.58 ERA.
Describe when you first decided your training needed a change? Was it the sense of urgency that college was coming to an end, or did something specific trigger that change?
I had been doing the same program for a couple years, and at first, I was seeing some good gains in strength and velocity, but after awhile, I had stalled for a few months. At that point, I was looking for something new and innovative to help continue my development. It wasn’t necessarily that college was coming to an end; it was pretty much the feeling that I wasn’t really satisfied with where I was at and wasn’t willing to settle.
[When I joined Tread] I had been doing the same program for a couple years...and I had stalled for a few months. I wasn't really satisfied with where I was at.
What were some of your initial metrics and where are those today?
Initially, I weighed about 205 lbs, throwing 86 MPH with my lifting numbers right around 365x3 Trap Bar Deadlift, DB Bench Press 80x5, Front Squat 265x3 and Back Squat 300x5. At this point, I’m hovering around 225 lbs, topping at 93 over the summer, and my lifts have gone up quite a bit, 500x4 Trap Bar Deadlift, DB Bench 115x5, Front Squat 325+x3 and back squat 405x4.
Obviously remote training has its pros and cons as compared to in-person training - what type of player in your opinion fits best into this type of system?
I think in order to be a remote trainee and be successful, you have to first have some trust in the person who’s programming for you and buy into what they are doing. In my first cycle using Tread, I didn’t take everything as seriously as I should have, skipping out on mobility before working out and not following the program, entirely. You get out what you put in, and in order to be successful, you need to have the ability to have the drive to go through everything you need to do even if you are feeling particularly lazy that day.
A live look at Devin disrespecting some weights.
You initially started with two other teammates, can you describe how that played out and if it made the training easier to adhere to or more enjoyable?
Being able to compete with the other two guys made the experience a lot more fun as we were able to push each other. The other two were also tremendously gifted athletes which forced me to give everything I had in order to compete with them. There would be times when we had velo test days and I was throwing a good 5-7 mph slower than them, and it just made me want to work harder. I think training together with more than one person has so many benefits that I would recommend it to anyone who has friends that are on the fence. Going through it together allows for another person to hold you accountable for the day's work without having to rely on yourself for motivation day in and day out, which can be hard.
Describe the reception from the rest of your team when you started doing your own throwing/training regimen.
Initially, they were just confused as to why I was picking up these weird balls or why I needed an extra half hour to warm up, but after seeing the success I had with it, others joined in and by the end of it, we had a progressive pitching coach that encouraged everyone to have their own type of regimen, and this led to our team leading the country in ERA for Division III.
After seeing the success I had...others joined in [including the pitching coach], who encouraged everyong to have their own type of regimen. This led to our team leading the country in ERA for Division III.
What was the most difficult part of the past 2 year process? What would you say to another athlete going through the same things you did?
The most difficult part of the two year process would be the down days where you don’t feel like doing anything and the arm seems to be moving in slow motion and the weights are heavier than normal. I think those are the days that everyone needs to see the good days and working through those tougher days makes the fun, easy days more enjoyable.
Were there any limiting factors you uncovered during this process that you weren't even aware of before starting?
Tread Athletics does a good job of assessing their athletes and their individual deficiencies during the intake portion of the program, and found some things that I wasn't aware of. We discovered my mobility issues and some issues I had in my throwing patterns including my inability to block my lead leg, correctly.
A look at Devin's mechanical progression.
Give us a short term and a long term goal that you're working towards.
Short term: Throw 95 MPH.
Long term: Get signed and play professional baseball.
Do you have any advice for other athletes who are right where you were 2 years ago?
Trust what you’re doing; buy in and go through each step even if you don’t want to. That way you don’t have to play catch up when you realize it’s more important to work on things you aren’t good at than only doing the things you like.
"Trust what you're doing; buy in and go through each step even if you don't want to...it's more important to work on things you aren't good at than only doing the things you like"-@dhayes422
Closing thoughts from the editor:
Devin epitomizes the late-bloomer who overcomes average genetics, fitting right into the culture of Tread. Rather than accepting the plateau he was at, he searched for anything and everything he could do to keep moving forward. His story, as most, has its fair share of ups and downs, and he still chases his dreams of pro baseball. This path is not linear, nor is it easy, but Devin continues to push towards being the best version of himself as a pitcher - and that's all you can ask for.
Not sure where to start? Download our free in-season training guide for a taste, or contact us to chat about our coaching options. If you have any questions for Devin, who still trains remotely with us, he can be reached on Twitter: @dhayes422
Want to get your hands on the Plyocare balls that Devin used in his training? They can be purchased directly from here, and you'll save 10% with the code "tread10athletics" on anything in the Driveline Store.