“Don’t treat only the athlete’s body, treat his/her head, that is half of the battle. Treat the brain, not just the injury.”

Ben Hagar

What You will learn

  • How Ben evaluates movement in specific skills such as pitching & hitting.
  • Ben’s advice on how to be a good teammate across different professions.
  • Funny stories about pro baseball players’ strategies to break a slump.

Ever wonder what wild superstitions exist in professional baseball? Or for those who work behind the scenes in the training room, what does it takes to truly develop a strong culture for a medical and performance staff? In this episode Ben Hagar – a physical therapist in Major League Baseball – is here to share some stories and insight into some of these topics.

Ben is sharp physical therapist who has been working in professional baseball since 2015. In simple terms – he gets it. Going beyond his skills as a physical therapist, Ben understands the inner dynamics of managing professional athletes while also understanding what it takes to be a great teammate within a well-respected medical and performance team.

When I moved to Phoenix, Ben and his colleagues over at the Diamondbacks were great resources to bounce ideas off of and I soon grew to deeply respect Ben and his team over there. Ben has a great perspective not only from his practical experience, but he also spent time teaching courses for the Postural Restoration Institute – a widely popular methodology system across physical therapists.

In this episode, Ben had me covering up the mic because I was laughing too much at times with some of the stories and insights he shares. I really enjoyed learning from Ben and laughing over some stories. I know you will too!

Listen here – Finding Small Wins Podcast:

009 | Ben Hagar: MLB Superstitions and Building a Strong Team Culture

Notable Quotes

“Ugly movers sometimes make the best performers; don’t forget you are working with human beings.”

Ben Hagar

“Trust is a foundational principle, but it is hard to find in professional sports, everybody wants a piece of you.”

Ben Hagar

Key Takeaways:

[1:55] Ben answers rapid-fire questions.

[4:10] Ben describes a day in professional baseball for a PT.

[9:58] Ben highlights the importance of teamwork: “You always know somebody else will have your back.”

[12:14] Ben explains his work beyond pitching and hitting.

[19:56] Clinicians want to find things to fix, but it is necessary to remember that there is no ideal movement; performance is what matters most.

[24:22] Sometimes, doing PT’s job is doing nothing.

[26:24] Treat the brain, not just the injury.

[26:58] Ben talks about some clinicians’ common mistakes.

[31:54]  Ben explains why Pt’s don’t need to have all the answers anymore.

[34:50] How does Ben deal with the social media comments?

[38:50] Ben shares how his work is affected by an athlete seeking outside medical assistance.

[45:05] Ben shares one key experience with his group that helped them move toward better team dynamics.

[52:02] The Team values more than the sum of its parts.

[55:58] Ben talks about how he deals with judgment.

[1:01:04] How does Ben find the small wins to keep him going?

[1:07:08] In the context of baseball, how do athletes endure rehab times?

[1:09:30] Ben shares a superstitious story.

[1:12:12] Ben advises anyone wanting to practice physical therapy in pro sports.

[1:17:15] Ben shares his perspective on health and performance

Adam Loiacono


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