SARASOTA, Fla. -- Professional athletes are looking for any, and every, edge they can get to further their careers. And several of them come to the Meadows Country Club in order to undergo a rather new technique that is getting rave reviews.
Russell Martin of the Pirates plays the most grueling position on the baseball field – catcher -- so he is always beat up and sore; but never more than when he fractured his hip a few years ago.
It is to help with these aches and pains that he sought out Chris Vercelli for Muscle Activation Technique. "When I first came here 2 weeks ago, we ran through a series of tests, and as Chris said, not all my players were playing. It’s something special that I just learned about and I probably will be doing for the rest of my life," says Martin.
Vercelli is one of just 3 certified master specialists in Florida for MAT. "Muscle Activation Techniques is a way to ensure that every muscle in the body is performing its functions as well as possible."
It is quick and helpful, but what exactly is it? "The promise that I give to every person that goes through this is that through this process you can become more flexible, stronger, more resistant to injury and better able to heal and become healthy from any orthopedic procedure in under 60 minutes," says Vercelli.
Martin is just one of several Pirates who go out to the Meadows in Sarasota to get their body right, so that their mind can be right. When that happens, their game can be right. “Like Yogi Berra said, '90% of this game is half mental.' If you feel right mentally the odds are you are going to play better, or feel more confident going into the game. That is a huge part of it."
Professional athletes are using it to get better, but it is not just for professional athletes. In fact, it isn't just for athletes at all, weekend or professional. MAT can help the quality of life for anyone in any walk of life.
"Whether we are picking up our kids or grandkids, whether we are walking or jogging, MAT ensures that muscles absorb those forces properly so they don't injure us," says Vercelli.
For someone who has to endure pain as part of his job, this very simple looking technique is a welcome respite from waking up every morning and feeling like you got hit by a truck.
“For me it's a no-brainer. I'm all for it. It’s just something that you can do in a short period of time and get results from," says Martin.
Vercelli has written a book about his technique, called Improve Muscles -- Improve Life.