"I have a personal trainer, and he put me on a back stabilization program. I wake up, do my stretches and my strengthening and then I do it again right before I go to bed. It's really made the back problems a thing of the past." Repko says.
The program started shortly after the 2001 season, which was cut short for Repko by nagging back problems, and has worked wonders. "I really haven't had any major problems since 2001. I know I've got to keep up on the conditioning though, so that it doesn't come back."
The other major adjustment the back inspired was a move from shortstop to the outfield, but Repko thinks that might have happened anyway. "I think most of these guys were shortstops in high school, because that's where high school coaches put their best athletes, but the move to the outfield has really served me well. It's awesome being out there, I'm just a lot more comfortable now that I've played more."
This past season was something of a breakout campaign for Repko, and it didn't come as a surprise to him. "My goal last off season was to put the ball in play more and hit for more average, and I did that. My dad and I just watched video and worked on my swing and shortened it up a bit."
His dad? Were the Dodgers comfortable with Repko's father being the principal architect of their 1999 supplemental first round pick?
"I think the club was just happy I was making a change. I think everyone realized that something needed to be done, and they were happy I was trying something new."
That fact that it worked probably didn't hurt.
For Repko though the game has become more than just physical tools. "When you get invited [to the Arizona Fall League] you realize pretty quickly that all these guys can play ball. We all have the tools or we wouldn't get this opportunity. For me there's no pressure, I just go out there and play hard and do what I know how to do. I think the key is to have the same mental approach. Stick with the plan that got you here, stay on an even keel. That's the thing my father, and the coaches have really taught me, is that the mental side of the game is even more important than the physical side once you get to this level. I study the game, the mechanics of the swing, the pitchers, the video, all of it, and I try to take those things into the field with me."
Pressure isn't something Repko seems particularly interested in. He doesn't feel the pressure of being a #1 pick, doesn't feel the pressure of an AFL invitation, he just goes out and uses his mind as much as his body, and his AFL stats are showing his approach is working.
Repko on the Move
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