Sep 28, 2022
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Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Welcome to The True Sports PT podcast. Super excited to have Dr. Dr. Alex Gett with us today. Alex has had really an awesome career to date, and he's really gonna share it with you and dive into it. I'm fascinated by it because you left organized baseball working as a strength coach, which I'm sure it wasn't the easiest thing in the world to do, and dove right into getting your doctorate of physical therapy. So we're definitely gonna hear about that. What's amazed me is your learning curve, how quickly you got up to speed as an outstanding outpatient sports physical therapist, and that's what I wanna share with this audience. So I know that we're talking to an audience of sports PTs. I know we're talking to an audience of PTs that wanna get into sports, new grads, some people who have been out for a while, and I think those are some of the things that they wanna hear. They wanna hear how do you lower that learning curve, how do you make that smaller. So we're gonna dive into that. I'm excited to share that with the audience, for sure. First, introduce yourself. Tell us about how you got to where you are, how you joined us eventually at True Sports PT and some of the transition points therein.
Dr. Alex Gett: Yeah. So originally from Pennsylvania. I've been an athlete my entire life, played football and baseball in college but baseball was just... I mean, it was the sport I liked the most and I was just better at it so I ended up playing at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Division 2 school above Pittsburgh. And in my mind at that time, I just wanted to take my career as far as I could and I signed as a free agent, played three years of independent ball after college. And again, took it as far as I could. An injury kinda knocked me out of the game. I was a pitcher.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: What was that?
Dr. Alex Gett: Labrum. It's torn. It's dog water.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Shoulder?
Dr. Alex Gett: If you see me throw, yeah, you can still see it. I was 25 at the time and that's the first time I truly had to be like, okay, what direction is your life gonna go? That quick. And the training piece, the exercise science piece, that's just in my blood. Sports is obviously in my blood so, for me, the only way I could stay around the game that I love and just athletes in general was to get on the sports science side. And so I went back and got my master's and I GA'd at the same school at IUP. I was with the baseball team and that's when I really got introduced to strength and conditioning, like all in, fell in love with it, the YouTube videos, reading all the books. I had my CSCS already at that time. And so during my time there as a GA, I pretty much took over the strength and conditioning and I knew that I needed to... I had enough mentors at the time, I'm like, if I really wanna get serious about this, I have to go out and just learn more.
Dr. Alex Gett: So I graduated, got my master's degree and I did an internship at the University of Pittsburgh with their Olympic Sports staff and that experience was just like my first plunge into true actual strength and conditioning at a pretty high level there in ACC at that time. And I was with the Olympic staff so I did a lot of basketball and all Olympic sports, pretty much everything outside of football. I was there for about six months and, again, I needed more. I wanted like, alright, I need a new scene. I wanna learn as much as I can but I wanna go to a different school and kinda see how they do things. So I took a similar position at Wofford College in South Carolina. Again, smaller school but believe me when I say that that staff was probably one of the most efficient running staffs I've ever seen in my life 'cause they don't have the resources that Pitt did but they got it done. They had to just kind of figure it out.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: You're making a good point. Sorry to cut you off here. It sounds like you're in some places with some dough, right? You're sitting at Pitt and you would imagine that they're providing the best, and not that they don't, but then you go to a place like Wofford, maybe a little bit smaller budget, and you make the point that it's about the people. The people that you surround yourself. You also mentioned you had some mentors along the way. How do you find those people? How do you find the mentors? How did you know Wofford was where you wanted to be?
Dr. Alex Gett: At the time, I sent an email. This is no lie. I sent an email to every Division 1 school in the country.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: I love it.
Dr. Alex Gett: And this was before I went to Pitt. One guy, at the time he was at Fordham, Ted Perlak, I don't know where he is right now.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: He's listening. I'm sure he's listening.
Dr. Alex Gett: He's the only guy to respond to me and he says, "If you're serious about this, here's what you need to do. You need to go get experience. You need to do your internship then potentially do another GA. If you don't do another GA, get another internship." And he just kind of laid out a blueprint and I'm just like, "Okay," and that's what I did, just that response.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: I love it. So first of all, that response, did you link up with him?
Dr. Alex Gett: I never have. I thanked him. After I got the job at Kansas City, I emailed him. I think he was somewhere else at the time, maybe Delaware. I emailed him and just said, "Hey man, thank you. You're the only person to answer me. I did what you said and I just got my first full-time job and it's at the pro level." And I just thanked him.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: It's unbelievable, and it's unbelievable that he took the time to do that. Note to self: When you get those emails, pay it forward. You take the time to do it. It's pretty special that he did that 'cause obviously it shaped where you are today. It sounds like the Tim Grover story, one of the first strength coaches, if you wanna call him that, now he certainly is with Chicago Bulls. He hand wrote letters to every player on the Bulls, and I think Jordan responds. You just never know. So I appreciate the hustle. You're already answering the question, Why are you so good so early? It's that. It's the hustle. That's a piece of it. Okay, so you email everyone. You get to Wofford. And why Wofford?
Dr. Alex Gett: So, I didn't necessarily choose Wofford but at the time we relocated to South Carolina. Well, my now wife, we were together at the time, she got a job down there and I was like, that's cool, so I went with her. But when I was down there, 'cause I knew I could do what I wanted to do there, anywhere really in the country. So when we got down there, we were living in Greenville, in between Greenville and Spartanburg, and so I'm like, "Alright, well, what Division 1 schools are here outside of Columbia?" And so I hit up, same thing, I hit up every Division 1 school in the area, like Gardner-Webb and all that. Wofford got back to me. At least I had Pitt on my resume now. And Josh Medler, I think he's still there, he hit me back. He was like, "Hey man, come in. We'll just sit down, chat." And went in there, we talked and right away I'm like this guy is legit.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: This is the guy.
Dr. Alex Gett: Yeah. And then he had one guy on staff with him.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: What was legit about him?
Dr. Alex Gett: Dude, he just walks in the room and you just, never met him in my life, you're just like, "Alright, that guy's in charge."
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Looked the part?
Dr. Alex Gett: Looked the part, act the part. He just... I don't know, he just had that presence about him. We all know those people. I can't even explain what it was but when I first saw him, definitely, I'm like, "Alright, this is definitely a strength coach." By the way he talked. And there were some athletes in there and he was kind of like communicating with them about something. You just knew. It was the way he communicated. And then when we had our talk, the more I talked to him and tell him what I've done and where I've been and how he runs things and where he's been. He was at Memphis before that, with Kalabari working with basketball and some football as well. But he was just this... I could tell he was a stud. So in my mind I'm like, I'm gonna learn so much from this guy. And he did things, similar to Pitt but also not even close. And he had to really utilize his resources, being at a smaller school. And so, again, I just picked his brain and got in there and I was working with football a little bit at that time, 'cause it was just him and one other guy and he had all the sports.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: That's amazing.
Dr. Alex Gett: Those bigger schools have football only and then all the Olympic stuff, so. But yeah, man. So that job, I was there for maybe like four months we'll say. And so now I'm like, I think I'm ready for a full time job. And so I'm like, alright, where do I wanna go? Do I wanna stay in college? Do I wanna go somewhere else or whatever?
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Yeah. How did you know you were ready? 'Cause I think that's something that younger people in the profession, sometimes I see it, they think they're ready way before they are. How did you know that you were ready? What's a good sign for people listening to say, you know what, I'm ready?
Dr. Alex Gett: That's a good question. I don't know, man. Honestly, whenever I got to the point where I could walk in the door, have 60 athletes in front of me and my first thought isn't just like, "Uhh, what am I doing?" It was just like I walk in. I'm like, let's go. Bang, bang, bang, bang. I don't really say much and everybody is just kind of going where they need to go. And then my cues, I felt comfortable with my cues for the big stuff. I just felt like I could program good enough depending on the time of year for the sport, working with athletes coming off an injury. I just, I've kind of seen enough at that point where, in my mind... I'm never gonna stop trying to figure it out but I just had this calming presence now when I walk into the door, I'm good. That kind of what was it for me.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Love it.
Dr. Alex Gett: There's no timeline. And believe me, between all that, it's not just me like going and working with athletes. I'm still reading books. I'm still reading articles. I'm still training, trying stuff on myself to be like, well how does this feel? 'Cause if I don't feel it, I can't coach it. I'm just doing little things 'cause I wanted it. And I wasn't gonna stop till I got a job at the pro level. I knew it was probably gonna be baseball. And at that time, that's when I'm like, "Well, do I stay in college? Am I ready to apply for a pro job in baseball? But I knew I was ready for something else, something next.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: I think that really resonates with me. When I looked to go from staff PT to managing to owning, stuff like that, I think it was that. I think it was, it doesn't matter what walks in, in terms of pathology, I got it. I've seen it. I have enough of a Rolodex. I can tweak. What's next? And I got some great advice early on. Not that you asked, but I'm happy to share. A respected PT, a guy who I had followed my entire career, his entire career. I was like hounding him when I was in grad school and I was hounding him on business like, How do you run this thing? How many patients an hour? This insurance, how does that work? What's your lease? I didn't even know what questions to ask but I was pretending like I did. And he's like, "Dude, can you just become an awesome PT. Stop. Just become an awesome PT." So it sounds like you're describing that. You were an awesome strength coach at the level you're at. What's next? Where do I want to take it? So that definitely resonates with me. Okay. So it's kind of I wouldn't say easy but you're comfortable and you're like, "Okay, next step." Which was?
Dr. Alex Gett: Yeah. Again, at the time, in Affiliated ball, I really had... I mean, I knew a couple coaches, a couple scouts, but I had no context, like zero but I played. In my mind, I'm like, that kind of has to count for something because I know how it feels like to ride a bus for 12 hours and then have to go...
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: How does it feel?
Dr. Alex Gett: Misery.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: It's not good.
Dr. Alex Gett: Misery. Yeah. But I'm just like, whatever, I'm just gonna do it. So I got on the strength and conditioning website for pro baseball. Literally applied to, same deal, every open job. I didn't care when it was posted. I applied to every single open job. And within like a day, maybe less than 24 hours, I had like six teams hit me up. At that point, I'm like, this is gonna happen. It's like, if you hit me back there's a reason you're hitting me back. And if it was just one...
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Interesting. Why did they hit you back? Why do you think they hit you back?
Dr. Alex Gett: That's a great question. I couldn't even tell you. Usually, you know somebody.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: You have to tell me. Why do you think they hit you back?
Dr. Alex Gett: I don't know man. It's a great question. I really don't know. But if it would've been one organization, I would have been like, okay, maybe they just really need somebody. But I think it was six and I'm like, alright, well there's something to this. So I can't tell you what it was. My resume, I had two colleges now. I think it was playing, to be honest with you, because everybody knows the Xs and Os. If you go to school and you get your degree and your GA, you know how to program, you know how to lift. You lift yourself. You know how to eat. You should know. At least you know how to eat, whether you do it or not. You know the nutrition side.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Seeds. A lot of seeds you eat.
Dr. Alex Gett: Seeds and... Yeah, just seeds.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Just seeds.
Dr. Alex Gett: But I guess if I had to answer that, I think it's because I played at a moderately high level and I understand the game enough to where a guy walks in the door and if I look at him, I just know. Let's just say he is a pitcher, obviously, you know what work he has. But maybe he's not a pitcher, maybe he's a bench guy or a role guy and he doesn't do much throughout the week but then all of a sudden he's in the lineup and maybe he does more than he has in a while and he doesn't, I just kind of know. You know what I'm saying?
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Yeah. And I think they know. But if I had to flip it around or if I had to give you some background, I was the guy on the other end of that when you sent me your resume. And so I'm thinking like, why am I calling Alex... I thought it was Dr. Alex Gett at the time. Why am I calling Dr. Alex Gett? It's the resume but I love the, hey, he played. I love that. I bet you that was huge because guys definitely in the baseball world, I'd say most from what I've seen in the baseball world, they can sniff it, man. They know whether you're real or not. Do you know what it's like to be on a bus? Do you know what it's like to grind? So I bet that that's what it was.
Dr. Alex Gett: So I can answer that for you. The why do I think they answered me, I don't know. When I got the job and once I got to know my coordinator a little bit... 'Cause I asked him, "How many people applied to my job?" He was just like 400 and whatever. I'm like, "Why did you hire me? Why'd you call me?" He goes, "'Cause you played." That was his answer.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Oh, there you go. Okay.
Dr. Alex Gett: So he answered. But I couldn't tell you why.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Okay. Now let's say you're a schmuck like me. I didn't play at a high level. How do I get that job? How do I do it? 'Cause there are people listening. They haven't played but they're good.
Dr. Alex Gett: I would say take a similar path as far as beat down their emails. Volunteer is a big one. Ideally, you get paid for everything you do and putting all your time in but if you're just starting out, you almost have to expect that's just not gonna happen. Paid positions and stuff like that. So in a lot of organizations, they have fellowships and internships. Not just post DPT but if you just volunteer to go down to the complex and spend a day with somebody during spring training and get an idea of what that lifestyle is like. Go do an internship at 28. I was 28, at 28 years old.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: That's awesome.
Dr. Alex Gett: Volunteer your time and do certain things. People will kind of be like, "This guy walked away from that, did an internship at 28." They kinda notice that stuff. So, really, it sets yourself apart. You gotta grind away, man. You can't stop. If you hit up all these teams and nobody gets back to you, it's like, alright. Doesn't mean you stop. You just figure out a way to get better and then hit 'em again.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Yeah, that is outstanding advice. I think it's exactly that. It's also as you volunteer, if you're lucky enough to get paid for it, awesome, you're gonna meet people. So Dr. Alex Gett resume comes across my desk. I thought it's nice that you had a baseball background and I see you played. It's not for sure. First thing I do is who do I know with The Royals? Let me call someone with The Royals. Do you know this guy Gett? What do guys think of him? As soon as I get that feedback, okay, let me call him back. I think that's how you get callbacks. But it plays into exactly what you say which is you gotta put yourself out there, you gotta know people, you gotta meet people, good impressions, stuff like that, which obviously you did. So The Royals call you, that's where we are in the Dr. Alex Gett story.
Dr. Alex Gett: Yeah. So I talked to, again, it was all those teams that hit me up. Obviously, I called them back, "Hey, what's up?" and I interviewed with all of them, phone interviews. They'll say, "We still have interest. We wanna move on to the second round." Playing that whole game. So now I'm just like, whoever offers me first I'm taking it. I don't care. I'll take it and I'll pack my stuff and go tomorrow.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Girlfriend, wife?
Dr. Alex Gett: At the time, still girlfriend. She knew what she was getting into. I told her kind of like, "Hey look. This is about to happen, I'mma be in Arizona or Florida and this is what the next nine months are gonna look like." And she knew what I wanted to do. She then, nothing but stud, but she was just like, "If that's what you want, go. We're fine. We'll figure it out." And so The Royals, it was like in the middle of my second interview, maybe we were kind of wrapping up and the coordinator at the time, he was just like, "You know what? Do you want this job?" I'm like, "Yep." Did not think about it. I'm like, "No, I'm in." That was it. So I got the job right there on the phone. That was December of '13, so for the '14 season. Hung up the phone and I was just like, "That's it. Let's go. Pack up."
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: So in your mind, you're a strength coach for the next 40 years?
Dr. Alex Gett: Exactly.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Okay. So that's a dream job they offer you. Did you know what level?
Dr. Alex Gett: Yeah, a short season.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Okay. Short season.
Dr. Alex Gett: Extended Spring training and short season.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Okay. So that guarantees you... Can I ask you what you made then?
Dr. Alex Gett: Oh yeah. It was dog water. So that would've been, that position was an hourly position. I believe it was between $12 and $13 an hour.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Love it. I love it. And how many hours?
Dr. Alex Gett: Dude, during spring training? I mean.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Like you're clocking in and out?
Dr. Alex Gett: Yeah.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: I love it.
Dr. Alex Gett: Yeah. Time sheets and all that. So we are there, let's say we start 6:00, 6:30, it's pretty much every day we start. We're pretty much finishing close to that. So we're thinking close to 12 hour days, seven days a week, off day sprinkled in here and there, kind of do the math.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: How many months?
Dr. Alex Gett: So once Spring training is out... So everybody breaks camp around early April and then extended Spring training, just a whole, it goes from mad house to like a morgue. You got your injured guys and then your younger players. It changed but then I was at the complex still until the draft, which is in June. Then everybody reports to their short season team.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: So it's how many months a year that they say, "Hey, we're gonna pay you hourly." Is that year round?
Dr. Alex Gett: Oh, yes. Seasonal.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Seasonal?
Dr. Alex Gett: It's seasonal. And then you have an option to go out to Arizona in the off season which is Instructional Fall so like there is no stop. But for me, it was a seasonal gig and I had the option to go out to Arizona and help out here and there. That first year, the first year I didn't go out for Instructional or anything like that so I had a couple months off and then I was literally right back for Spring training. Yeah.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Right back in it. I love it. When I talk to other pro athletes and they always ask about baseball stuff, what's it like to make it in the bigs? I just had this conversation last night with a linebacker. He's a little bit of a baseball guy and he's asking, "What's it like? How hard is it to make the bigs?" And I'm like, "Dude, it's like decimal points make it," right. He was like, "Well, why? How does it work?" I'm like, the truth is... And who told me this, I think it was a pitcher in the Nats organization. He said, "It is just a contest as to who can stay poor the longest." And it sounds like it's not different on the admin side or the staff side. How long are you gonna grind for 12 bucks an hour? And so how long did you do it?
Dr. Alex Gett: I did it for that season. And it's like they have the option if they wanna bring you back. It's not like you're coming back. But obviously, they wanted me to come back and I didn't hesitate. Again, I didn't care. I'm like, "Yeah." Then I got my raise, which it was a raise, it was something. But I moved up to high A at that for the next season.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: And, what's it like? What's the day to day like? Because when I came out of grad school, I'm thinking like, that's a dream. Working in the minors, that's a dream. What's it like? What's the day like? You said 6:00 to 6:00. And?
Dr. Alex Gett: Yeah. So in Spring training everybody's in one spot from rookie level to the big league guys. We're all in one spot. Our complex was in Arizona. And usually, obviously we're on the minor league side, I would say 6:00 to 6:30 every day we're starting. I mean, in there, set up, first guy rolls in for business. That's when you start. And then some days end sooner than others but usually we were wrapping up between 5:00 and 6:00 that night. And then we're tearing everything down and cleaning everything up and then we have our staff meeting and it's like, What do we got tomorrow? Getting things kind of ready for the next day. There are no weekends, there are no off days. Here and there there's an off day, I'll take it back. But for the most part, seven days a week and you just go. That's Spring training.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: That's Spring training. Okay.
Dr. Alex Gett: Yeah. So in a season, in my position in rookie ball, it's different. Now, you're traveling, you have your home stands and whatnot. So those days are a little bit different. When you're at home, right, the weeknight game is gonna be 7:05 first pitch. Saturday, Sundays, getaway days, those will be maybe your afternoon games. And so guys will start... I would get to the complex at like 11:00, 12:00-ish because definitely the start of the night before is gonna come in and wanna lift early. So you gotta be there, you have to kind of be ready at all times. Whether that's at that time if somebody wants to lift after the game, at 10:00 o'clock at night, that's when we lift. You're just there and you're assigned to that team. So there are no hours. You work for a certain amount of time but it could be any time, right? So I'm there at the comp or at the stadium from noon, say 11:00 to noon, till the end of the game. And then, again, it's like guys come in and lift when they need to lift. During BP I may have a guy working on whatever but it kind of goes around the player schedule. And then, obviously, the easy part is watching the game. You get free tickets every night.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Just watching good baseball.
Dr. Alex Gett: Yeah. And then anybody that would get injured, the AT would handle it. And then if they needed me underneath, I would go under the stadium help them out with whatever. Pitcher that comes out of the game, I would go underneath and do all their arm care, get a quick flush in. Sometimes guys would wanna lift like now. And at that level, High-A, once you get through that Low-A barrier, High-A, you're one call away from Double-A, I give them a little bit more freedom because you're a prospect at that point. So if a guy wanted to lift right then and there, I'm just like, let's go. And we would train. I loved it, man. I'm in my element there.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Yeah. Okay. So let's get a little clinical there. Is there a PT?
Dr. Alex Gett: Not on the road. All back at the complex.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: No PT. When you say flush, are you doing hands on as a strength coach?
Dr. Alex Gett: Yeah.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Okay. Is that the norm?
Dr. Alex Gett: For that organization... They're all different. For that organization, I would because the trainer has to stay on the field if something goes down. But they, the trainers and the sports med staff, came up with the arm care protocol and then we would learn it from them and then we would run them through it immediately after the game and get their lift set up for either right now or the next day.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: And there's one of you.
Dr. Alex Gett: Yeah, per affiliate.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Per affiliate. Okay. So flush, the strength, doing the lift. Who designs that lift?
Dr. Alex Gett: Me.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Dr. Alex Gett?
Dr. Alex Gett: Yeah. So every week we have to send everything to the coordinator, we just email it. Here's my program, here's what guys did and everything's kind of building off each other. And he reviews it and makes sure everything looks good. Yeah, we had the freedom to do all that.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: I love it. How long are you there? How long are you in Affiliated ball?
Dr. Alex Gett: Two seasons.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Two seasons?
Dr. Alex Gett: Yeah.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Okay. And then what happens?
Dr. Alex Gett: Alright. So at this point, during these two years, that same hunger to learn and get better and grow, that's still there. It hasn't gone anywhere but now I'm just applying it. A lot of the sports med staff that I met there, especially one of the PTs I still talk to often, they had a fellow there, the big league guy. Just that whole staff, man, they're just on it. I listened to the conversations they're having, 'cause we would sit in on some of those meetings, and the way they're talking, I'm just kind of like, "Damn, there's levels to this." Right? I mean, I can get you stronger, that's fine but they're just taking what they know to a whole nother level and how they make decisions on, "Well is this guy gonna be ready now?" And so that really intrigued me there. And throughout all this, girlfriend turns into fiancé. Fiancé turns into wife.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Mazel tov. [laughter]
Dr. Alex Gett: Wife turns into, "Oh, by the way, we have a girl on the way. So now it's kind of like...
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: This is what, year two?
Dr. Alex Gett: Yeah. In between year two and three.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Okay. Oh, wow.
Dr. Alex Gett: So now it's like, okay, do you wanna be the dad that raises their kid on FaceTime or do you wanna be here? That whole game starts. How can I do what I love, potentially get back into that world, be a dad. All that, that game's going on.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: How young are you?
Dr. Alex Gett: How young am I?
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: 31. Okay. 31, about to have your first. And so is that when PT comes onto your radar?
Dr. Alex Gett: Yeah.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Wasn't there before?
Dr. Alex Gett: Not even close.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Okay. Why don't you just become a higher level strength coach then? Not in Affiliate, but why don't you get a job at the University of Maryland?
Dr. Alex Gett: Honestly, I still can't answer that really good. For me, it was the girl. My daughter played a big role in that because I could have had that job, I could have become a coordinator, went to the big leagues. But I'm not. She was a big decision in that. I was fortunate enough to have parents around when I was growing up and, I'll just flat out tell you, a lot of the guys I worked with in pro ball, I saw the relationships they had with their kids. I was just kind of like, "Damn." I just didn't really want that. She was a driver. So if I want a job at a high level, great. Pack your stuff, you're going to Oregon or Cali or Texas. And, again, I'm fine with it. My wife would've been fine with it. But it's not like I didn't wanna just up and move. It was just that for me. And again, that's why a lot of strength coach careers don't work 'cause there comes a point where you have to decide. If you go that route, if you just wanna stay single and not have kids, you are a perfect strength coach. You have the perfect personal life to be a strength coach because you can do whatever you want. I thought I was gonna be that guy for a little bit. I just loved it. But at that time I had to make the decision so that was the driver in it.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Okay. So that makes a lot of sense. Quick question on what it's like in house, 'cause you're about to leave that sector. So in house, let's call it, pro sports, you are with these guys all day, every day, right? I always ask the question on the athletic training side, how do you not get guys dependent on you? Because once those athletes are dependent on you, you're stretching their hamstring every day, instead of teaching them how to stretch. How do you navigate that?
Dr. Alex Gett: Yeah. It's tough because, again, at that point everybody has the same goal. Even the coaches, all trying to get to the big leagues. How do you get there? You have to be healthy, you have to feel good and you have to perform consistently. That's the kicker, is the consistency. That's such a grind that just every day, every day, it's just you forget what day it is. You just know everything's in three day increments. But it's hard because once you stretch a guy's hamstring and he feels great and he goes 4 for 4, some of the most superstitious athletes in the world are like, "I have to do it." I don't even wanna get into the story about this one guy, but he put Tiger balm...
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: You're gonna get into that story.
Dr. Alex Gett: He put Tiger balm on his arm one night and went like 4 for 4, stole two bags. He used it, he put Tiger Ball on his arm, never needed it, for the rest of the season. It was just that. You know what I'm saying? But anyways, you have to have that conversation like, "Hey man, you're not playing today. I don't need to stretch your hamstring. Here's a band, let me take you through. It's the same thing. When I know when you're gonna play, I'll work with you a little bit but there comes a point where I'm not gonna be around. You'll have another strength coach. But you can't depend on anybody but yourself especially in this game. It's a game of adjustments. You have to know what makes you tick. What kind of player are you? What do you need to do to get ready? Do you need to stretch? Do you not need to stretch?" Some guys just rip a Red Bull and go. And that's fine if that works. So just having that talk, that hits home with them like you gotta depend on yourself or learn how to. You gotta figure it out because if you need something or if you need everything from somebody, that's a problem. So just having that conversation is the big one.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: So I think that's an awesome piece of advice. It also has to come from a place of knowledge and it has to come from a place of confidence that you're empowering. How did you get to that level of confidence? And I would say even now, the way you treat now 'cause you work with high level athletes all the time in an outpatient sports setting, how can you advise the audience to speak from that place of confidence?
Dr. Alex Gett: Repetition. You gotta spend time in that environment. It's gonna be uncomfortable at first. Anything new is. Like PT, strength aside, just any environment that's new, you have no idea what's going on. If that's really what you wanna do, you gotta be okay with that and just figure it out. Put yourself in those positions, reach out to people, communicate as much as you can with the players, even if you're... I don't wanna say intimidated, but even if they're not your type of personality, you don't vibe with them, you gotta talk to them. That's your responsibility. So for me, it was just reps. And the more I was in... That environment was fine, the weight room and being around the guys, that's fine. But now, it's not like I'm playing with you. I'm kind of, I don't wanna say an authoritative figure but I'm your coach now. It's pro ball so it's different. It's not like college.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Sure.
Dr. Alex Gett: But you're kind of in charge of them. So you have to learn that you're walking that line with a pro guy, you gotta treat him like a man. It's different. But once they know you're there to help them and you're not an absolute idiot, that's the big thing. But the comfort level just comes with time. You have to put in the time in those environments and then it's just like anything else. You're dealing with, you got like big leaguers, Triple-A guys. It's just like you're baseball players. You're 20 years old. Just go talk to them. It's fine. And a lot of times, you forget they don't know the best thing they need for their hamstring or their oblique or whatever. They have no idea. They just know how to crush a ball or throw and whatever. So you're just that piece to help them with their career. Once you kind of look at it like that, don't look at it as any more than that, it's pretty straightforward.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: I love it. I love it because it works in this setting too. It works in the outpatient sports world because they're gonna be tough personalities. They're gonna be tough athletes. They're gonna be arrogant individuals. They're gonna be a bunch of schmucks. They're gonna be like sweet old ladies that walk into your sports clinic. How do you relate to them and meet them where they are? That's what you gotta do, I think, in that level, when you're working in organized sports. But it's the same as what you do now, every day. So I think that's a good piece of advice. So then you go through PT so I'll ask you a general question about PT school. Did it prepare you for what you do today?
Dr. Alex Gett: On the clinical side, on the table, 150% absolutely.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: That sounds like an awesome grad school. How the hell did you find that?
Dr. Alex Gett: Shenandoah.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Because that was tough for me. Shenandoah.
Dr. Alex Gett: In Virginia. Yeah, Winchester, Virginia. I applied to PT school. I had no idea what PT was. I thought it was what I saw in Arizona. I'm like, "Oh, everybody's gonna lift weights." I get there and now I got peds and my inpatient stuff.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Did you struggle with EKG like I struggled with EKG?
Dr. Alex Gett: I'll be honest with you, Cardiopulm is probably one of my better classes.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: You're a bastard. That almost ended my career.
Dr. Alex Gett: I don't know how I could just figure out the heart. It was weird. I actually enjoy that.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: 'Cause you probably have a lot of brains. What did you struggle with?
Dr. Alex Gett: Neuro.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Okay. What about it?
Dr. Alex Gett: Neuro is just a beat down. Because with the heart, everything has a pathway and if something backs up, I can just kind of backtrack and work through it in my brain. For me, neuro was a lot of I had to memorize this because there's just too many tracks and up and down and across. I've made myself figure it out but that was like I had to work extremely hard to get good at neuro.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: And it's also... I mean, were you passionate about neuro?
Dr. Alex Gett: No.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: So, I think, to me, that's a huge deal. I too, walked in. I thought it would all be biomechanics and lollipops. I just thought it was gonna be three years of heaven. And halfway through, I'm like, "Ugh, maybe I should be a lawyer."
Dr. Alex Gett: I'm coming off we just won the World Series. So when I walked, I walked away from a good spot with the organization. I was cool with everybody. I was gonna come back. Just went to the World Series in '14, won it in '15. And I still was like, "I just wanna kind of do this." So it was hard. I'm saying that because during school, and now I have a lot of contacts in pro ball and I'm getting... In class, my phone would be hitting, they're like, "What are you doing in PT? Get your ass in Arizona. We got an opening right now." I'm just like, "God." And I told my wife, I'm like, "Look," we had our daughter at the time. I was going through school, started with a seven-month-old. So I really thought about bouncing back but I kind of made myself go through because at that point, in my mind I'm like, "Okay, if you can do both at a high level, not many people can do that."
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Yeah. Tell us what both means, though...
Dr. Alex Gett: Well, PT, so the clinical stuff, PT meaning post-op, day one, somebody walks in and they're in a brace and they're brace wrapped. How do you handle that? And as a strength coach, you're like, "Go to the trainer. I'll get you in four months." Or whatever. Handle that and then literally just take your baby all the way through until they're sprinting, lifting, jumping, whatever the case is, ready for their sport. So I'm like, "If I just grind through a lot of the PT school that I don't like, maybe I can make this work. And at the end of the day, I can always go back to baseball." That was in my mind, I'm like, "I can always do that." So I just made myself grind through. And then once I started, once I got through two year, year and a half, I'm in that second year, I'm starting to figure stuff out. You have that moment where you kind of know like, "Okay, I think this is gonna work." So then I just grinded through it and finished out my last year.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: As you're coming through, you have this awesome background of strength, right? It makes probably all your clinical stuff, once you get to the ortho and sports stuff, easier. So I think that really answers some of the questions that I opened with, which is like, How the hell did you get so good so fast? Well, you put in a lot of work leading up to it. Let's say you didn't spend those years doing that. You're like me, you're a sports geek, you went to undergrad, maybe played some baseball. Then you go into your doctorate and then you wanna work in, jump into sports, but you haven't done that high-level strength stuff. What's your advice to decrease that learning curve? Where do you get your strength knowledge if you're just a sports PT? What's awesome, let me just back up a second and share this about you, is I've seen you in your clinical life and career go from staff PT, to clinic director really rapidly. Took about a year to do that. You did a great job of being able to handle a caseload, connect with your caseload, improve your caseload. Now you have these new graduates coming in underneath you, you're building this awesome team. So what are you telling them? Those new graduates don't have your insane experience with the Royals or whoever. How do they pick up that strength stuff? Give me a couple of books, give me a couple of resources. Tell me what would speed that up for you?
Dr. Alex Gett: It's hard for me to give you books. I mean, I'll gladly list some for you. Both of the new grads we have now, both did strength and conditioning internships at the Division 1 level. For me, that's really...
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: It's huge.
Dr. Alex Gett: Yeah. I know a lot of resumes, we read through a lot of resumes, that stands out. Kinda like what you said about me. When I see that, I know what that world's like 'cause I'll flat out tell you the exercise prescription we got in school, literally I use zero of that.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: What'd you say? Dog water.
Dr. Alex Gett: Yeah. That's the nice way I'll put it since we're being recorded. But I mean that's a huge problem this is such a problem...
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Why is it there? Why can't we fix that?
Dr. Alex Gett: How there is not a strength and conditioning basics, the NSCA book, here's linear periodization, here's what happens if you increase your load. Just something. We got none of that. Just therapy bands and cable machines. And if somebody has this... I can't even talk. I'm gonna start like...
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: No, it keeps me up at night also. No question.
Dr. Alex Gett: You know, I don't even talk about it. But how that is not a part of a program is beyond me. It's a huge problem because that is literally the only thing that I think saved me when I got here because I could just pick up and go. Exercise, prescription, progress, regress, program, bang, bang, bang, bang. Real time. Let's go. So when I see those resumes that say, "Oh, by the way, I did an internship with Maryland football. Oh, by the way, I did an internship with UCF basketball," in my mind I'm like, okay, the only thing, the only way this won't work with this person is if I talk to them, I don't think I can be around them every day. And that's a personality thing.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Yeah, sure.
Dr. Alex Gett: So you can read books and all that, that's great. But I'm telling you, you can be the smartest person in the world, Xs and Os, program, all that stuff, until you can stand in front of 30 athletes and start directing traffic and everybody's doing everything the right way, you're just not gonna get it. So for me, for anybody, take time and go do an internship for free. Just go. Find a Division 1 school. And I'm gonna tell you, those coaches are gonna look for help, they're gonna want help. They're not gonna say no. For me, you don't have to do an internship, go do a site visit. Spend a day maybe and just see an actual coach, a strength coach, 'cause it is different. It's a different world. Spend a day with them and see if you maybe wanna dive into an internship or even virtual internships now are a thing. You have to do something in that regard. It's gonna pay you exponentially in the long run if you really wanna make a difference on this end, in the sports world because everybody, every case turns into strength conditioning at a certain point.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: At every point. At every point. And that's what drives me insane about when we look at the early post-op, don't forget your strength and conditioning principles. There is dosages that we know we need to increase his range of motion, right? Stop with your three sets of 10. Stop with your quad sets for three second holds. You want time under tension. I know there's not a lot of tension there but it's a volitional contraction. Make that quadricep scream. I think that's totally worthwhile. It's also, I think, and correct me if I'm wrong if I'm putting words in your mouth, you're describing you want them to have that internship but then you also said just go and shadow. And I think what you're describing is you want some proof of grit. You want some proof that they have worked hard. And so I would just piggyback on that, maybe you didn't have the opportunity to do some high level strength stuff but if you wanna get into sports rehab and you don't have this insane background that you're bringing to light, Alex, I wanna see something that you did that's tough. I wanna see where you put yourself out a little bit and you had to work.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: And maybe that's not in sports. Maybe it's, I don't know, you're at a homeless shelter, I don't know, 40 hours a week or something crazy. But working hard, overcoming, showing that you had to do something to get to your desired goal 'cause I can mold that. I can teach you. I can teach you how to be a great sports PT. And I think that's something you and I need to work harder on is getting those new grads, getting those students, which we're really doing here a lot now, and giving them outstanding strength and conditioning principles. I think some of it falls on the CI. Looking back at graduate schools, they have to cover everything. They don't know where Dr. Alex Gett's gonna work. He says sports but maybe he's gonna go work at the VA. So those rotations, those experiences that we can be a big part of, we have to go out of our way to be a big part of. Okay. I'm gonna fast forward all the way down, or all the way forward as we wind down a little bit. Your every day today, tell us what it's like and tell us how, 'cause you're gonna tell me how hectic it is, tell us how you stay up to date and then we'll bring it to a close.
Dr. Alex Gett: Yeah. So day to day, again, now that, like you said, there's just kind of a staff working with me... I don't wanna say under me, with me.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Team.
Dr. Alex Gett: Team. Exactly. Everything that I've learned along in these couple years, it's the same thing. I don't expect you to know. I expect you to have that deer in the headlights when you walk through the door and actually get your first, "Oh wow. My first ACL." Or it is maybe they're in the maintenance phase and you're doing some strength and conditioning with them. I expect you to be uncomfortable and not necessarily know what to do. You're not supposed to, that's what I'm here for. But day to day, it's managing that. And I set aside time, I'm huge on mentorship. Like you said, pay it forward. If I get emails from somebody, I answer them because I was that guy, right? We all started there. Anybody who's anybody started not knowing a thing. So I don't big league anybody but I take the time. If the staff PT is under me, if they want mentor time, I give it to them. I tell them anything I know. I learn from them. You're coming from UCF, you're coming from Maryland. I know you had nor boards, Four Stacks, all this stuff that back when I did my internships in 2012, 11...
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: You were using an abacus.
Dr. Alex Gett: Dude, we had Tendo units.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Tendo units.
Dr. Alex Gett: Sick, yeah. Great. But this has all come to light. I know about it, I read about it, I watch the videos but, here it comes again, I wasn't there. For me it's go there and use it and coach somebody up. Well, they're coming from that so I'm learning from them. It's not like the egos... I can learn from anybody so I kind of say to them, this is how it's gonna be with me at least, we're working together till I get better and grow this thing. Again, day to day, I have my case loaded and I'm making a difference as much as I can there but there is just so much we can do in this environment. Those two worlds are...
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Say what this environment is.
Dr. Alex Gett: Yeah. Sports PT. Again, there's definitely a clinical piece to it but it is heavy strength and conditioning to a certain point because you have to get athletes at a point to where they need to return to their sport. How did they get hurt? Playing their sport. That's the biggest gap we see is if a patient we have goes to another clinic prior to us, my first question is, "I don't care where you went, what'd you do for hamstring strength?" "I did RDLs." "Okay. What else?"
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Stem and ice.
Dr. Alex Gett: Yeah. I'm like, "Okay, how'd you get hurt?" "Sprinting." "Okay. So then you're telling me you didn't sprint?" "Well, not really." Okay. There's your issue. So I do my assessment. Maybe we'll do RDLs but I guarantee you the bulk of our rehab is gonna be sprinting. I don't know, maybe it's the strength coach mind in me but I push the needle as much as I can. I'm almost looking for your pain. I wanna find it 'cause then I know your baseline. If I don't find it, I'm gonna... I will find it. I'll put it that way. If I don't find it initially, I'm gonna find it. I'm gonna do something. I don't know. And I'm still learning every day but for me it's you can't stop wanting to learn, wanting to get better. It's not even necessarily finding your niche. I came into this, yeah, I'm a strength guy but now, if you would've told me a couple years ago, I couldn't have cared less about an ACL. Now I want ACLs. I've just learned to like them. Hamstrings, I've learned to like them. And once you see enough and you get kind of good at it, you make, you kind of make your own treatment protocol around what you learned from others around you and stuff like that. You eventually start to be your own PT, your own coach or whatever. And then you just rinse and repeat. Just go, go, go.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: I love it. And so just to distill that all the way down, the way you stay current is you have an uncanny ability to learn from everyone around you. And so now your time in the clinic isn't just teaching, it's learning, which is awesome. I bet you there are also some things you do on your own time like listening to The Performance Rehab and Strength Training podcast. I think that's a great one. Do you know anything about that?
Dr. Alex Gett: A little bit. It's taken a little bit of a hit 'cause there's a new baby in town about six months ago. So that was like my Covid project back during that whole thing. It delayed a lot. So in my mind, I'm like, well, how can I learn more, meet new people? Essentially they're kind of the same thing. Definitely I wouldn't consider myself a podcast personality.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Well, tell us the name of the pod.
Dr. Alex Gett: I need a shorter name. It's so bad. I'm so bad at it. I'm just like, "What am I gonna be talking about?" That's it.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: That's not bad.
Dr. Alex Gett: Yeah. Performance Rehabilitation and Strength Training podcast, so that's the name of the podcast. I started a website, a little IG profile, and that's just kind of separate...
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: It's not little. It's a big deal.
Dr. Alex Gett: Well, it's my thing that's kind of separate from all my personal accounts and stuff like that. But it was an opportunity again to learn. I'm talking to dudes from Australia, like a high intensity whatever from Australia and I'm just like...
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Wait, a different Australian than the one who works here? I love that.
Dr. Alex Gett: A little bit different. But it's just I'm learning and then I'm applying stuff and it was a cool little side gig, I enjoy it. You just meet people.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Dude, you are a creator. You created that opportunity to learn from others. That is the theme that I have just heard over and over during our talk here is you're willing to work hard to create something for yourself, for your family, which is so respectable. It's really awesome to see. And I think those are major reasons why you have just flourished. That's how you became from student to stud in two years, it's really amazing. And so I think that's advice that is worth sharing. You have to put in that work and if the stuff's not around you, you go out and make the stuff, you go out and create the stuff. Okay. So you mentioned the podcast. How do people find you otherwise?
Dr. Alex Gett: So the name of podcast. I have a website as well, agprst.weebly.com. My Instagram handle is PRST_PT. I have a Twitter as well, same PRST_PT, that's where I'm most active. Again, I haven't posted as much lately but I'll definitely. I have a lot of content to just catch up on, make a bunch of reels and stuff like that. But I'll talk to anybody. Like I said, man, I'm open to having those conversations. And I have some episodes I'm sitting on right now. I just need to chop them up and get them out there. You can find that podcast anywhere, it's on all the major sites and all.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: I love that. And it's such a great podcast, it's very clinical in nature and I've learned a ton listening to it and it's just great to see where you're going. This is a show, this is a platform that we wanna hear feedback on. We wanna hear what you thought about listening to Dr. Alex Gett's story. We wanna hear about future topics. You can find us at firstname.lastname@example.org. This is a show that is about sports PT. It's by sports PTs, you're learning from an awesome one in Dr. Alex Gett right now, and it's for sports PTs and we just wanna make you better at what you do. So reach out to the both of us. Reach out to Dr. Alex Gett, reach out to us at pod@truesportspt, tell us what you wanna know. We will absolutely pay it forward. I wanna thank you for your time. You were awesome today.
Dr. Alex Gett: Yeah man, absolutely.
Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: I appreciate it. Alright, take care guys.
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