There are individuals who simply know how to make people better. They become great. From stars to legends. When it comes to elite athletic performance, one of the masters of the craft is South Florida-based performance coach Nick Soto.
“I just try to help other guys get where I couldn’t,” Soto shared when describing what he does. He explained that he got into training as a self-proclaimed “failed athlete”. Soto played college football and qualified for the Tae Kwon Do Olympics, but was unable to compete due to a knee injury. He had numerous injuries, ten knee surgeries, four of which were to fix a chronic ACL problem. He’s had a knee and shoulder replaced in the past year just because of his playing days. He attributes his injuries to his relentless pursuit of greatness.
“I’m not afraid to push myself and push my body a bit to get an edge that I might not have had,” Soto said. Even though his injuries have limited his potential as a player, he feels they have benefited his career now.
Soto’s strategies are proven because he spends time and energy doing research and reading studies before putting anything into practice. Its most famous athlete serves as a testimony. What may surprise you is that this athlete is neither a footballer nor a boxer. He’s a baseball player – Manny Machado of the San Diego Padres. Machado and fellow Major League Baseball player Yonder Alonso contacted Soto eight years ago, wanting him to put his methodology into practice for them. The results were undeniable.
Alonso’s power has improved significantly in a year of working with Soto. Prior to the 2017 season, he had never hit more than nine homers in a season. He turned 28 in the 2017 season between his time with the Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics.
“I was exposed to plyometric training early on,” Soto says. “I was exposed to coaching early on too because I was pushed to train in many Tae Kwon Do sessions. It was in the early 1990s.”
Soto worked under his Tae Kwon Do coaches in high school, and they used strategies from other sports such as track and field and figure skating. As a result, Soto found himself in better shape overall. Helping to coach other athletes was also helping to lay the groundwork for a coaching career.
Fast forward several years, and Soto then opened his own training center in Miami, Florida. While the focus was on ordinary people (also known as gen pop, to the general population), Soto wanted to stand out in his field.
Dan Solomon, President of Muscle & Fitness and Mr. Olympia adds, “It is always our privilege to shine the spotlight on those who raise the bar in the world of athletic performance. Nick is a gifted trainer and his clients understand how valuable he is.
“We wanted to train people like we were training our athletes,” Soto explained. They would also train competitive athletes at the same facility, with an emphasis on football players, track and field athletes, and boxers. He had a clear mission statement when asked how he likes coaching or coaching players.
“The thought process has always been there, which makes athletes as explosive as possible, makes them as resilient as possible, and makes them as capable as possible from a movement standpoint.”
Soto likes to train his athletes to sprint, no matter what sport they play, as it can benefit them in other aspects of performance.
“It also makes them safer, less likely to suffer groin injuries and they don’t have to push themselves because they run efficiently.”
What Soto doesn’t do is interfere with the work coaches of athletes do in their specific sports. Its goal is to make the athlete better overall without compromising their skills.
“They should be able to be successful in their sport if they have the kind of skills needed. I don’t want to take on the responsibility of teaching the athletic part. I don’t tell wide receivers what route to take or how to prepare. I leave that to their skill coaches, I just help give them the tools they need from a tissue and neurological perspective.
“Back then, my experience with baseball players was with a few high school teams and a few local guys,” Soto recalled. Nevertheless, he saw the opportunity and seized it by analyzing what they needed from him and determining the best way to serve them.
“It comes down to the same thing I was doing – making them resilient and tough, nimble and able to move, and then making them explosive and powerful.”
As for Machado, Soto thinks he would have been a superstar no matter what he did. However, he feels he helped Machado’s resilience – as the 2022 season showed. Machado suffered an ankle injury after landing awkwardly at first base in a game against the Colorado Rockies. The initial thought was that he would be on the disabled list for six to eight weeks. Amazingly, he was back on the diamond 11 days later, ready to reprise his role as one of the game’s best.
“He texted me ‘thank god we did all that bull ankle stuff we did,'” Soto said with a laugh. “He was always complaining about it when we did it, and then he came back and said, ‘Thank God we did it.
Those were the only games Machado missed in the 2022 season. He batted .298 with 32 home runs and 102 RBI, nearly receiving an MVP award. A few months later, Machado signed an 11-year, $350 million contract extension, securing Machado’s status as one of the best earners in baseball history. However Soto’s tactics are portrayed, they will be used regularly throughout the duration of this historic contract.
The performance director at Lox Performance in Doral, Florida, Soto is great at what he does, and he succeeds because he’s in the business for the right reasons – helping athletes improve, improving quality of performance and life. His latest program, Gorilla Baseball, is designed to help little players increase their strength, which he says is vital for their well-being and longevity.
“We do Olympic lifts like crazy, snatches and split jerks, power cleans and squat cleans,” he explained. “We have had nothing but excellent results. Our guys go a lot harder, are a lot tougher, and they’re stronger doing those moves. It will only benefit them. »
For more information on Gorilla Baseball or Lox Performance, visit www.thelox.com. Follow Nick on Instagram @nicksoto_performance.