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3 Obstacles to Strength Development

It's never too early to start making a plan for the summer. If your goal is to increase strength, we want you to be aware of 3 obstacles which are standing in your path to next level performance.

1. Inconsistent Training

One of the biggest struggles our pitchers are facing is keeping a consistent training schedule throughout the year. The single greatest factor in strength development is consistency over time, yet the playing schedule for most pitchers is not conducive to strength development. It's not from a lack of desire. You know the time commitments involved in youth baseball. Some of you are playing 60+ games a year, many out of town and spending thousands of dollars a year on "performance" but only fractions of that preparing for that performance with strength training. Youth baseball has set up millions of kids to try and get to the next level by doing the exact opposite of college and pro ball clubs who spend year after year training and becoming stronger. We only see the games on TV, but most don't see all the lifting and training that these ball players are doing before and after games and throughout the off-season. The time + discipline it takes to actually see change, to feel power develop, and to take your game to the next level is not going to happen without a change in mindset from playing as many games as possible to training as much as possible. This takes a consistency that sets the priority of training above everything else. 2. Poor Nutrition + Conditioning-based School Training Power is learning to apply maximum force in minimum time. Sounds ideal for a pitcher right? In order to develop power, we must develop more fast-twitch muscle fibers and then make them stronger. This takes time, attention to detail, and consistent training over a long period of time. Which leads us to the two greatest concerns with school workout programs: First, they typically will not have a coach who is hired specifically to teach strength movements, but instead will have a baseball coach fill in weight room time. Not always, but many times this means players are lifting with questionable form and because of this, not lifting a very high percentage of their potential power output. Not only does injury risk skyrocket, but from a performance standpoint this minimizes strength gain and power potential. If you are relying on your school to provide training that determines your career in baseball, it's vital that there be a professional strength coach whose sole job is to teach movement that enhances strength potential (proper squat, deadlift, olympic lifting, jumping, overhead strength, etc.) If your school does it is extremely rare, so take full advantage! If not, we are the place for you. Second, because these athletes are not able to lift high percentages of their strength potential (usually because the social nature of these workouts isn't the best for serious attention to detail) these workouts usually combine aerobic conditioning in order to make the workouts "tough" (running, long interval workouts that demand a slow pace, "team building workouts", etc.) which is training slow-twitch muscle fibers and decreasing fast-twitch muscle fibers that create pitching power. Poor Nutrition If those risk potentials weren't scary enough, add onto this a poor diet (we are talking about NOT EATING ENOUGH) we have recipe for disaster! This is the case for a lot of you. By not eating enough calories during the day, the body is going to store fat, burn muscle, and throw your hormones into chaos trying to find energy that should be coming from calories (food). This is why you are losing weight or maintaining weight year after year without putting on muscle. Not only will your workouts be sub-par, but you could start having trouble sleeping, paying attention in school, and other issues. My greatest fear is that parents will spend thousands of dollars in team fees, travel, and showcases so his/her son will have a chance to play at the next level, yet spend year after year... 1) not eating near enough protein to build muscle and enough carbohydrates to fuel training and performance, while 2) training slow-twitch muscle fibers that the coach assumes is making players stronger because they look worn-out after they train 3) and all of it done inconsistently for 4 years Which leads me to the last obstacle to developing strength and the greatest obstacle to consistency...baseball itself. 3. Baseball Sounds crazy right? But it's our conviction to inform you of ways we see injury risk skyrocket and performance drop. It's very simple:

"Baseball is keeping you from your potential"

Let's reframe this appropriately. Too much baseball, at the wrong time, is dangerous to your future. You have heard us talk endlessly about the injury statistics in pitchers, but what we might not talk about as often is how baseball is keeping you from developing as a player. Strength is built through consistently (point #1 above) training correctly (point #2). Baseball makes each of these obstacles even bigger because from the age of 9 and 10 years old, every game/try-out/tournament feels vital to success. But here's why that could be a problem. Almost weekly we have players come in to training and ask to "take it easy" because they are pitching in this tournament or that showcase. Not a big deal, those are important. But what happens over the course of 4 months when 60 or 70 games keep us from training? That's a major chunk of the year. Add in another sport for a few months of the year and all of the sudden you've lost over half the year of training. Add in the time it's going to take in order to recover the lost strength from the baseball season (Yes if you are rare you will maintain strength during the season, most will lose) and you are looking at 2-3 months where gaining strength is even an option!! Today, Major Leaguers are lifting weights and training before and/or after games because they know if they aren't getting stronger and moving forward, they are moving backwards. Even if your goal isn't to make it to the Pros, why not implement that strategy into your own career, no matter the level. Especially for young athletes who are developing. What we, other successful training programs, and elite coaches advocate is the priority of training over playing. It's not enough for 99.999% of you to simply show up and throw the baseball. Not if you want to be the best. To dominate. To be feared on the mound. It's cliche but its true. The greatest players work the hardest when nobody is looking.

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Here's how we are going to help you overcome these obstacles: 1) Teach you the proper way to train power and strength for pitching performance. You can train with our professional strength coach as long as you want, but will learn how to take these principles home with you to put in place over your entire lifetime of training. 2) Give you coaching on basic nutrition principles for performance. 3) Give you a place to train as often as you want to for 12 months a year including: pitching instruction, mobility, arm care management, and strength. You will go home more knowledgable every day with the tools to implement training yourself and taking ownership of your arm. If you are interested in either strength training 2-days a week this summer, joining our power pitching class, taking pitching lessons from Bill Thomas, or any combination of these: Email us at: powerpitching@madisonpts.com or call (601) 898-1828

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