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  • Michael Richards

“I already lift at school.”

I make no bones about the fact that everything our athletes do at EAP starts in the weight room.




Not everyone wants to hear that, which is unfortunate. We as human beings are built to evolve. To get better. To find better ways to do things. So it makes it difficult for us sometimes when the oldest method is the best method. It kind of reminds me of the book A Case For Christ by Lee Strobel. He set out to disprove the life of Jesus Christ and became a believer as a result of his findings.

It basically ends up working the same way, the more people try to discredit or get away from the barbell the more we prove it’s merit. We have been sensationalized to think of powerlifters busting blood vessels and bodybuilders that cannot wipe their own rear ends and associate them with a barbell whenever people think of strength training. Strength training is how we become athletic, it’s how we become faster, it’s how we become higher jumpers, better harder throwers, harder hitters, the list goes on And on. Doing things outside of the weight room ad nauseam makes you very good at repeating the exact same motion at the exact same level. Getting better at something requires you to change the size of the output.

But that is a blog post for a different day.


Rather, this blog post is to help the reader understand how we work around a common issue we generally run into in the fall semester. That is when the “baseball only” athletes, that aren’t playing football, are required to work out with their team at school. Some of these athletes would like to come in here and train with us, but they have heard me “screaming from the rooftops” on social media about how you won’t participate in sports specific skill work at EAP until you have finished your work in the weight room. They understand that, but they’ve already participated in a workout with their team at school.

While that is true, the disconnect lies here, “your work” in the weight room can vary quite greatly depending on what you did at school today. Your work may consist of the things you need to balance out the work you did at school, and it may be sitting in the rapid Reboots for a while because they thought it would be a great idea to run you until you threw up. We use a myriad of recovery tools to help the athlete feel their best so they can go be their best every day.


“A fatigued athlete, soon becomes an injured athlete.”

Before I go any farther, I want to make this crystal clear, I applaud the coaches at the respective schools doing their very best to help their athletes get better. They know they have athletes that will absolutely not do one single thing to prepare themselves or to try to get better until practice rolls around sometime around Thanksgiving. So they are doing their dead level best. Seven out of 10 high school programs that I am familiar with have a respectable strength program in the fall for their baseball players. Those three, are really bad. I can’t sugarcoat that. So it is just another piece of the puzzle that we piece together. We, being myself and each athlete that we train.

If I am fortunate enough to have a relationship with the coaching staff at their respective high school I can talk with them and get an idea of what is going on on a daily basis, and then I can complement what they are doing to complete the work out.


Example:

School workout :

Squat x12,10,8,6,4

Bench x12,10,8,6,4

Power Clean x6,4,2,1

This workout is what is, I cannot control it, so my opinion of whether or not it’s a good idea doesn’t matter. I only deal with facts. The fact is, this session lacks work for the Posterior (back) side of the body. In laymen terms, it’s all push, no pull. A big no-no in basic strength programming. I program a (roughly) 1.5/2-1 ratio of Pull/Push exercises. So obviously this athlete will have a training program that is very “Pull heavy” to balance out those numbers, effectively allowing him/her to reap some benefit from the school workout.

Again, I am not criticizing coaches here. I couldn’t do their job. I admire and respect them more than I have time to explain here.

But the fact of the matter is the larger the group, the more watered down you must make the training session. That is just how this stuff works, it has nothing to do with the ability of the coaching staff. This is precisely why we are slowly but steadily, thankfully, FINALLY, are moving to what is referred to in the industry as a “semi private” model for training our older athletes. You don’t lose the coaching, you don’t lose the camaraderie of the group session, but it allows for individualization of the athlete training program.

It allows us to NOT have to run a one-size-fits-all, cookie-cutter type program. That is lazy, and it’s a disservice to our athletes and parents who are paying for it.

Always remember, I absolutely refuse to put my hands over my eyes and/or ears and pretend I don’t know the kid already used a lot of energy at school today. WAY too many private sector coaches get caught up in how stupid they think the school workouts are and just want to pretend it didn’t happen, and make the athlete just train again. And frankly, there are times when that is appropriate. If the workout was 3x10 back squat with 95 lbs for a 180 kid, that’s not a training session, that’s a mobility session. But I’ve been doing this a long time. I know when guys are tired. And I know how to make adjustments to give them what they need to be better tomorrow than they were today.


So here are some common concerns I here when people ask about this. I want to go ahead and warn you, I have hurt some feelings with my responses before. That is never my intention, I HATE doing that, but I don’t lie.

Usually the conversation goes like this.


“My kid wants to come workout and get better for baseball season, but he’s already lifting weights at school. How would that work?”


I explain what I just talked about in the previous paragraphs and prob 8 out of 10 parents are totally cool with that.

When I do speak with people that have further concerns they are usually one of the following four. I will also give my response to each valid concern.


“I don’t want him/her lifting weights twice in one day.“

I totally get that concern but understand,

They won’t be forced to simply repeat what was done at school. They will be given the things they need in order to “compliment” what was done at school. Not to mention a ton of recovery work to help their body speed up the healing process. All of that work at school is creating ability that is locked in a closet right now. The work we are going to do here, in addition to the sports specific skill work, is going to provide your athlete the key to the closet.


“What he/she is doing at school is good enough so I don’t want to pay for more weight room stuff. We just want the arm care.”

IF your athlete’s goal is to maximize every ounce of their potential as a baseball player, no it’s not. If your athlete’s goal is to just play ball and have fun with it without really selling out to see how good they can be, then yes it is good enough. But I’m sorry, I do not offer an “arm care only” training package. I do not tell the guy fixing my AC what I need and don’t need, because I have no idea, I just want my AC to work.


“I don’t want to pay for more of what he/she is doing at school.“

I totally get that concern but understand,

They won’t be forced to simply repeat what was done at school. They will be given the things they need in order to “compliment” what was done at school. Not to mention a ton of recovery work to help their body speed up the healing process. All of that work at school is creating ability that is locked in a closet right now. The work we are going to do here, in addition to the sports specific skill work, is going to provide your athlete the key to the closet.


“He/She will exaggerate the amount of work done at school in order to get out of work at EAP.”

We have created a VERY unique culture at EAP. Athletes come here excited to work. It’s infectious, and inspiring. We collect data and keep it on a “leader board” they complete to be on. If that doesn’t sound like something that would motivate your kid to work hard, I’m sorry, but I think you may be wanting this more than your kid.