My interest in strength and conditioning began soon after my 2nd year in college. Having played baseball my entire life up until that point, I was intrigued by the value of building strength and improving my performance on the mound. When I first started out with weight training I didn’t know about much more than bench presses and bicep curls. That’s what everyone does right? I was a complete neophyte when it came to strength and conditioning and had no idea what a solid program entailed. I’m finally realizing at this point in my training career one very important lesson:
In order to truly understand how training works, you have to log time in the trenches…..
While I do believe reading up on things related to training will enhance your knowledge, I place more value on the “doing” rather than just the acquisition of knowledge.
The best thing I could have done for my baseball career as well as gaining experience in the strength field, was to venture up to Cressey Performance in Hudson, Massachusetts. Needless to say, I first visited the facility in late summer of 2010 and still train/coach there. The way they did things in 2010 was very progressive and forward thinking for the baseball community. With a baseball tradition so far rooted in old school methodologies, it was a breath of fresh air to learn correct training applications for improving baseball performance. Had I just read Eric Cressey’s articles online, I would have missed the bread and butter of what it means to fully appreciate in the trenches training.
During my second off season of training at CP I began going to the inservice presentations. During inservices, a member of the staff discusses a topic usually related to baseball training and performance. For me, this was part of the in the trenches training. I would absorb the material during the inservice and put it into practice during my own training.
As my interests in strength have grown, I’ve begun to appreciate even more the value of hands on the bar experience. This can apply to all facets of life as well. I recently started working as a personal trainer. I am able to pass on information I have learned to help others achieve their goals. I am fortunate enough to have done some coaching/interning at Cressey Performance. I was taught how to properly coach athletes and clients. This is just another example of how gaining hands on experience can be of great benefit whether you are trying to become a better pitcher, trainer, or improve your overall fitness.
I don’t care who you are, no amount of reading about how to deadlift will actually help you pull more from the floor. You have to train. And I don’t mean just showing up and going through the motions. I’m talking about training like a savage and striving for constant progress. You’ve got to sweat, bleed, and exert EFFORT. When you’re training and looking to improve your performance, effort is what counts. Don’t rely on a textbook, website or magazine to tell you what works and what doesn’t. Get out there and get your hands dirty!
Train hard. Train heavy.