As part of our commitment to the players and coaches of fastpitch, we are working with Kris Massaro, owner of Softball Strong and ArmProBands to bring you weekly input in regard to training and keeping these athletes healthy.
I’ve been training athletes for a really long time. Now, let me make one thing clear it doesn’t make me a good trainer. I played softball my entire life; I started with what is now referred to as “Rec Ball”, moved onto travel ball when I was 13 and then played in college at a D1 school.
I must confess, that does not make me qualified to train players now going through the same journey I did. I have also owned my own training facility for 20 years, that may give me a little more recognition that I know what I’m doing. I also have a BS in Exercise Physiology and some educational credentials through major fitness organizations and again I still do not feel it instinctively allows myself, or anyone to proclaim that I am a great trainer.
But I am a good trainer, and here’s why; my first goal is to educate my clients (or in this case my players) first, help them achieve their goals, not mine second, then to design a program that challenges them without putting them at risk of injury and lastly to create an athlete that has confidence not only in her ability to become a stronger, well rounded player but confident in herself.
The subject of weight training within the scope of the athletic world is really broad and generic. Coaches want players to get better on the field so they encourage them to get into the weight room. This at times comes in the form of the school’s football coach training girls like they train their football team. I’m not being biased, I’m being honest. I’ve seen this play out many times. I’ve also seen the complete opposite, no explanation whatever of exercises, no teaching of movements, no set schedule of what exercises players are doing and why they are doing it.
I approach designing a weight room program the same way I would approach playing a great team; who are my players? What are they capable of? What are their strengths and weaknesses (literally) and who is injured? Finally, what are we trying to accomplish?
In my eyes every workout should be a reflection of the group participating in it and should be challenging without becoming a disaster.
Let’s start with some basic Weight Room Do’s and Don’ts.
-Do make sure your daughter is 12 and above to begin a program with weight and strength training.
-Do make sure that every exercise is completely explained by the instructor including how to perform the exercise and why this movement is a good contribution to your program and that the instructor performs the movement to demonstrate how it should look.
Do- communicate with your trainer. They need to know if your injured, how the exercise felt, how the weight felt. It’s important that you communicate everything and that the trainer is receptive to it.
Do-make sure the trainer always focuses on form over speed of movement or weight.
Do- ask questions. You and your daughter should feel you have the freedom to ask any question without the trainer getting defensive.
-Don’t get caught up in the hype of new training form, ex players that just started training with no educational backgrounds, coaches recommendations without talking to the trainer first. Ask them their philosophy, their typical programs. You want a good fit for your daughter.
-Don’t go against your gut. If you feel like a trainer is pushing too hard say something.
-Don’t forget that every trainer should have a complete mobility program for players prior to lifting. If they throw players into a heavy routine cold it’s can lead to a ton of injuries. You wouldn’t go into a game without warming up right?
-Don’t allow your daughter to perform in heavy lifts if shes injured. There is always alternative exercises that can be done. If a trainer “guilts” your daughter into lifting through an injury run, fast.
-Don’t work with a trainer that is not giving your daughter or team 100 hundred percent of their attention. That means no texting, eating, talking on the phone, or disappearing for that hour. And yes, I’ve seen trainers behave like that, it’s poor training. Your trainer’s attention should be focused completely on the training session.
We have a great start in our series of weight room basics. Stay tuned every Thursday for more training and athlete health care tips.
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