Baseball is one of the last sports to embrace the performance benefits of weight training. The same fears that are coming from the conventional wisdom of the game of baseball existed even in football back in the 1950’s. Everyone was told that weight training would ruin the football player by making him bulky, slow, tight and injured. Sports like Football, basketball, all of the Olympic sports and even Golf have grown up to learn that this was not true. Weight training has helped to mold some of the greatest athletes in the world. Baseball is slowing coming around to this phenomenon but many of the conventional coaches in the game continue to live in ignorance and continue to beat this fear of weight training into the young players of this game.
Sport Specific Weight Training Pioneer Alvin Roy
Alvin Roy was the pioneer who started this battle with football back in the 1950’s. It all started when he found that while working with the Olympic athletes as an Olympic trainer, that the better athletes where always the Olympic lifters. They had higher vertical jumps than the other athletes and they were stronger and faster. He was curious to find why the Olympic lifters, year in and year out, where the superior athletes. He eventually discovered that it was their Olympic lifting. He then decided to use these same training methods on all the other Olympic athletes and performance went up across the board. He then took this discovery and education to the LSU football team in his home town of Baton Rouge, LA. The LSU football coach was not interested in these training methods because he believed in the conventional wisdom at the time that weight training was bad for the athlete. Alvin Roy was eventually able to convince the LSU football team to embrace his training methods and the results would eventually transform the game of football. These results included taking LSU from the worst team in their conference to the best. Also their team injuries just about disappeared. A few years later, Alvin Roy became the first strength and conditioning coach to be hired in a professional sport. He was hired by the San Diego, Chargers. Watch this documentary on Alvin Roy to learn more.
It is amazing to believe that there are any sports, in today’s age, that still preach the fears of weight training from the 1950’s. It is unsettling to know that baseball is the loudest one. Being that I come from the school of Alvin Roy, through Coach Gayle Hatch his predecessor, makes me feel like I am carrying his torch. Kurt Hester, who is in the strength and conditioning hall of fame and one of Coach Gayle Hatch prodigy’s, and I have carried Alvin Roy’s legacy into baseball with hundreds of pitchers and position players. These ball players have benefited from our training programs that where modeled from Alvin Roy’s but there are still many non believers, especially pitchers, who live in fear of weight training every year but yet have average to below average pitching velocity.
Fear Mongering the Pitcher with Weight Training
We have all had that coach who did his best to convince us that weight training is the pitcher’s receipt for disaster. We all have had our in-boxes inundated with emails trying to convinces us that we are wasting our time with weight training, if we want to enhance performance and increase pitching velocity. We have all seen an interview of an MLB pitcher who proclaims that all he did to make it to the top was to throw a ball as far as he could everyday. It is no wonder that so many pitchers that come into my training facility are so out of shape, so physically and mentally weak and so scared to step outside of the box and enhance their performance to an elite level.
The best way I have found to help these young pitchers overcome the fear of weight training, so they can allow themselves to improve and grow again as an athlete, is to help them first understand the mentality of these conventional coaches who have been using these fear tactics on them their entire careers. These coaches are more than likely the older generation of coaches who grew up playing this game when the benefits of weight training was unknown. If they were players they did not use it in their careers, so they do not coach their players to use it as well. A coach only has to coach what he knows and knows well. Most of these coaches do not have a lot of knowledge of how weight training will benefit the athlete, especially the pitcher. When they think of weight training they think of large bodybuilders who look like they can’t put their shoes on in the morning. like in the picture above. They have no understanding or education of sport specific weight training and how it benefits the pitcher, so they don’t teach it. Most of them try their best to scare the pitcher into never using it in their careers because these coaches live in fear of losing their own jobs. This fear comes from their novice understanding of weight training for the pitcher. This is also why these same coaches will try to convince you that the same amount of pitchers from their era, threw as hard as the pitchers today, and once again this is not true. In the past ten years we have a handful of pitchers who have touched 100 mph (Chapman, Verlander, Zumaya, Broxton, Wilson, Jenks, Johnson, Lidge, Lindstrom, Benitez, Wagner http://www.efastball.com/baseball/stats/fastest-pitch-speed-in-major-leagues/) and in the era of Nolan Ryan, he was one of the only ones.
All I can continue to do to help battle the conventional wisdom of this game, that has put fear in hundreds of thousands of young ball players and to continue to carry the torch of Alvin Roy and Coach Gayle Hatch, is to continue to post the science that is coming out everyday which proves the benefits of weight training for the pitcher. I will also continue to increase the pitching velocity of countless pitchers who come through the 3X Pitching Velocity Programs and I will do my best to ignore these “Old School” coaches, as should you, who are set in their ways and are a dying bread.
If you are an “Old School” coach who has been preaching against weight training for your entire career and you would like to voice your opinion or your conversion into the new school of sport specific weight training for the baseball player, then please post your comments below. I am always open to debate on this site.