Mark Schleiffer of East Brunswick (Princeton Commit) texted me yesterday after getting his 100th win!
Mark has been an all state wrestler throughout high school and has committed to wrestle at Princeton with his brother, Jon who was a 4 x All State Wrestler and a state champion his Senior Year.
I always tell parents and athletes, SUCCESS LEAVES CLUES.
What can we learn from Mark?
Here’s a List of common practices and traits I picked up on as soon as he sent me a text message.
– Mark trains year round with us. He never pulls the “I’m too busy” line during the in season.
– His grades are EXCELLENT. He has been accepted to Princeton University. He achieves Excellence in ALL areas of his life, NOT just wrestling.
– Mark does NOT live close to any of our locations and he STILL trains with us 2 x week In Season! I know kids who live IN town who don’t show up in season. Mark drives 45-60 minutes each way to train.
– Mark improves his skill training year round by training at CJA Wrestling Club w/ Gene Lezark. He has been going to CJA for MANY years, since middle school. He doesn’t bounce around to 5 different coaches. There is MUCH to be said about sticking to 1 system and LOYALTY.
– Mark is TOUGH. He is Disciplined. I never feel that the Coaches are more motivated than Mark is. This is MORE than motivation. This is called DISCIPLINE. Motivation fades, Discipline is the Strength to do what you must do, not just what you feel like doing.
Above: Ray Jaz / NYU Wrestling, Bryan McLaughin / Woodbridge Wrestling (Drexel Commit) / John Poznaski / Colonia Wrestling
The Importance of Strength Training for In-Season Athletes
Many athletes and their parents are quite often worried about too much stress on the body during their sports season. They are right to be concerned, but they are mistaken to completely ditch their strength and conditioning program.
When an athlete is trained properly, he / she CAN handle in season strength training. In fact, this athlete will THRIVE and make progress while the competition begins to regress as the season continues.
But, an athlete who eats poorly, is inconsistent with strength & conditioning and has a “good enough” attitude towards training will never succeed at the highest levels.
And who wants to be good enough, right?
Being Stronger, Faster, More Confident & Less Susceptible to Injury is always a BIG advantage for athletes!
A properly designed and implemented strength and conditioning program during the IN Season is key for an athlete’s performance and health throughout the year, ESPECIALLY during the times they are in season.
Here are 4 Crucial Reasons Athletes Should Continue Strength & Conditioning In Season If They Want to Win More:
1) GET STRONGER WHILE THE COMPETITION GETS WEAKER
The Strength base is the foundation for an athletes sports performance: Speed, Explosive Power, Confidence……
Who wants to be weaker than the competition? NO Strength Work in season = Getting Weaker.
When you do not strength train for 2 – 3 weeks, the athlete will begin the process of losing strength, losing flexibility, endurance, confidence and sometimes athleticism & coordination is lost as well (depending on their sport).
Using proper in season strength training with short workouts, 1-2 times a week (some of our highly motivated athletes train more) during the season, depending on the sport being played, will help build upon the athlete’s off season Improvements and can even increase them farther.
An athlete should always be looking to increase their performance in season.
After all, The Season is what you’ve trained so hard for all through your off season.
In College, ALL athletes train year round. College athletes & coaches KNOW that this is crucial for having the physical and mental edge over the competition. But, for high school athletes, too often their parents pull them from in season training and tell us later, this was a big mistake they wish they never made.
Some of our athletes only train once a week for 25 minutes on average.
More is not better. Better is better when it comes to training athletes.
2) MINIMIZE / REDUCE INJURIES
Reducing your chances of injury is something all athletes are paying attention to.
Parents as well. The injury rate of athletes has increased dramatically through the years due to too much sports skill practice and not enough joint / muscular strength.
Almost all sports will cause muscular imbalances that can lead to injuries. Through receiving proper coaching, an athlete can improve their imbalances which improves sports performance. By improving your muscular imbalances you will reduce the risk of injury. 3) IMPROVE RECOVERY
Training in season will improve the recovery of the athlete.
Athletes are bound to get sore and beat up during their seasons. The best medicine for an achy body and muscles is movement to bring blood flow and range of motion. A proper workout will help ease this soreness, and keep the athlete ready to perform.
The goal of our in season strength program at The Underground Strength Gym is to improve your sport workouts / practices, NOT to take away from your sports performance.
Our motto is you’re done before you’re done.
Training optimally in season, NOT maximally. This type of smarter training improves your recovery and improves your performance.
4) BOOST CONFIDENCE
One of the biggest benefits of strength training is not the physical, but the mental strength you will develop and build upon.
In Season Strength Training creates a sense of confidence and mental toughness within the athlete that is above and beyond the competition who is not strength training in season. Training in-season will keep this mental edge and a dramatic leg up on the competition.
As you can see, in season strength training has powerful benefits when properly implemented.
Here is something to remember while wondering if you should come in and train…
“Doing a short 25 – 45 minute in season workout is 100% more than doing nothing to get better.”
If you want to be GREAT….
If you want to Win More…..
If you want the opportunity to achieve your best, then there truly is NO option.
Find the time to train in season while the competition finds excuses.
Parents – Sign Your Child Up for A FREE Trial & Athlete Assessment HERE
It is likely that come September we will open up an in season program with a 1 x week training option and a Sunday morning workout.
Training 1 x week in season is 100% MORE than Zero. This adds up BIG time.
If you stop training at The Underground, by the end of your season, you are at your weakest, your slowest, least confident and least prepared for the MOST important time of year: play offs, sectionals, etc.
Why STOP the very thing that gives you the edge?
“Too Busy” is what the NON successful say. We ALL have time for what is MOST important.
For the In Season Workouts……
Only current members can do this, though.
If you already quit, it’s too late.
The registration will open up in late August and will run in 3 month blocks:
Sep. 1st – Nov. 30th
I don’t want to have athletes here who bail out at the first sign of a busy schedule.
The desire to Spartan UP during tough times is what I want to see in you.
And, being “too busy” is not the case.
We all make time for what is important.
I know MANY hate me for being tough, BUT, I would hate myself for allowing others to make excuses when they are capable of achieving more.
I will always be OK w/ being hated for pushing people to be successful.
I don’t want to be LIKED b/c I allowed people to make excuses.
Through the years, after hearing countless times from our athletes & their parents that their Coach doesn’t want them to “lift weights”, doesn’t want them to train with us, doesn’t want them to train anywhere else, etc. it starts to get annoying.
After all, kids are # 1, right? At least that’s what “they” say.
In sports, there are experts for certain areas. We bring in experts to The Underground to speak to the kids on nutrition, motivation & mental toughness and any other area we have an opportunity to get help from someone who can help make our athletes better.
That’s the bottom line. Kids are # 1. My friend and colleague, Eric Cressey, a world renown Strength & Conditioning Expert, wrote the article below and gave us permission to share with Undergrounders. HOPEFULLY, the Coaches who have threatened these athletes to never train anywhere else or that they should not train with us will read this.
Those Coaches are the people who need it MOST. BIG thanks to Eric Cressey for sharing and giving us permission to post at The Underground Strength Gym Blog….
Q: I really liked your blog article on Crossfit for Baseball, but I am curious what your answer would be to a baseball coach who is adamant players shouldn’t lift weights at all My son’s coach is 100% against it.
A: It’s tough to even know where to begin with this one, but here goes! I’ll begin with a quote from my e-book, The Truth About Unstable Surface Training:
“…resistance training exercises performed on stable surfaces have been demonstrated effective in numerous research studies with respect to improving a variety of athletic qualities, including:
muscular strength (5)
aerobic endurance (53)
running efficiency (54)
anaerobic endurance (5)
rate of force development (66,90)
reactive strength (66,90)
These qualities transfer to improved performance in a variety of sporting tasks, including vertical jump (74), throwing velocity (79), sprinting speed (22), and running economy (53).”
(FYI, the reference numbers in this quote are directly from the e-book, so if you’d like the exact studies, please just request them below in the comments section)
Now, I’ll venture a guess and assume that your coach isn’t looking to manage a team that lacks agility, throwing velocity, sprinting speed, jumping prowess, and rate of force development. To be candid, even those who are stubbornly adhering to a useless training concept like long-distance running for pitchers can get closer to their chosen training effect (as silly as it may be) from lifting!
Further, research has demonstration that resistance training can improve endocrine and immune function, so players will get sick less often and feel better overall.
On an equally important note, remember that resistance training is one of the foundations of today’s physical therapy. Would your coach tell a physical therapist that resistance training as part of a rehabilitation program is inappropriate? I hope not! He’d be fired immediately by an athletic director for overstepping his bounds. So, along that same line of thinking, how in the world it is within his scope of practice to tell a kid that lifting is bad for him – either in terms of increasing injury potential or decreasing performance – is completely beyond me.
Throwing a baseball is the single-fastest motion in sports; you simply don’t decelerate those insane arm speeds without at least a bit of muscular contribution.
Also, don’t forget that ideal strength and conditioning programs encompass a lot more than just lifting weights. They includes good self massage work (foam rollers, etc), mobility training, sprinting/ agility/plyos, and much, much more. It begins with a detailed movement assessment to determine what stability or mobility deficits may eventually lead to injury. It may also be the only avenue through which an athlete learns proper nutrition.
The fundamental problem is that many baseball coaches think of terrible practices like this when they hear the words “lifting weights:”
Can someone please tell me how my “biceps will develop” with this? Only in this video does the biceps EXTEND the elbow. Yikes.
The main message here is that a lot of coaches think that lifting programs are either a) a waste of time or b) flat-out dangerous. Sadly, as the videos above demonstrate, in many cases, they’re correct in their assumptions.
However, eliminating lifting absolutely can really stunt the development of players and increase their likelihood of injuries. Throwing is dangerous when done incorrectly, and so are sprinting, fielding ground balls, and taking batting practice.
We don’t contraindicate those, though, do we? We educate athletes on how to participate in these training initiatives properly.
At Cressey Performance, each one of our pro baseball players lifts four times a week, throws the medicine ball 2-3 times a week, and does supplemental movement training 2-3 days per week during the off-season – and they continue lifting during the season (at a lower frequency and volume). This is true of both position players and pitchers.
Our high school and college guys get after it with similar frequencies as well, and we have middle schoolers involved in strength training programs as part of a feeder program as well. Business is growing, and more and more guys are being drafted and presented with college scholarships. Something is working.
Additionally, beyond just the direct training benefits of this system, there is something to be said for the camaraderie strength and
conditioning does for teammates on top of regular practices. The fact that kids actually requested this says volumes!
Hopefully, articles like this – and bright, forward-thinking coaches – will help to spread the word about what safe, effective training is – and where to get it.