I grew up an athletic kid. I was a multisport athlete, even dabbling in gymnastics and dance classes for a few years. After my freshman year, I stopped all of my other activities to focus solely on softball. I “specialized” (I have thoughts on this but we’ll save that for another time). I had team practice 2-4 days a week depending on the time of year. I had pitching lessons, batting lessons, clinics and tournaments all year long. I ate, slept and breathed the sport and I was good. I began receiving recruitment letters by the time I was 14. Here’s the thing... I was weak. I had a very trusted coach that told me to never lift weights. It was dangerous, my shoulders would get too big and it would mess up my rotation. I took his advice and I didn’t. I’d skip upper exercises and get frustrated with lower exercises because I wasn’t as strong as I thought I should be. The weight room was just a waste of time in my opinion.
You know what happened? I stalled. I stopped making progress. I felt weak, slow. I could barely throw the ball from third base to first. I had extreme shoulder pain. I went from regularly having doubles, triples and RBI’s a game to barely getting on base. I was tired. Defeated. Burned out. So, my junior year of highschool- I quit. The end, game over.
Why does this matter? Well, because now I know that things could have been much different for me. I’m not trying to relive my glory days or give excuses. I don’t have any regrets. What I do have is passion.
A sound strength and conditioning program is essential for athletes to fulfill athletic potential. Not only does it make them faster, stronger, tougher and more explosive. It makes them less injury prone. It gives them something else to get better at instead of hammering the same skills over and over. It gives them a break from the field that will help them improve while reducing likelihood of burnout. It sets them up for success after their athletic career is over.
Skills eventually peak. Strength, power, and athleticism do not.
My goal is to help as many young athletes as I possibly can. They deserve it.
Coach Jocelyn Bartmess