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Written on December 7, 2012 at 9:08 am, by Eric Cressey
Yesterday, a reporter for MLB.com came by Cressey Performance to interview a few of our major leaguers. While there, he asked me my take on whether or not I thought players’ off-season preparation changes dramatically from year to year. My answer was something to the effect of:
The fitness and strength and conditioning industries as a whole change significantly each year, so that would certainly be the case in baseball, which features throwing – the single fastest motion in all of sports – and alarmingly high injury rates at all levels. Guys certainly have mainstays that they stick with regardless of the points in their career, but with innovation as prominent as it is in our field, I change quite a few things each year with how we prepare our guys.
With that in mind, I thought I’d highlight four things that have forced innovation in the way that we train athletes and general fitness folks alike.
1. New Research
There are more scholarly journals – and research review services summarizing these publications – than ever before. Even if you aren’t trained in research methods, you can easily get access to interpretations of these research studies via those who are. And, just by looking around online and attending seminars, you can see how other coaches and trainers in the field are integrating this new research in their programs.
2. Better diagnostic procedures, physical therapy treatments, and surgical interventions.
Nobody had ever heard of a sports hernia or femoroacetabular impingement before the last 10-15 years, yet nowadays, they’re incredibly common diagnoses in athletes involved in violent extension and rotation. And, taking it a step further, when you can diagnose something, you have to be able to treat it – whether it’s conservatively or surgically. Diagnostics, surgeries, and PT all give rise to the need for more trainers to understand new conditions – both from prevention and post-rehabilitation standpoints.
3. More competition.
When you’re King Crap on Turd Mountain, there really isn’t much incentive to try to better yourself. Nowadays, though, while the fitness industry at times is perfectly described as “Turd Mountain,” there is no definitive “King Crap.” This is especially powerful when you consider that the industry is moving toward more and more specialization. People are focusing on specific athlete/client populations and still not differentiating themselves as the absolute best. As a result, everyone who wants to be near the top really has to bust their butts.
As an interesting parallel to this, try to name a major professional sport where one athlete is so far superior to all the rest. I’ll give you Usain Bolt, but in every other major discipline, there is a far more even playing field. I think innovations in strength and conditioning have played a big part in that. Outstanding fitness can make up for a lot of what high level athletes may lack in raw talent/skill.
4. An aging clientele.
Anyone who has outstanding client retention can attest to this: people change over the course of the many years that you train them. I’ve trained 13 year-olds who have gone on to be taken in the MLB draft. I’ve written letters of recommendation for former high school athletes to get into medical school. I’ve watched how career and financial success can change exercise adherence both for the good and bad. And, I’ve learned that training single athletes is much different than training those athletes when they’re married and have children. Heck, pretty soon, I’ll be training their kids, too!
Aside from these social factors, people’s bodies change. There may be fluctuations in life stresses that may impact what they can do in the gym. There may be aches and pains over the years around which you have to work. An offensive lineman might decide he wants to lose 100 pounds after his playing career is over. A client may even finally have a hip replacement they’ve been putting off for a decade.
The point is that you have to be educated in order to adjust to clients as they evolve as people. And, in order to do that, you have to be educated – and stay educated.
This is one reason why I’m so proud to be a part of the Elite Training Mentorship team. Twice each month, this site updates with in-services, exercise demonstrations, case studies, sample programs, and webinars to keep you up-to-date on what’s going on with the fitness industry.
I’m excited to announce that through tonight at midnight, you can get 30 days of Elite Training Mentorship for just $1 – and to sweeten the deal, we’re offering the entire Fitness Business Weekend seminar (twelve 45-60 minute presentations) as a bonus to those who sign up. This is an absurdly good value, so don’t miss out. Click here for more information.
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