Appearance Can Fool You

While vacationing in Florida for spring break, I had a chance to observe minor league teams working out. What caught my attention was the conversation between a player and one of the strength coach/trainers. The trainer was commenting to one of the players who was running that they were lazy and did not know how to train; and stated "I can out run and conditioning anyone in this camp". By looking between the two, the trainer who has this Adonis physique and the portly pitcher/player, my buddy said, "twenty bucks...the trainer will out run this guy". To make the story short, Not only did the portly player out run the Adonis physique strength coach, the player embarrassed the whole strength staff. Vern can you explain to me why a portly player out ran a physically fit strength professional.

Interesting story that must be answered on two levels: First it is probably not advisable to challenge athletes you are working to a competition. It is a no win situation. If you beat them what does that prove? If you do not then you lose their respect. Neither alternative is acceptable. Also they are professional athletes for a reason, you are not. Demonstrate the activity don’t challenge their ability to do the skill. Teach them how to do it. The second level answer is to never judge a book by its cover. Looking buff and being fit are two different things. Appearance is certainly deceiving. As coaches sometimes we are quick to judge by appearances. The real question is what are you fit for? Also how do you measure fitness? Is max vo2 important for baseball as one of the Mets team doctors once told me? Bottom line is to know the game you are preparing for, the training you do should be appropriate for the sport you are training for. Pitching is a good example. Why do pitchers have to do the amount of running they do? It certainly does not reflect the demands of their activity which are a series very explosive bursts lasting less than two seconds with 25 – 30 seconds recovery. Also a pitcher does not have look like Adonis to pitch effectively, remember Force = Mass X Acceleration. Nobody ever said that the mass had to all muscle. It is nice to see a pitcher who looks good in a uniform, but the ultimate measure is to be able to perform and stay healthy.


At 4/2/07, 8:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the problems with strength coaches are egos. They measure their egos along with how much weight they can lift. Unfortunately, professional basketball, football, hockey, and baseball players are not measured on how much they lift. It is measured by TDs...FGs..HRs.


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