I received this great question from a high school coach in South Carolina recently. He asks about lifting and competing on the same days.
Here’s what Coach Elliott has to say…
“Hey Coach…I am Toby Elliott, the head baseball coach for Blacksburg High School in Blacksburg South Carolina. We have a teams sports class that some of my players are taking. It is basically a weight lifting class. From my understanding the lifting coach (he is a football coach at our school) is going to make players lift on game day (circuit training with light weight). Before I ask you your opinion as in to “corner” you for your opinion…I believe it is a bad idea. I have lifted weights all of my athletic career, even now at age 39 I lift five days a week, twice a day. I try to keep updated on the latest information, techniques, etc. Our program is a very competitive program. I worry about fatigue (if not early, at the end when momentum is crucial for playoffs or regions championship) and of course I worry about injury. I can’t see where it will actually help us win games, but I can see the potential of hurting us. I can’t dictate who should and shouldn’t b/c most are pitchers and the guys not starting may end up pitching relieve…I worry about refueling the body with the proper carbs/protein and recovery factors. I am not asking for them to sit….They can wipe down weights, spot other lifters, walk, I have some solo drills they could do, stretching, a number of things they could do and be graded on…What about the day after? Lower body only?…I understand the concept of going light during the season (to preserve muscle built during off season) What about days of bull pen work during practice? I am asking several people that I respect in the game of baseball and I need your thoughts before I go to the lifting coach, administration, and whoever else I need to go see to protect what we have built at Blacksburg. Basically what does your baseball team do….thanks…toby Elliott”
Coach, this is a great question. My short answer…don’t do it.
I feel you are correct in your judgment with the fatigue issue. I also agree with you that the off-season is the time to get into better shape. In-season, the player is trying to maintain.
Also, it takes time to recover from a great lifting session. More than a day. Especially with pitchers. I would say they should have two days of rest in their shoulder area before throwing heavily or competing. Probably even three days rest during the season.
I agree with you that working on some great flexibility exercises early in the day might be ok, but you still run the risk of fatigue as well as getting tight all over again.
I say game days are for competing. Off days are for recovery.
I wonder, does this football coach have the kids to a full workout on game days during the football season?
Coach Elliott, good luck with talking with the football coach and administration. Let me know if I can be of any help.
Remember, come from what they care about first. Then it should open up the conversation and they should ask what you care about.
Your players are lucky to have you as a coach.
I would also pay attention to the type of lifting they are doing. Traditional football lifting isn’t necessarily the best for baseball players.
Good luck and…
Train like a champion today!