Today’s My 2 Sense blog was written by frequent contributor, Sal Marinello, President Athletic Development Coaching.
Depending on what Major League Baseball team you root for, you may be familiar with the now familiar career arc of the older star; consistent full-time production, reduced playing time but productive, reduced playing time and time missed due to injury but relatively productive, injured and less productive, injured and unproductive.
This cycle is not limited to baseball, as athletes in every sport age and eventually fade away. And while not all athletes experience prodiction-limiting injuries, these production-reducing/end-of-career injuries are extremely common in baseball these days.
Many athletes are their own worst enemy. For as important as off-season training has become in baseball, too many athletes are doing too much off the field, and this over-training has led to many of these end-of-career injuries. There is such a thing as doing too much work and many athletes, not just baseball players, are finding this out, whether they know it or not.
This over-training is one of the long-term negatives of baseball’s ‘Steroid Era,’ and has done more damage to more baseball players than steroids – or any other PED. Anybody using steroids – athlete or not – has an enhanced ability to do work and to recover from this work. Simply put, steroid users can do more, and more often, than the rest of us.
The training programs utilized by steroid users have infected the training programs used by non-users – wittingly and unwittingly – for generations and for the vast majority of people who have ever followed any kind of training program. Body building, a ‘sport’ that depends on steroids and other PEDs, has been the main infector of every kind of legitimate training for over 50 years. Amazing as it may seem, many of the training programs followed by baseball players and other legitimate athletes have roots in body building, not in legitimate performance training principles.
Baseball players who follow programs designs for, and used by, steroid users simply cannot keep up with the workload, which results in over-training and eventually injuries. Thanks to the advances in sports medicine, nutrition and legitimate performance training, baseball players should not be totally breaking down physically in their mid-30s. We should see more older players enjoying productive seasons without the associated injuries, without needing steroids or other PEDs.
The problem is that steroid and PED users, like ARod, set the tone by working out constantly, and for hours before games, and created the expectation that all players should have this work ethic, a phony work ethic. The reality is that there is only so much work a body can do, especially at the elite level, without steroids, and too many athletes are spending their physical capital on workouts and are losing games and, in many cases, years from their careers.
Next time your favorite older player is sidelined with an injury realize that it’s not the inevitable result of his age.
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