Training hard isn’t enough—training smart makes all the difference
I have yet to meet the injured athlete who expected to be injured.
Everyone—pro, high-school kid, or average guy working out in the gym—has the same reaction: I can’t believe it. I worked so hard.
My question: Did you just work hard, or did you also work smart?
Not the same thing.
Hard work is good. But smart work is on a whole different level. When you work hard, you’re just working. When you work smart, you’re working hard on the right things, for specific results.
And no matter what sport you play, no matter at what level you play it, one of those results is not being injured.
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: Kids play the same sport in multiple leagues from an early age, wearing down their growing bodies before they reach adulthood, without the right kind of training or sufficient recovery time to manage the physical effects. In many cases, by the time they get to the pros, injury is predictable if not inevitable.
Now we’re seeing the same thing in baseball: There are currently more than 40 major league pitchers recovering from Tommy John or other arm surgeries, in addition to more than 50 pitchers on the DL with various strains, tears, and inflammations. You can point to many of the same causes: Too many innings for too many years, kids throwing for power without developing arm strength to support the motion. Even with mandatory pitch counts, rest days, and inning restrictions, you still have kids playing in multiple leagues with conflicting rules that allow for all kinds of loopholes. And contribute to all kinds of injuries.
You can sum up all the explanations in just a few words: Hard work is not always smart work.
For a pitcher, if most of your time is spent working on the skill of throwing a ball, with less time spent on developing the physical strength to support that skill, you’re not working smart. You can work on your form and technique and strategy and everything that goes into becoming a great pitcher. But unless you build the right machinery under that great-looking hood, you’re a Rolls Royce with a Yugo engine. All style, no performance.