young athlete trainingI did not see this when it happened, but Coach Mike Boyle sent it out in an email yesterday and I wanted to share it with you.

Newly inducted MLB Hall Of Famer John Smoltz felt strongly enough about year round ball to address it in his Cooperstown speech; here’s what he said about early specialization…

“Before I hand it over to the next inductee, I’d be remiss if I did not talk about Tommy John. I’ve been given an opportunity as one of the only players, the only one right now, to be inducted into the Hall of Fame with Tommy John surgery. It’s an epidemic. It’s something that is affecting our game. It’s something that I thought would cost me my career, but thanks to Dr. James Andrews and all those before him, performing the surgery with such precision has caused it to be almost a false read, like a Band-Aid you put on your arm.

I want to encourage the families and parents that are out there to understand that this is not normal to have a surgery at 14 and 15 years old, that you have time, that baseball’s not a year-round sport, that you have an opportunity to be athletic and play other sports.

Don’t let the institutions that are out there running before you guaranteeing scholarship dollars and signing bonuses (tell you) that this is the way. We have such great, dynamic arms in our game that it’s a shame that we’re having one and two and three Tommy John recipients. So I want to encourage you if nothing else, know that your children’s passion and desire to play baseball is something that they can do without a competitive pitch. Every throw a kid makes today is a competitive pitch. They don’t go outside; they don’t have fun; they don’t throw enough. But they’re competing and maxing out too hard, too early, and that’s why we’re having these problems. So please, take care of those great future arms.”

Amen to that and the same goes for year round hockey, soccer and any other athletic pursuit for youngsters.  THIS is exactly why we don’t do “sport specific” training for 10 year olds.  Do we work on athlete development?  Absolutely.  The goal is developing happy, healthy young athletes.


PS – because we see so many trainers get it wrong, we now have 30-minute semi-private sessions for athletes 12-13 years of age to help them learn the skills of movement that will support them throughout their entire career.  Call 519-645-6161 or email – info[at] – if you would like to learn more.