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4 Lessons From Team USA Softball Player Haylie McCleney

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4 Lessons From Team USA Softball Player Haylie McCleney

In any sport, if you look at successful people, you will often find similarities among them in that sport. Softball is no exception. Haylie McCleney is one of the most successful softball players, currently boasting 3-time All-American honors while playing at the University of Alabama, and she has also had great success as a professional player and as a member of Team USA. What I found most interesting about her was her passion for strength and conditioning.

She continues to provide videos of different exercises and training tips that would be beneficial to any softball player. Her passion for softball and helping b2ap3_thumbnail_McCleney13.jpgothers is very obvious and when I reached out, she was very excited just to talk about softball and training. Here are some of the key takeaways from the phone call we had.

1. Start young - Haylie began lifting weights after her 8th grade season. Her coach had them do all of the main lifts (squat, bench and deadlift)  and made sure that technique was good at all times. This allowed her to build a large base and developed the habit of strength training early on. She said because of this it has stayed with her and she has never missed a game due to an injury. There was no “softball specific” training, but rather just learning basic movements, adding weight to them, and continually making progress on her lifts.

2. Train Upper Body - She laughed at me when I asked if she did exercises like bench press and other pressing movements. She presses every week, usually with a barbell, and compliments the pressing with either a vertical pull (chin ups) or a horiztonal pull (rows) and she does band exercises to maintain shoulder health. She also told me that at each level of play, the girls with shoulder injuries were generally the ones that didn't train their upper body or only did band work. Moral of the story: if you want the upper body to perform at a high level, train it hard and be sure to progress.

3. Lift heavy - This depends on the where game and practices fall, but she said she has continued to lift heavy on the main movements and feels that it has had a profound effect for her on-field performance. If you watch her play in the outfield, she is a very explosive player that is quick to make a play every time. b2ap3_thumbnail_McCleney10.jpgAfter her main lifts she will rotate accessory exercises and goes by how she is feeling that day, again depending on where she is in her competitive season.

4. Commitment - She said she feels that the edge she has over her competition comes from mental confidence in her physical ability from sticking with a strength training plan year round. How many players can say they never sat out because of an injury in high school, college, and even the pro ranks? Her commitment has helped her stay healthy so she can perform safely on the field.

This was a great experience for me as we were able to talk about her training experience and how it has helped shape her as a player. But also we were able to discuss different training methods and programs because of her background in strength and conditioning. Just from talking to her and hearing her excitement and passion for softball and training made me want to work harder to provide a better environment and experience for softball players of all ages.

Hearing her talk about the impact her high school strength coach had on her as a player and as a person was great to hear. We all need more strength, whether physical or mental, on the field or off, and strength in making the right choices.

Nick Showman

Showtime Strength & Performance




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Guest Saturday, 11 July 2020