Ep64 Haylie McCleney 24/7 Focus on Tokyo2020

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Me in Softball kit

Me in Softball kit

I hope this little, sporty letter finds you doing well and enjoying the summer. I’m a big fan of sun & heat so am happily writing this from my lovely and hot studio in Cleveland.

This week’s episode is especially fun for me because in junior high school I played softball. We were not good, often losing by the mercy rule (which my mother was happy about because she could go home early rather than continue to watch us get whupped). This was during a time when coaching of girls’ sports was not what it is today. Our coach told batters to “Hit the ball!” As bad as we were, I’m confident we all knew that was the aim. So!, talking to Haylie was super terrific! I loved learning about all the intricacies of softball, her intense preparation and training, along with what she loves about the game since I clearly missed most of that.

The episode is also special because I LOVE talking strength training. All the better because, Haylie is incredibly smart, totally immersed, and dedicated to her work as a Strength and Conditioning Coach at Florida A&M. I’d love to train with her, even for a short time. (Just putting that out there. 😃 )

Some things that stood out from the conversation were:
1. Because there isn’t a vibrant pro league in softball (and in many women’s sports), softball players have only 4 years to master their game, which really is just not enough. Sports take time, (which Haylie also talks about). And here we have yet another reason it’s a real bummer for women not to have the same opportunities as men do in sport.

2. Haylie is completely focused on making the Olympic roster for Tokyo2020. Like so many women’s sports that only get solid media coverage during the Olympics, this year and next are crucial to drum up support and win big to create interest. We just saw this same dynamic play out during the Women’s World Cup. And not solely for the USA Team. Lower ranked teams like Thailand, Chile, and Jamaica have players who were quoted saying that they need to put on good performances to add weight to their asks for greater equity. Notice I say greater equity not equity. Equity would be too huge a leap to achieve in one go.

3. Strength training is important for everyone. Haylie talks about how lifting a few weights a couple times a week as we age can keep away all sorts of diseases of the body and the brain. This is super important stuff!
Ages ago, I read a recommendation of weight lifting your age in percentage of total workout time. Meaning, if you are 50, strength train 50% of your total hours of exercising. If you are 20, 20% of your workout time is strength training. As an older endurance athlete, this is tough for me but I have greatly increased how much time I spend in the gym. It is, by far, the change that has made the most difference in my health and fitness over the past decade.

This episode with Haylie is the first of 3 episodes with coaches. I’ve been editing the next one with University of Buffalo’s Women’s Basketball Coach, Felisha Legette-Jack, and, it too, is terrific. Very different and very terrific. So stay tuned. Subscribe to the podcast wherever you find your podcasts.