Sport Specific Training – Are You Doing It?

Recently, the term ‘sport specific training’ has become a must for every athlete and their parents. Visions of having your kid become a first-round draft pick? Gotta go somewhere for some sports specific training…how else will he improve?
Well, I loved the idea of it too. It seemed to make so much sense, train the way you play and you’ll improve dramatically!

Now though, I think I know better. In fact, I think I figured it out (the concept; not all the details…yet…work in progress). Improving sports performance is about 3 things. Injury prevention, strength training, and skill training. The first two belong in the gym with your strength and conditioning coach, the latter with your sport coaches.
Injury prevention is about taking care of the little things. Self-myofascial Release (SMR) to ensure your tissue is in the proper state to do awesome things. Specific corrective exercises to ensure symmetry. Finally, proper hydration, nutrition and rest to cap it off.
The specific details are individualized but that’s the main structure.

The second part is about adding horsepower. This is the strength training component and its importance is immense. You need to get strong if you want to be fast, quick, and powerful! Don’t worry about agility ladder drills for quick feet, worry about how much force you can put into the ground. I don’t care how quick you can pick your feet up, if you can’t put force in the ground you won’t be better at your sport. Let’s take the pro shuttle for example. This is a staple in Combine testing. It involves starting in the middle with a cone on either side of you, each 5 yards away. You turn one way, run 5 yards and touch the ground, turn back and run 10 yards (touch) and return to your original spot. Done at full speed this drill seems all about quickness, and it is. The key though is taking the fewest steps possible, not the most. In order to accomplish this you need each step to have a large amount of force behind it. This comes from being strong!
Sprint work and plyometrics are also an important part of the strength program.

Finally, we have skill training. This is done often and involves drills and games of your sport. This is where you hone your skills, not in the gym on a bosu ball. Your skill work will improve a lot of things, but injury prevention or strength isn’t one of them. A good chunk of your conditioning will also come from the skill training. As an athlete, this should take up the most time. Will it be the most influential part of the process? Depends on where you are in your journey…some need the injury prevention the most, others the physical development, and some the skill work.

When you hear somebody talk about sport specific training make sure they aren’t just making a sales pitch. There is nothing sport specific about making your body more awesome and able to handle ANY sport! It’s about getting better!

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2 Responses to “Sport Specific Training – Are You Doing It?”

  1. Jamie Shaw Says:

    Keep them coming! Is there a way to get this blog feed automatically forwarded to my email?

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