Sport Specific Training

In the weight room you train for athleticism and on the field you practice your sport.

In other words, when training “sport-specifically,” organizing movements in the weight room based on what movements look like on the field, ice, or court leads many coaches and athletes down a path of ineffective training. Simply put, the weight room isn’t a place to mimic what you do on the field. Basing exercises off of this rationale will most likely result in poor choices for training.

You need to look at training for sport from a bird’s eye view. Instead of posing the question, “How do I make my training look like what I do on the field?” the better question is, “What physical qualities are required to excel at my sport, and perhaps my position?” From there, you can work backwards to train those qualities in the most effective means we know of at this point.

For example, it’s clear to most athletes that being strong, fast, powerful and explosive are fundamental to their sport success. The question then becomes, “How can I effectively train these qualities?”

You get strong by lifting heavy things through long ranges of motion. You get fast through practicing running fast. You get explosive through jumping, sprinting, and using exercises in the weight room that effectively make you more explosive.

This is why squats, deadlifts, bench presses, overhead presses, cleans, snatches, pull ups, push ups, rows, maybe some single leg stuff, and variations of these exercises are fundamental in building a strong and powerful body. It’s why doing sprints and practicing jumping high and far won’t go out of fashion anytime soon. These things are extremely effective at training the underlying physical qualities that most athletes are looking to improve. Strength, speed, and power.

Practicing your sport is where you take the strength, power, and speed that you’ve worked hard to develop and implement it into your play. That is “sport-specific” training. It’s the combination of effective weight room training and sport practice.

So lift weights, jump, run fast, and practice often.

Therefore, the brilliance in a great training program is not how similarly the movements you are doing LOOK like the sport you play. It’s not how fancy your speed and agility drills look or how similarly you train to your favorite athletes. Instead, it’s rooted in how the simple tools we have access to are moderated, and even more importantly, how well you are COACHED through the program.

Every football coach uses the same tools to play the game; running, throwing, catching and tackling. But not every coach or player wins championships.

The same is true for strength & conditioning. We all have access to the same tools, but how they’re implemented, who they’re implemented by, and how much effort you put into your training determines how much you get out of these tools.

Remember, the field is for practicing sport, a strength & conditioning program is for training athleticism.

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