Your kid wants nothing more than to be better at their sport of choice, and you want to give them every opportunity for success. Logic would dictate that they follow a ‘sport specific’ training program designed for their sport…
‘Sport Specific Training’ is an overused buzzword.
Personal trainers use it all the time as a method to increase their marketability to athletic clients. I understand the concept…but it so often fails to provide results.
It wasn’t long ago that sport specific training meant just adding weight to your sports movements.
Ankle weights were used to help people jump higher. Weighted basketballs were used for shooting practice, and bungee cords were attached to every possible body part to provide resistance to ‘sport specific’ movements:
Then along came the researchers and proved that closely mimicking sports during weight training disrupts technique so much that performance actually decreases. Not to mention that it does a terrible job of building strength.
Sports science did a great episode explaining how a warm-up with a weighted golf club can rob you as much as 30yrds OFF your drive, and a weighted bat slows down your swing speed enough to decrease your ability to contact a baseball smoothly.
Don’t even get me started on agility ladder drills
Unfortunately just plain getting strong and fast has been lost…
It’s sad, cause a lot of people waste a lot of time being ultra specific, when general strength is what they really need.
Long story short- overemphasis on being ‘sport specific’ ultimately KILLS athleticism. Programs that have too much emphasis on being sport specific waste (very valuable) time and energy that could be put towards becoming stronger and faster.
K.I.S.S. (Keep it simple…)
Here is what has proven to work over and over again for hundreds of athletes, and WILL work for your son or daughter too:
- Get Stronger– Use big exercises like squats and dead lifts to increase the amount of force they can put into the ball, the ground, or the opponent!
- Add Power– Train in a manner that allows you to use that strength quickly. Speed kills. Exercises like olympic lifting, medicine ball throws, and plyometrics fit the bill here (if the athlete is already strong).
- Develop General Athleticism- The ability to change directions in an instant, react quickly, and accelerate like a bullet gives you a distinct advantage over your competition.
We can quibble about whether we call it ‘sport specific training’ or something else, but what I do on a daily basis is help athletes perform their best, so they can keep playing the game they love.
You are already doing ‘sport specific’ training. You just call it practice. Athletic training is about boosting the underlying athleticism of an individual, so the next time they show up to practice the coach has a faster and stronger athlete to teach the ‘sport specific’ skills to.
If you liked this article, share it with your friends and don’t forget to check out the top 5 training errors that kill athleticism!