The idea of sport specific training is a hype word that has been and will continue to be thrown around in the fitness and strength and conditioning community in hopes of generating sales or new clients who are looking for athletic development.
Having worked with athletes from various sports ranging from hockey, soccer, baseball, golf, and gymnastics, it is evident that the work we do is similar across all sports. When working with athletes the overarching idea and need to train is for injury prevention and for sport performance purposes. The idea of sport specific training is not something we accomplish while in a fitness facility or strength and conditioning facility. If you are looking for sport specific training, get out there and play your sport. Playing your given sport and training the technical/skill development aspects of your sport are the most specific thing you can do towards your given sport.
Working with athletes, everything we do will fall into and cover the categories of lower body hip hinge, lower body knee dominant, upper body push, upper body pull, power development, and core. Accomplishing these given areas can be done with various exercises, using various equipment, or even using no equipment. The diversity of exercises that all athletes should be performing regardless of sport is exponential. When we get to the idea of specific to sport, this will and should come in to play when we talk about injury risk factors. It is well known that hockey players need more focus on ankle dorsiflexion, and shoulders, while soccer players need more emphasis on hamstring strength, for example. These ideas are generalized ideas taken to elaborate on how we do add in an aspect of specificity to an athlete’s training for their given sport, but nothing we do is sport specific. The goal of training athletes, regardless of sport should be to build strength, mitigate injury, and enhance sport performance.
The idea of sport specific training should NOT be brought into the weight room and that should be done in technical skill practice while playing the given sport. Strength and conditioning for athletes should be specific to the individuals needs and NOT specific to the sport the individual is playing. As strength and conditioning professionals, our focus is to keep athlete’s injury free while enhancing sport performance and NOT to create sport specific training.
What we do today makes our body better for tomorrow.
Until next time,
Michael Silvestri, MS(c)