What exactly is sport-specific training?


Sport specific training has taken on a wide array of meanings. Each sport has its own selection of exercises.  Golfers take the cable handles and start rotating (which FYI, I highly do NOT recommend, at least at first, more of this at another time), football players bench, runners do leg press 1000 reps at a time.  Too many get caught up in the sport itself, without really breaking down the movements and demands on the body.  Every sport, excluding weightlifting/powerlifting, and rowing involve movements in all 3 planes of motion.  The exclusions only use the front/back sagittal plane.  Every other sport needs the body to move front/back, side to side, and rotate.  Every sport needs the core muscles to be able to stabilize.  Every sport needs power, yes, even long distance people need to spend some time on this.  Every sport also requires the joints to be healthy and mobile.  Injury prevention is huge.  You cannot perform well if you cannot participate.  I am not saying every program is generic for every sport.  However, there are many similarities and standards in training that need to be in place.  Many trainers are constantly trying to change things up, which, for sport, is not always the best thing.  It is important to master basic moves, which requires repeated workouts with the same exercises, just small progressions within those exercises.  Once a solid base is achieved, the athlete will move well.  What this means is that the athlete who becomes stronger and faster has the body to handle this newfound strength and speed.  This is where changes in programming occur.  A sport with a lot of jumping involved may start to emphasize plyometrics a bit more.  Rotational athletes such as golf and baseball will begin to train this plane of motion more, etc. Do not get wrapped up in specific skills for that sport, this comes at the end of the periodization of the offseason training, when the practice begins again (for hiking this would mean short hikes gradually getting tougher, skiers would get some easy ski days in and work on technique, etc).  You don’t see a kayaker try to paddle with 200lb metal bar, or a golfer try to swing a club with 50lbs of resistance pulling on it.  Let motor patterns and muscles of the sport recover and re-strengthen in the offseason.  So, this comes back to the title of the article.  Sport specific training, in its simplest form, means training first, sport specific later.