It seems to me, that in an effort to drum up more business gyms, and trainers are promoting “sports specific” training. On one hand I think that’s great…if it were being properly applied. That’s not the case in most instances though, so this has become another of my pet peeves in an industry full of them.
You see it constantly…a guy who has never played the game standing there with a football in his hands going through bag drills calling whatever the heck it is he’s attempting to do sports specific, or holding a hockey stick attached to a band and taking a shot with the worst form ever seen or running sprints while holding a hockey stick and calling it “hockey specific”. This is a disturbing trend on three fronts. First, just because you are holding a piece of equipment used in the sport does not make whatever “exercise” you are doing specific to that sport. Second, it’s a gross misrepresentation on what “specific” exercises should be. And lastly….people are actually buying this crap!
Here’s the deal: a training program is not “sports specific” because it utilized implements used in the sport, nor is it sports specific because it has you perform movements done in the sport with weights. This is unbelievably misguided! What makes a program “sports specific” is when that program takes into account the needs the athlete partaking in the sport has. This is includes the energy system demands of the sport, the position, the level, and on and on. Once the energy system demands are figured out, then the trainer must take into account movement dynamics and limitations present. Figure out why those limitations exist and how to fix that. Then they need to figure out the calendar with which they have to work with and devise a plan that will increase their athlete’s ability to do work. This is known as GPP, or General Physical Preparation.
This leads me to my next problem when it comes to “sports specific” training. There is no exercise in the weight room that is specifically going to make me a better football player. Meaning my ability to squat won’t help my ability to diagnose a play and react appropriately. Further, while my ability to run a fast 40 might help some aspects of my game, there is virtually no time during a game of football where I will be getting into a track stance, firing out when I choose to, and running in a straight line up the field with no deterrence. What my ability to squat will do is increase my general strength overall which could help me on the field in several scenarios, but I’ve seen enough weight room warriors who suck at the game of football. Further, an athlete should be partaking in SPP, or Specific Physical Prep, until they have an adequate level of GPP. All this will do is cause injury!
So if you’re searching for a trainer, and they mention anything having to do with sports specific…turn around and walk out the door!