Sports-Specific Training

Sports-specific training (or sport-specific training) refers to an exercise regime designed to replicate the movements, intensities, and patterns seen during an athlete’s sport – for instance a basketball point guard practicing her 3-point shot or an NFL lineman honing pass protection techniques.

Athleticians need to be able to respond instantly in game situations. The best athletes achieve this through possessing universal athleticism skills such as coordination, balance and rhythm.


Strength training is integral for athletes of any sport to reach their maximum athletic potential, which is why every sport provides weight rooms or strength and conditioning coaches. Unfortunately, certain sports place significant demands on athletes that limit their training for continued gains; such demands could stem from energy systems or time limitations. It is essential that athletes realize training alone can only go so far in reaching their full potential.

Sport-specific training refers to any strength program designed to increase an athlete’s performance in his or her specific sport. Its central principle is that exercises performed in the weight room should more closely replicate movement patterns used by an athlete during his or her sport of choice.

Unfortunately, most “sport-specific” exercises don’t provide athletes with enough overload to build strength effectively due to being relatively simple exercises that only impose minor stimulus as opposed to compound multi-joint movements.


Sports that involve sprinting, braking, changing direction or accelerating often require speed training for optimal performance. Cone drills offer great ways to develop shorter strides faster strides while helping athletes accelerate from various starting positions.

Training helps improve agility, or the ability to change direction or brake quickly. Athletes participating in team sports require maintaining high speeds for extended periods; endurance training must accommodate this need, generally with longer rest periods between training sessions.

Power is defined as the ability to generate large forces quickly. This ability is affected by factors like mobility, elastic strength, strength endurance and technique of an athlete; or by adding higher velocity or more intense exercises such as hang clean or power snatch, which have proven themselves superior when it comes to producing maximum power outputs compared with traditional lower body exercises.


Athleticians who need to change direction quickly, like basketball players and football players, need agility training. Agility drills typically include quick movements around cones and ladders as well as plyometric exercises consisting of explosive jumps, hops and bounds.

Speed training makes you faster. It transforms you into a blur when racing down the field or cutting through water, as well as improving your reaction time so that decisions can be made instantly.

Flexibility training enhances joint and muscle flexibility, so that you can twist and turn without suffering injury. Furthermore, flexibility training also strengthens balance coordination and power.


Coordination training involves drills that help athletes move quickly and accurately, improving their ability to react instantly during games and keep good form while performing athletic skills like throwing or shooting a basketball. Furthermore, this type of training helps prevent injuries caused by improper movements that could otherwise happen without it.

Many athletes believe they need to train their sport-specific strength regularly, yet this belief is an urban legend. Exercise physiology or motor learning studies do not support such training needs in all sports.

Instead of working on sport-specific skills or exercises, the key to becoming a better athlete lies in developing general movement patterns and athletic movement skills. This approach will lead to faster and more sustainable improvements in overall performance.

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