J's Gym - Next Level Fitness

Sports Specific Training

Sports specific training means strengthening and conditioning that is distinctively unique to an athlete and the sport that he/she plays with the intent of improving performance. To improve performance, the athlete's athleticism must be developed.

Strength, power, speed, and agility are the four components of athleticism that must be considered when developing a sport specific program for athletes.

Four Components of Athleticism:

Strength: The importance of first building strength in an athlete can not be overstated. Strength is the foundation of power, speed, and agility. Without adequate strength, an athlete will never be able to fully develop the other components of athleticism which of course will prevent him/her from reaching his/her full athletic potential and will generally increase the risk of injury in the gym and on the field.

Power: Once an athlete has developed a certain amount of strength, this can be incorporated into power. Power is defined as the ability to generate explosive force in the shortest period of time. There are several techniques used in the gym to develop power in an athlete. These are reps, chains, bands, and plyometric training to name a few.

Speed: Speed is the application of power which relates to hand and foot speed in sprinting. Power not only greatly coordinates to an athlete's speed, but his acceleration as well. Acceleration may be more important to an athlete than overall speed. Proper running mechanics also contribute to an athlete's speed. The quickest athletes are those who have developed power with good running mechanics and speed skills.

Agility: Agility is the application of speed to an open skill type of sport—i.e., football, lacrosse, soccer, rugby. Here an athlete is required to change direction by accelerating and decelerating very quickly. Speed only has carryover to agility by incorporating speed drills into training that involve acceleration, deceleration, and change of direction.

For an athlete to excel, it is paramount that the four components of athleticism (strength, power, speed, agility) be adhered to when designing a training program. It is extremely important that the four components be implemented in an athlete's training program in a systematic and progressive fashion. Without proper programming, an athlete will not reach their performance potential and will undoubtedly be at risk for an injury in the gym and on the field.



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