When it comes to fitness, often times people are looking for ways to train for sports that they belong to. I covered the basics of this in one of my previous articles called Fundamentals of Training For Sports. If you haven’t checked that out I suggest you do as it will enhance your learning from this article.
Today I will be talking about how to do sport specific training. What does this mean? This is when you focus your training on the different athletic characteristics that are important for your sport. For example two main athletic characteristics of a great football player would be power and agility. In this case you would want to consider focusing your training to work on those specific goals. I will be talking about the following main points within this article:
- Identifying The Main Athletic Characteristics of Your Sport
- Learning How to Best Divide Your Training
- Applying & Succeeding at Your Training Goals
Identifying The Main Athletic Characteristics Needed:
The biggest priority with any training is to know what you are training for. This comes down to relativity, you need to be training relative to your sport in order to get the most out of your hard work. Think about it, would a baseball player be spending the majority of their training in the form of endurance running? Probably not, I bet they would more so be focusing on speed, power and maybe some strength. This isn’t to say they wouldn’t do any endurance training, however, that likely would not be the focus for most.
Now we need to actually determine the three main athletic characteristics of your sport. I would suggest thinking about what you are actually doing when it comes to performing. Do you need to do long distances of running or do you need quick power? That is an example. Now think about how you would train for that, if you were to require the latter you would likely be doing lots of endurance training. If your sport requires the former you would probably be doing a lot of weight training for power, with lots of motions relative to ones you would be using in your sport. The bottom line is you need to identify the main things you need to be training for, and figure out how to do just that. Again, I went over the basics of training for sports in a previous article, it would be quite beneficial to check that out here if you haven’t.
The key to all of this is to not spread yourself to thin. What I mean by this is don’t pick 5 things to focus on, this will cause you to not actually be focusing on any one of them, and you will be training in a more equal manner. I have personal experience with this. This past summer I wanted to build strength and muscle, both because of my passion for the gym and it would help me with hockey. My first program that I ran I focused on doing just this, gaining strength and size. It ended up working really well. However, my next program I wanted to focus on putting on lean mass, having good functional muscular endurance, long distance endurance and I wanted to work on my hockey skills. What happened was I wasn’t able to focus on all 4 things (some of them would demand quite a lot of time) and I ended up not being able to benefit nearly as much as I wanted to from this training. I was actually disappointed with the overall outcome.
I feel like this was contributed to by one of two things. The first one being their was so many different goals that I didn’t want to put the effort in to complete all of them, including the hardest ones. The second is the fact that I had so many goals I leaned towards the one that had more of a passion for and felt I saw the most physical progress from. Lesson learned from having to many main goals, I hope it can help you while creating yours.
Learning To Divide Your Training:
This is also very important because you have your main goals made, but if you don’t divide your training up in a way that emphasizes these goals, it’s like you don’t have any main goals to begin with. I like to prioritize my training into three different categories. These include goals I want to see a large amount of progression in, goals that I would be happy to see some form of progression in, and goals that I am not focused on and am just looking to maintain their current status. Let’s dive a little deeper into these.
When I think of my main goal that I want to train for, it should be the one I am putting most of my time into. This will allow for the most improvement possible in an effective way. I think of a main goal as something that should be taking up around 60% of your training, then maybe a secondary one at about 25-30%. The rest is used on remaining goals that you are basically putting on the back burner. This will allow you to really focus on your main goal and see improvement on it while not completely neglecting other aspects of your training.
I want to make it clear that this distribution shouldn’t be set in stone, it will vary from person to person. A few of the main factors that would affect this would be your experience level, your current levels of skill/athletiscm, and the time you have to actually dedicate to training for these goals. To put this into context, if you were more so a beginner you would likely have the ability to distribute training time over a wider selection of goals; because your body will respond quite well to the training. Just be sure you are not over training because that could have negative effects in the sense of recovery. If you were quite good at a variety of skills (you had lots of muscle, were strong, agile, powerful, etc) you may need to focus more on one or two goals because it will take more devoted training to further develop these aspects. Let’s look at the third thing that may affect training distribution, this is the time you have available. There is a range of time that you need to have, too little and you won’t be able to put in enough work to progress, too much and you may be putting too much time in and over training. Furthermore, if you have more experience you may need to be on the upper amount of time because you will likely need to be putting in more work, whereas the opposite is true for someone who is more of a beginner.
Applying & Succeeding:
Now that we know our goals and roughly how much of our time should be spent training for them, it is time to learn how we actually achieve them. Now I am not going to go over training for the different types of goals because as I said I went over this in one of my previous articles, and more weight training focused goals in my last article. Ultimately, you need to be applying the proper training to your goals and training enough relative to their importance. What I will talk about is some tips to help you succeed.
There are a few main things to consider when we want to succeed at something. The first is we need to have a way of measure, let’s say you want to be able to run an agility drill a second quicker over the summer. This will give you something to work towards and you should want to try and surpass this. The second tip is to make sure that you stay focussed on your goal. You need to be training relative to the goal you have and not changing things up spiratically. For example, if you want to become more agile, don’t switch your training half-way through and put on 20 pounds of muscle while doing little to no work to improve agility. My third tip and I would say the most important is to work your ass off, plain and simple. Nothing can beat hard work, if you work hard your chances of seeing results will greatly increase.
With all of these tips comes guidelines, because these will not only keep these tips more focused, but can enhance them. For the first tip, I would suggest making sure your goal is achievable, if it isn’t it could actually end up hurting you. This because it can be tough to work towards something that you know likely isn’t going to happen. For the goal of staying focused you need to make sure you keep your entire plan for training in mind. Don’t get so focused on your main goal that your secondary ones drop off and other skills end up decreasing in their capabilities. This isn’t what you want because it could set you back in other ways. Lastly, when I say to work your ass off there really isn’t any limitations to this other than over training. However, you can make this even more effective if you do this smartly, because hard work and smarts is the ultimate combo. So in short, train hard in a smart effective manner.
That’s it for this article on sport specific training, I’m excited for you to be able to benefit from it! As always, if you have any questions or comments please do not hesitate to leave them below! I’ll be back with another article soon!
Until Next Time,
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