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Sports Specific

The objective of Sports Specific training is to enhance and support competitive athletic performance. 


Tailored and specified exercise plans, movements and activities develop skills unique to a sport and physical competition. 

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Training Specificity

Author: Rose D.

Physical training seeks to address overall health and performance goals and provides a base of fitness. However, sport specific training enhances the skills that are most beneficial for individual sports and competition success. 

The principle of training specificity is the practice of movements that are specific to a sport or competition. While some research has presented discrepancies, concerning the efficacy of specific training versus general training, on overall health; studies 

around sport-specific training on only sports-related performance, go largely under-studied. There is not enough evidence provided to support or dispel either.  However, the act of practicing familiar movements that mimic sports-specific activities is worth discussing; because in practice, it advances the beginning of sports, competition, and as a result, training and coaching.

An example of sports-specific training is the implementation of side shuffles during training practices. Yes, this may provide a High-Intensity Interval Cardiovascular training opportunity, which benefits overall health and fitness, but it also mimics the movement patterns necessary for tennis, basketball, and football along with countless other sports. Therefore, in practice, sports-specific training occurs readily among athletes and novices alike.

However there has not been much research directly testing the efficacy of sports-specific movement to specific sports-related performance. There remains a body of knowledge of overall training to analyze, for sport-specific performance. The principle of training specificity comprises other training principles including principles of overload, progression, adaptation, and use/disuse or de-conditioning.

The principle of training specificity has enjoyed relative anonymity, which has allowed it, to be incorporated into overall training programs without much scrutiny.

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[1] Hawley JA (2008). Specificity of training adaptation: time for a rethink?Journal of Physiology, 586 (1): 1-2.

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