Sport Appropriate or Sport Specific Training


My friend Steve Myrland from Madison Wisconsin is on of the brightest and most innovative coaches I know. He never stops thinking. His latest idea that he bounced off of me yesterday at first seemed incredibly simplistic, but on a bit of reflection it is really quite profound. Steve is working on an article on specificity and he had been bouncing some ideas off of me. Today he hit me with the bombshell. His asked “Isn’t it more about what is sport appropriate than sport specific?” I quickly answered yes; finished the conversation went off to swim my laps and was haunted by the statement. I called him back to tell him he was right on. The only thing that is truly sport specific is the sport itself. Similar is not the same. This incessant search for more specificity that I have been on for a million years might be an endless search, unless your think sport appropriate. Sounds like semantics and a bit of verbal gymnastic, but there is a lot here. Obviously if you just practice the sport then there will soon be a point of diminishing returns, but the problem is to make the training appropriate for the sport. Mile and a half runs are not appropriate for football players, but short explosive burst of five to ten yards are. It all comes back to having a thorough understanding of the demands of the sport and the positions or events in the sport. Then you can undertake sport appropriate training. Some times it will be the sport and sometimes it will be far removed. A baseball player getting ready to play in the 150th game of the season probably would welcome some general work as an opportunity to break the routine. That is certainly appropriate. Remember simplicity yields complexity.

Vern Gambetta

Vern Gambetta

Director at Gambetta Sports Training Systems
Vern is the Director of Gambetta Sports Training Systems. He has been the a conditioning coach for several MLS teams as well as the conditioning consultant to the US Men's World Cup Soccer team. Vern is the former Director of Conditioning for the Chicago White Sox and New York Mets. He has lectured and conducted clinics in Canada, Japan, Australia and Europe and has authored six books and over one hundred articles related to coaching and sport performance in a variety of sports. He has a BA in teaching with a coaching minor and an MA in Education with an emphasis in physical education from Stanford University.
Vern Gambetta


Athletic Development Coach & Consultant. Founder of GAIN Network. Proud dad. Love to read everything.
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Vern Gambetta

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