I'm writing this thread because of some of the statements Gino has posted. What do you guys believe in when it comes to Sport Specific Training? Do you think there is a transfer from the gym to the athletic field? If so, how does it work?
Here is my take on this issue. If you include specific resistance training exercises to enhance sport specific movements you are sorely mistaken, and here's why. There are no degrees of specificity. What I mean is something is entirely specific, or it isn't. There isn't anything between. Example. If you are throwing a baseball that is ounces heavier than the ball you are used to is no longer specific, and will definitely hinder the accuracy of your pitch; at least until you become used to the new weight. Then, once the old baseball is reintroduced, your pitch will once again suffer slightly. This occurs since muscles are controlled by the nervous system, producing a particular pattern and firing rate participation of the motorneurons, and skill acquisition in accordance to the practiced movement in question. In short, practicing something with added weight doesn't make you any better or faster than practicing normally.
Here is another sport specific example. If you play basketball, and you are practicing your free throws, I used to go through a drill in high school where you would shoot a heavier ball at the basketball, and sometimes we would also use a wider ball that barely fit through the rim. The idea was this will make you focus more, and shoot better. The problem is that if you practice like this, you will get used to the heavier weighted ball, and when it comes to game time, your shots will be off because you are used to a heavier ball. Also, the only benefit from this workout routine is that you will get better at shooting a weighted ball, and that's not what you do in a game is it? Show me a basketball game where you are having to shoot a heavier ball at the rim. You need to practice your sport like you are going to play it, and focus on getting stronger and faster in the weight room. What this is called is a Negative Transfer according to the Motor Learning Hierarchy. This is a basic biomechanics and kinesiology lesson.
One last example is what Gino wrote that he does. He said he wears a weighted vest, or in some cases I have seen people drag a sled or parachute behind them, and then sprint. What is the goal of this? The goal is to make you faster, but how is running slower going to make you faster? Again, the applied demonstration of strength is specific, and applying strength to any activity, such as football, requires skill training. And the only way to produce specificity is to practice the sport skills themselves. There is no turnover to where sprinting with a sled will make you run faster without that sled. If anything it will make you slower because you are used to having something hold you back. Again, if you want to get stronger, lift in the gym. If you want to get better at the 40yd dash practice it on the track. Don't mix the two.
One last quote I've read before is from Mike Brzycki. He said,
"One athlete I've encountered sincerely believed that there was a direct relationship between power cleans and rowing a boat. If this is true, why can't we take 6 of our country's (US) elite Olympic lifters, put them in a boat, and try and beat the Finns?"
Sport specific training just doesn't work. Now if you guys believe that it can work, please give me your thought/examples because I'm willing to learn something new. One last time if you want to get better at your sport, PRACTICE that sport. If you want to get stronger in the weight room LIFT weights. DON'T MIX THE TWO.