Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company. This blog is a unique perspective of one persons journey into fitness. Not all clients and participants at Parsons Training undergo the same training, and each person makes his or her own decisions regarding dietary discretions.
By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training Center, Tucson, Arizona
January 29, 2018
For the longest time in our country's history, sports specific training was something that was pretty commonplace. You often times kids saw playing three sports a year in high school, and they typically had a reasonable period of time between each season to get themselves acclimated to the next sport. So yeah, the guy that was the starting quarterback had more than enough time to get his jump shot in check for the basketball season and then get his arm ready to play outfield during the baseball season. This was life, and it was not uncommon to see some people make all-city in three sports! Those were the good old days, before television started creating more channels than it could hold and thus needed millions of hours of more coverage. Hence, we are are even seeing high school games getting regularly broadcasted, and most recently a “challenge” series where the best high school state champions play each other in various bowl style games. Throw in the rising cost of college educations and the deregulation of college loans and suddenly you had some people pushing their kids in sports in some rather serious ways. Cross training may have been a huge idea that gestated fully in the 1980s due to new “cross training” shoes and the short lived mania toward multi-sport athletes like Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders, but another trend started as parents started having their kids specialize in one sport in hopes of getting those aforementioned scholarships to cover the rising cost of an education. Think about this for a second….some schools can charge 20 grand a year easily and people would call that affordable! So yeah, people are willing to bet 20-30 thousand on helping their kids become a sport specific stud rather than the 80-100 thousand they might have to shell out if their child is not smart enough (and in in some instances, economically disadvantaged enough) to make it to the next level. Most people cannot afford modern school costs, and thus why we have the current school loan debt crisis in America. Plenty of factors have attributed to this problem, from the fact that schools are spending too much money to fund athletics and woo athletes to the fact schools are spending more on amenities than actual salaries and qualified instructors (my alma mater the University of Arizona is guilty on a lot of these counts). These are all things that could create a book worth of blogs, but we are going to focus on what the title indicates. If you are helping your kid (or yourself) get better at a certain sport, should you do sports specific training?
So here at Parsons Training, the answer of course is going to be a yes. If there are certain things that can be done to make your young athlete or yourself better at any sport, you will have to work on the things that define your sport. If you are a volleyball player, you will obviously have to train your legs and your small leg muscles to not only withstand the rigors of jumping for hours on end, to also allowing those same legs the quickness and dexterity to jump in multiple directions and move quickly to other spots while also being able to do this without destroying your body. So clearly, you will need to do some specific things that fit to your sport rather than say trying to lift gigantic tires and pull buses like some dude at a strongman competition (which we will talk about next week!). Now there is a little push and pull when it comes to this sort of thinking. Some people think sports specific training could be problematic http://www.stack.com/a/why-sport-specific-training-is-overrated while others think there is a good balance that can be achieved when done properly http://athleteactivation.com/the-truth-about-sport-specific-training/. While a large community of individuals think working on all parts of your body can set you back, just think about this for a second. I will mention one of Jon’ favorite players in Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. https://www.menshealth.com/fitness/russell-wilson-reveals-his-secret-to-scrambling Wilson is apparently one of the seven people on Earth that apparently loves lunges, and swears by them in his daily usage. But do you think he doesn’t also train on the field, hitting targets and keeping his body loose whether he does bootlegs or standard three step drops? Do you think he does not do the type of stuff that a quarterback would need to know and instinctively do? This is kind of the middle ground of the question because obviously he cannot overdo one or the other.
There has been a lot of issues when it comes to sports specific training. Over the past 20 years, people have tried to discourage the finite specialization of youth athletics as sports specific injuries have been on the rise. Aside from the mental burnout that can occur when this sort of specialization comes into play, certain injuries become more apparent. Leg injuries are especially the boogie man in this case for most sports, for the specialization can lead to strengths in one area but weakness in another. It’s difficult to counteract these ideas these days, especially now that corporate America is starting to dip its foot into high school sports through recruiting services, sponsorship and big name tournaments. Club sports have become almost more important as well as travel teams. So what is a young athlete to do? Now you probably wonder why I am focusing so much on youth sports, but this is an important developmental stage in building your body and your physique. So yes, mentioning this has to take some precedence. But how can this affect you…or even me? I was never good enough to make a team. I have weight and leg issues due to stresses of sitting in an uncomfortable chair all day with no option to really stand. Would sport specific training really benefit me?
Now I am the exception, not the rule. A lot of people have goals and specific sporting activities they really follow and believe in. This is where the decision to focus your training comes into play whether you do cycling or running or you play in an indoor soccer league. Now this is what I always believe in…it is always good to keep your body in total shape unless you have a specific goal in mind. I’m not entering the strongman competition any time soon, so I will not need to go through that sort of training (where everything starts with a keg….seriously you will like next week’s blog!), but due to my injuries and issues I also won’t be running a Ragnar Relay soon either. So what is a guy to do? Well, the schedule I have maintained is first of all working on strengthening my back and keeping my legs flexible. That is alway the first key because that will ultimately help when I reintegrate my running, which starts this week (I got a sponsor! So she will force me to run while I coach her on being a plant based eater and keep her from snacking at work too much). That is the great thing about Parsons investment in olympic weight lifting, for I can work everything that needs work in one sitting. I suppose I could do some other stuff that is specific to my legs or my shoulders, but this is the better alternative for me. I suppose if I was a good basketball player I would want to do speed and agility training more often, working on my lateral movement, but that is just not in the cards right now. For the moment, improving everything about me is the key, and thus taking this general approach is the right one for the moment. When I rebuild a little more, I will once again work on the abs again, but we will have to wait for that!
Check out my YouTube Blog as well!:
About Parsons Training
Parsons Training is a Tucson leader in fitness and personal wellness training. Every personal trainer with this company designs and implements effective fitness programs for their clients; these programs serve as the foundation for good health, fitness, and wellness. Additional information about Parsons Training is available at http://www.parsonspersonaltraining.com
About Our Blog
Steve, a Parsons Training Client, went from 400 pounds to Running half-marathons, from lifting pizzas to lifting hundreds of pounds through training with us.