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Blog specificity

Written by: Pierre Spies

Specificity is the principle of training that states sports conditioning should be relevant and specific to the type of sport for which the athlete is being conditioned in and to produce the most specific training stimulus/adaptation.

Normally when initiating a new sports conditioning programme one highlights what is required within the sport, emphasising dominant energy systems being used, primary motor movements in the sport, and what skill proficiencies are required to name a few.

But is that truly the only requirements for specificity?

What about the individual/athlete you are trying to mould to fit into his or her sport position?

One should realise that each individual differs and individuality plays an imperative role in specificity of conditioning.

By doing a simple swot analysis after testing the individual and clarifying the athlete’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats – one can start adding new pieces to the specificity puzzle of each individual.

But what about my athlete’s personality, mind set and character? Are these traits fitting the mould of his or her sport or sport position?

To give you an easy example – I have a young, tall, lean and strong individual that is also a very sensitive person, and wants to become a Springbok lock – the next Bakkies Botha, if you will.

Even if he hits excellent norms in terms of energy system requirements, body type, motor abilities, skill proficiency and his swot analysis fits the bill for the next top rugby player, would he be specific for the sport and sport position?

How can I condition his mind set, personality and character to be specific to what is required during training and game time? Each individual differs and each sport differs. Thus, the formula for specific results can be:

Total sport requirements – Total athlete’s abilities = specificity (specific success).

To apply for the Advanced Certificate in Fitness: Sport Conditioning (on campus) click here

To apply for the National Diploma in Fitness: Sport Conditioning (online) click here


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