The main reason why so many athletes fail to get much out of their workout’s is simple: their workouts consists of working out, not training.
An athletes improvement comes from two places: GPP, and SPP.
GPP (General Physical Preparation) is non specific work that improves the athletes ability to produce more force. This will manifest in sprinting faster, hitting balls farther, and throwing harder.
SSP (Specific Sport Preparation) is specific work to the sport: hitting BP, taking ground balls, throwing a bullpen.
Most high school and college athletes have been working on their SSP for well over a decade. Typically, these abilities have been fairly well maxed out by high school. Those who never developed the necessary sport skill moved on to other sports or activities.
What typically NOW limits the athlete is lack of size, strength, and power comparable to their peers.
Studies have found that the greatest determinant of success as the levels of sport increase isn’t discovering some super-secret pitching mechanic, or some magical adjustment in the hitters swing. Rather, it’s whether the athlete can execute his existing sport skill at the necessary level of velocity and strength. Suchomel, et al found that “There is no substitute for greater muscular strength when it comes to improving an individual’s performance across a wide range of sport specific skills.”(1)
This of course isn’t hard to understand. One can simply turn on the TV to see that bigger faster stronger gets signed, promoted, and plays, while smaller, slower, weaker complains that “coach plays favorites” and is steadily eliminated from sport as the levels go up.
However, many doubt the efficacy of GPP because they’ve done team workouts, they’ve done physical therapy, they’ve done PE; and seen little to no results.
The reason though why so many athletes fail to get much out of working out is because they’re doing it all wrong.
They’re working out, not training.
Working out is the one size fits all workout sheet. Everyone does the same thing, goes through the motions, completes the workout. What the INDIVIDUAL athlete needs is either not understood, or disregarded in the name of convenience. Frankly, much of the time poor trainers simply don’t know HOW to identify what an athlete needs.
Training is the opposite. Training is the specific diagnosis and evaluation of what an individual athlete will need to get better, and then executing a specific, periodized plan that will attack their weaknesses, enhance their strengths, and help them hit their goals.
For example, I train two 17 year old pitchers right now. One joined throwing mid 70’s, the other joined throwing low 80’s. Both now throw 91-92. But HOW they got to their new level of success was completely different-because each athlete is different. I use many different means and methods to accomplish an athletes goal. What I never do is use a single template-that would be fatal.
The key is to train, not workout.
1. Suchomel, T., et al. The Importance of Muscular Strength in Athletic Performance. Journal of Sports Medicine, 46, 1419-1449. Oct 2016.