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Sport Specific Training

Michael Boyle

This is the question that comes up all the time. Sounds like a great set up for a joke . "A parent walks into a strength and conditioning facility and says…." Well in many ways, it is a joke. On us. Parents consistently walk into a facility and say "my son ( or daughter) plays ___________ can you design a program for ______________?" You fill in the blank based on your area.

The sport doesn't matter because the answer is always the same. When dealing with parents I like to use logic. My first question is always something like "does a fast baseball player look any different than a fast soccer player"? Most parents will answer no. Then I say "OK, our number one goal will be to increase speed". The key is not to sell sports specific programming but to sell a general program to that specific parent.

This is where we go back to the idea of learning to speak coach. Speaking the language of the sport is key to demonstrating your knowledge. I wrote about Learning to Speak Coach in one of my articles. Speaking coach, or in this case, speaking parent, comes down to relating what we do to what they want. When the soccer parent comes in and can't understand the need for lower body strength training, an explanation about improved vertical jump may not make sense but the idea of "controlling more headers in the box for set plays" will make sense. It's all about knowing the potential client and in this case, the potential client is really the parent of the potential client. The kid has no money and mom and dad are full of half truths and buzzwords. Tell that soccer parent that speed work is the key to winning 50-50 balls and now you are the expert. You have a choice. Be a BS artist and try to tell each parent that you can design a sports specific program or, tell the truth and make them see the generic aspects of speed and power training.

The only way to do that is to "speak sport specific". Just like we said in Learning to Speak Coach, you need to speak to each parent in their language even if you are telling them the same thing. This was the conclusion to my Learning to Speak Coach article and, it is the same one here.

"Many strength coaches (and strength and conditioning businesses) fail not because they don't know the material but, because they don't speak the language. Imagine this. You go to France. No one speaks English. Everywhere you go you speak English and no one responds. Would you be surprised if no one paid attention to you? Would you be frustrated? The key is to learn to speak the language." The parent is right there waiting to be sold. Make it an honest sell.


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