It is my belief that, when boiled down to their essentials, all sports have the same core principles for training and development. Coach Glassman and a few coaches before him have addressed the physiology side of this with the process called General Physical Preparedness (GPP); noting that there are certain movements and conditioning sequences that, no matter what sport you play, would render itself useful to all athletes. Some (Coach included) even argue that GPP is a more potent training tool that sport-specific strength and conditioning; claiming that most of the sport specificity an athlete needs comes from regular practice in that sport.
That discussion, however, is for another post. But more than the weight room training, I also think this thinking applies for the practice and performance of the sport, itself. I played five sports growing up, three in high school, one in college, and have coached athletes and talked to coaches from those sports and many more during my time as a CrossFit coach. And I have noticed a few underlying principles that seem to be obeyed by coaches of every group. One of these principles relates to building a “base” during the pre-season/beginning of the season. This base usually is comprised of two parts: skill and strength. You need to get used to the specific movements and techniques of that sport (skill), and you need to develop the positions and muscular endurance that will need to last the entire season (strength.)
For example, in the first few weeks of a season, a basketball coach might spend a majority of their time doing reps on the basics of how to defend a pick-and-roll (skill), as opposed to going over 10 different offensive sets that include a pick-and-roll. After that, the team would likely scrimmage with an emphasis on running a pick-and-roll every time down the court so the defense could apply what they have been drilling. Other sports are similar – whether that is football athletes doing routes/footwork during practice and weight room after, or softball players getting used to grounders and fly-balls after an off-season of nothing. Either way, every group seems to follow the same formula of quality technique > volume or strategy. That is, every group save for one:
Many distance runners and coaches I am familiar with have the exact opposite approach to early-season training. Their belief is that the best preparation for a season of long distance running is… long distance running. A lot of it. An example could be a 1600m runner would spend the first few weeks of practice running 2-5 miles per day to build their “base.” For running, I believe the formula should be the following:
CrossFit (strength) + Long duration Pose drills (skill) = Endurance Base.
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About the Author: Chris Sinagoga is the owner of the Champions Club/CrossFit Athletic Group in Madison Heights, MI, whose obsession with coaching CrossFit is only surpassed by his obsession with the game of basketball. Chris is heavily influenced by MGoBlog and Hip Hop and writes for the Champions Club website. Among other prestigious credentials, he has achieved certified master status in both Pokémon Red and Gold versions. Contact Coach Chris Sinagoga for more information and training.