Sports performance training Vs Sports specific there a difference??

Updated: Jun 24

A few years back I had a parent come up to me after seeing me train a group of athletes and he said “N’Namdi I want you to work privately with my son, he is a Lacrosse player” and I said “sure”. Then he said, “great, but I only want you to do Lacrosse specific exercises with him.” So, I said to myself “only Lacrosse specific? I think he may be confusing the difference between sports performance training and sports specific training or he is misunderstanding my skill set.

This is a subject I have wanted to discuss for a long time because I don’t think most parents/athletes understand the difference. So, lets break this down, sports performance training is when an athlete trains by doing specific drills to “perform” better as an athlete. Sports specific training is when an athlete performs drills and skill work to help them perform better in a “specific” sport. I know this may still sound confusing so let’s break this down some more.

Let’s say I am queuing an athlete while he is performing a box drill (box drill ). Some of the things I look for is to see how they are moving their arms during the movement; how efficient they are at changing direction and how efficient they are at decelerating. As a certified strength coach/performance coach I have the ability to recognize inefficient movement patterns and teach the athlete how to perform it properly.

Now let’s take a basketball coach who is doing the same drill with their athletes. This coach may be doing this drill because he wants his athletes getting better at catching the ball and either shooting or passing the ball as they approach the cone. While they are performing this drill, the coach is not looking at “how” they are getting to the cone. So, it would be safe to say that the basketball coach is performing this drill to increase skill of shooting, passing etc.

This is where the value of a certified performance coach shines because we “are” looking at how they are moving in between the cones. I can teach your kid proper biomechanics which makes them faster as an athlete while decreasing the risk of injury. Your regular coaches are not trained in biomechanics but are trained to teach proper skills and fundamentals specific to their sport. So going back to the box drill example, if an athlete is moving efficiently between cones along with performing the skill properly, that gives them that competitive edge over their competition.

Now that is what you want as a parent right!! Am I wrong??

Your favorite strength coach

N'Namdi Nelson, M.B.A, CSCS, PES, CES

P.S If you would like your kid or someone else to benefit from some sports performance training email me at