How important is power in athletics? Sounds like a pretty dumb question. However, the difference between an elite strength coach and an average strength coach is the ability to incorporate dynamic correspondence – which requires the realization that power is plane-specific. To do this, one must first understand what Dynamic Correspondence is.
Dynamic Correspondence was first introduced by Yuri Verkhoshansky in 1993 in his book Supertraining. The simple idea is to program or train in such a way that one may have a direct effect on the athlete’s performance. It has also been known as the “transfer effect” or “transferability of training”. The idea is to be specific and intentional in your training, cutting out all the white noise.
Dynamic correspondence is linked with training specificity, which may be better explained by the SAID (Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands) principle. Simply put, it is training athletes to best be prepared for the demands of their individual sport and position.
For example, one will not train an olympic sprinter the same as a position player in baseball. One lives in the sagittal plane, while the other dominates the transverse & frontal planes as well as the sagittal plane. A hitter will be put in different compromising positions (both at the plate and in the field) than a sprinter might be on the track.
Consequently, training specificity refers to using training methods which imitate the mechanics and/or the physical demands performed in the sport. At the same time, the training should not directly replicate the sport itself. If the movements associated with the sport were simply replicated, then instead of using exercise-based training to improve performance, the athletes would just play more of their sport. Therefore to achieve training specificity, the prescribed training exercises must replicate the demands of the sport in several ways:
Now that we have our basis covered, we can talk power and plane-specificity (briefly mentioned above). Have you ever see a pitcher who throws absolute cheddar, but he doesn’t look like he can jump over a piece of paper? Guess what – he can’t. I have personally seen it many times. These athletes are extremely powerful and extremely efficient in the planes required for their sport (transverse and frontal planes). Therefore, we MUST train these athletes in those specific planes of motion.
Many times, I see strength coaches training rotational athletes as if they were in a linear, sagittally-dominated sport. It’s like training a discus thrower the same way you would train a sprinter. You wouldn’t do that. Yes, general exercises such as squats, deadlifts, and olympic lifts will carry over to some extent (building the base), but with elite an athlete, specificity is needed. This is why, at DYNAMIC Sports Training (yes it is in the name), we try and be as intentional and efficient as possible.
Take out all the extra, unneeded crap and get straight to the nitty gritty. Save time, effort, and energy to benefit your athletes. (Also know your planes.. **cough cough**).