How do you maximize your overloads to get the biggest returns the quickest?  You better understand the math.   

Training, both tactically and strategically, must be specific to the sport or individuals objective.  This statement is obvious but becomes much more complicated and tricky as the athlete becomes fitter. 


A good example would be in training a 100 meter sprinter.  It makes sense anecdotally that having a really strong grip is not going to make you a great sprinter.  So spending large amounts of time exercising one’s grip would not be the best use of training time for a sprinter.  Now a wrestler would look at his grip as an important part of the sport and a weak grip would be something that would need to be addressed.  The correlation of grip to wrestling has a much higher relationship than the correlation of grip to sprinting.  You need to start thinking about correlations.  Your best 100 meter sprinters are typically your best vertical jumpers, not your best squatters.  However, squatting will help your vertical jump? 


The above example demonstrates the concept of correlation and how it relates to training.   If one had the time and the inclination, correlation coefficients could be measured on different performance measures to rank the value of training exercises relative to a sport.


The Math: The correlation coefficient is a number between -1 and 1.  If there is no relationship between the predicted values and the actual values the correlation coefficient is 0 or lower (the predicted values are no better than random numbers this would be the example of grip strength to sprinting).  As the strength of the relationship between the predicted values and actual values increases so does the correlation coefficient.  A perfect fit gives a coefficient of 1.0.  Thus the higher the correlation coefficient of an exercise to the specific needs of the sport the greater the value of the exercise.   A negative correlation number would be actions or exercises that actually take away from the performance of a specific sport.  These correlations are really determined by the experience of the coach or through trial and error of an athlete and also in some research. 


Strength and conditioning coaches must think through this idea of correlation and determine what aspects of a training strategy have the most impact on the performance of the athlete in a sport.  If this is not being evaluated then precious training time is being wasted on areas that have little impact on the performance of the athlete.  Random does not work if you want to speed gains.  Unfortunately this is often a random process and the athlete suffers. 


At Sirens & Titans we look for “tipping point” fitness gains.  These tipping points are areas of fitness that with small gains can produce huge changes in the performance of the athlete during the game.  The correlation coefficient is very high.   In most cases the tipping points present themselves after evaluating an athlete for functional fitness.  Many tipping point fitness issues can be identified in this evaluation.  Another area that has this type of fitness leverage is found is in movements where power  is being scrubbed or needs to be maintained for longer durations of time.  There are a lot of athletes that have great vertical jumps; however they can only execute a handful of jumps at a high output level.  Training the athlete so they can maintain 90-100% of this output for a longer duration creates champions and changes the performance dramatically in competition.  


In summary, think about the correlation of your training to your performance in sport.  Constantly be evaluating where this concept can help your performance.  In addition, if you want faster results look for areas of weakness that would provide you with that “tipping point” performance progression.  These are both game changers.