In the fitness industry, there are lot of different disciplines that promote health, wellness and movement. However, there seems to be confusion on the differences between traditional personal training, Crossfit and sport performance. People always ask me “Oh you train athletes, so you are a Crossfit trainer?” My answer is always “No, what I do is different, it has very little to do with Crossfit” but there is so much to say and explain to show the differences between the two.

Sport Performance is training in 3D. Let me explain….. Athletes train completely different than the average person. Not only do they need to train in the weight room for power and strength adaptations etc., but their movement on the field or court is MORE important. An athlete may be able to bench 400 pounds and squat 500, but if they cannot move their weight both in a linear and lateral fashion efficiently, they will not be very successful in their respective sports come competition time. If you break it down into thirds, the weight room is just a third of what is involved in training athletes while the other thirds are movement and sport specific skill development (which is usually taught by sport coaches). The difference between a personal trainer and a sport performance coach is that the SPC not only can coach in the weight room, but can also coach and teach proper acceleration, deceleration, multi-directional movement patterning along with the crossover and shuffle motions that are utilized in almost all sports.

Growing up, most athletes were never taught the correct way to accelerate (gain speed) and decelerate (slow down) their bodies while participating in what we thought were speed and agility drills. We were always told “run faster!! move quicker!!!” but were never taught the proper cues of lowering our center of mass and widening our base as we decelerated to a cone or opponent. We were not shown from this “break down” position how to change direction by identifying which leg would become our drive leg and which one would be the push leg etc. There is a reason why collegiate and professional coaches hire experts in the area of sport performance. Nick Saban, the head football coach at the University of Alabama, does not coach his athletes in the weight room or when they are performing speed and agility drills during summer work outs. He has a whole entire strength and conditioning staff for this and he believes these coaches are the catalysts for successful seasons. These coaches typically have certifications and qualifications in the field of Sport Performance, Performance Enhancement, Strength and Conditioning, not personal training. It is important to understand the differences between a coach and a personal trainer. It is cool to see so many people interested in sport performance now, especially for our youth in preparing them for the next level.

Jared Saavedra