Transfer of Training
from Practice to Competition
Transfer of training means working out in practice conditions that best prepare athletes for sports competition. This not only involves matching training activities with the energy demands (e.g., aerobic, strength) of a sport, it also means developing skills, techniques, and strategies that produce the best results in competition. Also see
The Transfer Principle
Transfer is a critical issue in sports training. Logically, if training conditions and activities do not transfer, or transfer marginally to competition, valuable workout time is wasted.
Let's look at an example of mismatching training with the energy demands of a sport. Let's say a recreational basketball player trains in the preseason by working up to running 5 miles. League play starts and the player is exhausted after just a few times up and down the court. Why?
Because sustained running for 5 miles does not quite match the energy demands of basketball. Different energy systems are used for long distance as compared with the quick bursts of speed performed repeatedly with brief recovery periods in basketball, so the transfer effect is less than optimal.
But transfer of training is not just about the energy demands of a sport. One key aspect that coaches must consider is how the transfer of learning from athletes' previous experiences influences the learning and performance of new skills, experiences, and conditions.
Building fitness and developing precision for skilled execution in sports involves coordination, perhaps the most overlooked fitness component in sports training. Coordination equates to skill in sports.
While licensed physical education teachers are required to understand and apply motor learning principles, coaches tend to teach skills the way their coaches did.
But taking advantage of skill acquisition techniques can boost skill development as well as fitness for sport performance. Transfer of learning even applies to weight training.
Does the power clean improve vertical jumping for basketball?
Because the common qualities between two skills transfer positively, the question that coaches should ask is, "What are the common elements shared by the power clean and the vertical jump?"
These common elements include very similar movements in the pulling phase, the shift of body weight, and acceleration. Speed at take-off and at the peak of the high pull are also common elements that influence success. Dissimilarities would not transfer.
Biomechanics and exercise physiology principles offer support to motor behavior principles from different perspectives.
Learn more about how to capitalize on the transfer effect in my new ebook
Teaching Techniques for Coaches: 9 Principles for Sports and Fitness
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