Specificity is a principle of training that states that sports training has to be appropriately matched to the requirements of the sporting activity in order to produce a training effect. Athletes should train the energy system they use predominantly and the skill and fitness components that are most important to their sport, for example muscular endurance, balance or agility.
The principle discourages highly general training and encourages highly specific training. It also implies that the only way to become better at a specific skill or exercise is to regularly perform that skill or exercise. The training must not only be specific to a sport, but also to individual abilities. The specificity principle tests the components that are crucial to a sport, allowing athletes to gauge their strengths and weaknesses. Using this information, they can focus on improving their weak points.
There are other principles of training.
- Overload: States that fitness can only be enhanced by working hard during training.
- Progression: States that an athlete should start slowly and increase his/her training loads over time to avoid overloading.
- Reversibility: States that any adaption that occurs due to training will be reversed the moment you stop training.
The Frequency Intensity Time Type, or FITT, principles can be used to add detail to a training program.