How Does Lifting Help My Sport?

How does lifting help my sport? This is a hotly debated topic and often something difficult to grasp. How can doing a single leg split squat help my jump shot? I hate to break it to you, it’s not necessarily going to help your technique directly.

No matter how many squats you do, it won’t fix a broke jumper, but that doesn’t mean training your legs won’t help! The thing is, there are two different things at play here. There is the raw skill, which is your ability to technically perform the jump shot and then there is your “robustness” which basically means your ability to perform that technique when things don’t go your way. It allows you to “bend” but not “break”.

Getting stronger gives you more capacity to handle these common “not perfect” game-type situations - getting bumped, not being totally on balance or fatigued and the strength allows your skill to potentially shine through. So yes, training can make you more explosive, stronger and faster but I would argue it never directly develops a skill like shooting, but instead allows you to perform that skill at a higher percentage of your relative best more frequently, and under conditions that are not so favorable.

As long as strength training isn’t done at the expense of skill training, but rather as a supplement to it, it will help you. This is why understanding motor learning is so critical. It helps tie in your strength qualities to your skill qualities!