TOO MUCH SPECIFIC TRAINING DECREASES PERFORMANCE
Freeston, J., Adams, R., & Rooney, K. (2009). Shoulder proprioception changes following throwing specific and general exercise bouts with implications for throwing accuracy. ACSM 56th Annual Meeting, Seattle, Washington, Presentation Number 1074.
This study determined the effect of general versus throwing-specific exercise on shoulder proprioception and throwing accuracy. Sub-elite baseball players (N = 13) were assessed for shoulder proprioception, maximal throwing velocity, and throwing accuracy before and after an exercise bout. The exercise bout consisted of either (a) One 20 m Shuttle Run Test to exhaustion or (b) 60 maximum-effort throws. Ss performed both protocols in a randomized order separated by a minimum of seven days.
Shoulder proprioception increased in the non-dominant arms by a similar magnitude in response to the throwing specific and general exercise bouts. Proprioception of the dominant arm increased following general (5.6%) but did not change following throwing specific exercise (-0.4%). Throwing accuracy decreased following throwing-specific exercise (-13.7%) and increased in response to running exercise (11.8%).
Implication. Following physical activity, one would expect an increase in proprioception as a result of either the learning effect or an increase in focus and attention. This study showed such an increase in the non-dominant arms. However, when the activity was throwing specific, no improvement in proprioception was observed. Furthermore, this reduced proprioceptive ability was accompanied by a decrease in throwing accuracy.
[There is a possibility that a single bout/block of 60 maximum-effort throws produced detrimental fatigue. A better study would have been to test the effects of 10, then 20, 30, 40, 50, and finally 60 throws and see if there was first an increase in factors associated with the specific treatment of fewer trials which might then be followed by performance worsening due to fatigue. That is likely if the Ss had not experienced 60 maximum throws consistently. In other words, too much specific training (overreaching) should produce performance exhaustion/fatigue. This study is not necessarily an indictment of specific training.]
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