What carries over to what? That is one of the biggest questions in training athleticism. There are a million exercises, a million ways to get tired, a million cool things you can do, etc. But what is actually going to make you a better athlete? That is the question.

So let’s talk about skill development. Carryover of skill from one movement to another only occurs at a very general level. For example, if you practice jumping a lot you develop triple extension, and then you will find it easy to also use triple extension during a snatch or a clean. Or if you grew up swinging a baseball bat, you may find that rotating your hips comes easily to you in other movements like throwing a discus.

So we do see some very general carryover, but for the most part skills are specific, meaning one skill does not improve another skill. Improving your golf swing does not give you the skill to throw a football. Developing sprinting technique does not help you kick a soccer ball. This is confirmed when great athletes from one sport attempt to perform the skills of another sport. It is often comical. You think, “How can such a good athlete look so uncoordinated when shooting a basketball?” It’s because skill is specific.

Other abilities are not specific. If you’re strong, you can use that strength for anything. If you’re explosive, you can use that explosiveness for anything. But SKILL IS SPECIFIC.

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This looks cool, but you really don’t need to do it.

With that in mind, be wary of wasting time and energy on skills that you do not use. Two things come to mind, balance exercises and speed ladders. These offer no benefit as far as power development and feature specific skills that are not used in sports. Do they use general coordination, proprioception, and body control too? Yeah, sure, but not to any special degree. You might as well develop those general abilities using actual sports skills.

So if I have an uncoordinated basketball player, I’m going to develop his/her coordination with basketball footwork, ball handling, shooting, acceleration technique drills, various explosive and strength training, and PLAYING BASKETBALL. Speed ladders and balance exercises would be a waste of time.