It would be foolish to not consider function during training, but the dynamic understanding and intent of function-ability can easily be misunderstood. Case in point, we have functional training, but often these modalities are just physical therapy exercises or Yoga poses that pertain to these settings. We have functional movement screens, great, but again the value outside of clinical applications of highlighting injury or potential for injury is not clearly identified. We also have intended functional applications of training for what we see (power and explosion). For example, I see athletes moving powerfully and explosively at various times of sports movement, therefore, employing exercises that are powerful and explosive must have capacity to affect function in both environments, right?
Now, I say this because in this regard do we really understand function or using an activity for a specific purpose or understanding the relationship between two variables? I say, probably not. Should we train for function? Absolutely, but if I don't clearly understand the relationship between the variables of function, the effort is misguided. I read an interview with a prominent sports team this weekend that just can't get on the winning track and the response was, "We're gonna keep working real hard." Great, but if an individual or group is working real hard on variables of function that don't relate very well, then, don't be surprised if the outcomes are not positive.
Take home points. Don't get lost in function. Don't get caught-up in the function of related entities, be they physical therapy, Olympic weight-lifting, yoga, cross-fit, movement training, or the like. These all serve a function, but should not dominate training for sports. Rather, do get caught up in the function of an athlete. Function here is specific. Take the time to try and identify, understand, and develop the more specific aspects of function for the individual and/or group that you work with. Develop a training curriculum in this regard and learn from the on-going outcomes, make changes as needed, and repeat. Be adaptable.