To improve athletic performance, general strength exercises should be used in the initial stages to build a base. The goal of these movements is to stimulate and strengthen the same muscles involved in the sports skill. Once a strength base is in place, exercises that are truly specialized (sport-specific) can be incorporated to zero in on targeted weaknesses involved in the sports skill or to help enhance the transformation of general strength into specific strength. In this way, maximal strength is developed initially and then used to enhance explosive strength that can be incorporated into the sport action.
There is a time and place for exercises in every category depending on the situation of a given athlete or coach, however, there’s also not exactly anything wrong with taking the straight line approach. The straight line approach would entail taking the most direct approach to boosting up the general strength (lift heavy and get stronger in basic movements), and engage in and hone the technique of the most specific strength exercise. Or, practice the specific movement you’re trying to improve in order improve the capacity to express strength in that movement, whether it’s sprinting, jumping or whatever. With this approach you have both ends covered.