Four More Factors Critical to Sports Performance

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As explained in a previous article, there are several factors that are considered crucial for high Atlantic Sports Performance Training. The importance of each of these factors depends largely on the sport or activity being performed. While the factors of power, speed, strength, agility, and coordination have already been discussed in a previous article in this series, the following factors are also considered critical to athletic performance.

Speed

Ok, so speed is a very general term for this ability and perhaps not the best, but quickness should be considered differently than speed. In its complex definition, it does include speed, but it also includes a person’s reaction and movement time. Speed refers to how quickly an athlete reacts to a situation or stimulus, how quickly they make a decision when needed (which draws on elements of expertise), and how quickly they are able to actually activate their muscles and move to respond to the stimulus. Sounds pretty complex, right? It is, especially when you add things like anticipation into the mix! Anticipation itself can be very valuable, as some exceptional athletes are able to read their opponent’s cues and know what they are going to do before they actually do it.

Muscular endurance

Muscular endurance refers to the ability to perform a skill repeatedly at a high level. This definition also includes the ability to resist fatigue in the muscles and joints required to perform the skill. Muscular endurance is important in sports because many sports require an incredible number of skill repetitions. Think of how many times a basketball or volleyball player jumps during a game, or how many times a cyclist pedals during a single race. Many sports, such as volleyball, require maximal effort, which usually requires anaerobic activity. Therefore, it is critical that the skill can be performed repeatedly with very little drop in performance, such as that caused by fatigue. Many modern training programs attempt to focus on muscular endurance, especially for elite athletes.

Mobility

Agility is the ability to move limbs, joints, and muscles through a desired range of motion. The range of motion required for different sports varies greatly, and so the differences in flexibility between athletes are also very different and sport-specific. There are hundreds of different stretching exercises used to improve the range of motion of specific body parts, but almost always with the goal of achieving the following two factors: Injury prevention or performance enhancement.

When deciding how to train your flexibility, consider what type of adaptation you are seeking, such as improving range of motion or decreasing tension in the hamstrings, and select an appropriate method and exercise. Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (or P.N.F.), for example, is widely considered an excellent method for improving range of motion.

Cardiovascular Endurance

The final factor is cardiovascular endurance (or aerobic capacity), which is, more generally, an athlete’s ability to perform for relatively long periods of time. Clearly, the aerobic capacity of a marathon runner is highly developed, whereas the capacity of a weightlifter may be rather low. Thus, as with many of these factors, the importance of this factor depends largely on the particular activity or sport. However, it is generally accepted that almost all athletes have at least an increased level of aerobic endurance compared to the general population.

These are 4 more factors that are important for achieving high levels of athletic performance. If you haven’t already, it’s worth reading the first article in this series to learn more about the other five factors and adjust your training with your newfound knowledge.

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