Every athlete at every level of sport is always looking to improve sport performance. Some factors that influence sports performance can be improved while other cannot. To improve sport performance one needs to look at 5 influencing factors. Body proportions, skills training, strength, flexibility and endurance. These five factors will influence what sport you play, what position you play and how good you can be at either. Each of these factors may individually or as a group affect your sport performance. Here’s a break down of each factor and how it can affect your sports performance.
1) Body Proportions
This is the only factor that cannot be controlled. You can get taller, make your arms longer or your hands bigger. Genetics will control this factor and in turn this factor may control the sport you play or the position you’ll play. If your 5’5” your probably not going to have a career in professional basketball or as an NFL quarterback. You wouldn’t be able to see over the linemen or be ale to get a shoot off. Height is only one factor in body proportions. Your bone structure is another. If you have a narrow frame your body will only be able to carry so much muscle, that you can gain from strength training, and still have flexibility and the ability to keep your athleticism. No matter how much you practice, how much muscle you pack on or how great your skills are. Body proportions are the first limiting factor influencing sports performance. Choose a sport and a position that fit your body. If your tall, you probably want to try basketball or volleyball. If you have a wide frame you’d probably be good as a football lineman or linebacker.
2) Skills Training
Practice makes perfect. Skills training, practicing your specific sport, is very important and the only way to improve skills performance. Even if you’re proficient at all other factors influencing sports performance, you will never be great unless to have the skills to play the sport. How many times have you seen an athlete be great at one sport but be very mediocre at another. They obviously didn’t have the skills training to be good at that sport. Learning from a skilled coach is the best way to improve your skills and improve sports performance. Improved motor skills, proper body position, how to start and stop, timing, coordination, rhythm and body stabilization are skills that can be learned to improve performance. This is why athletes practice 5-6 days a week, performing repetitive drills to improve their skill set. If you don’t practice the sport you play, you will never get better.
Strength training is a large part of improving sports performance. Strength training can prevent injury to muscles, ligaments, tendons and bones. Improved strength can help absorb the impact forces that occur in sport and prevent injury. The added muscle surrounding the joints keep the joint in it’s proper alignment and also absorb the shock forces from impact. Improved strength will also allow the player to hold a skill position better, longer and allow for repetitive movements with optimal body positioning. The obvious benefit of strength training is to be physically stronger than your opponent. In football if your offensive and defensive linemen are stronger than your opponents offensive and defensive linemen your going to have decided advantage. Strength training can also improve running speed and jumping height and length which are all skills uses in just about every sport. So every athlete should be performing strength training.
Flexibility is the range of motion and soft tissue extensibility around a joint. Flexibility can be improved several ways, by performing dynamic stretching, static stretching, active stretching, self myofacial release and massage can improve flexibility. Improved flexibility can prevent injury by allowing the muscles to stretch to the proper length and at the proper rate. Having the proper length tension relationship in a joint will also improve the performance of the muscles. Stretching the tight muscles will allow for this optimum length tension relationship in the joints. Proper joint alignment and soft tissue extensibility will reduce injury whole also improving performance. Every athlete should work on proper flexibility.
Adequate amounts of endurance are usually attained by the repetitive movements performed by the skills practice of the chosen sport. To improve the endurance level of the athlete above that of normal skills practice a properly designed conditioning program should be followed. Endurance program should mimic the actions of the sport the athlete plays. You would have a baseball player running 5 miles a day. That does not mimic what a baseball player would do during a game. They should instead perform shorts sprints in repetition. That would mimic running down a fly ball then leading off the next inning with a triple. Athletes should perform an endurance training program that closely mimics the actions of the sport that they play.
Every athlete at every level is always looking to improve sport performance. Some factors that influence sports performance can be improved while other cannot. To improve sport performance 5 factors need to be addressed. Bodily proportions, skills training, strength, flexibility and endurance. These five factors will influence what sport you play, what position you play and how good you can be. Each of these factors may individually or as a group affect your sports performance. Improve the ones that you can control and choose the right sport for your body proportions and you’ll improve your sports performance.
[stextbox id=”grey” caption=”About the Author”]Josh Morrison is the owner of Optimum Performance Training in Mt Zion, IL. He has a M.S. in Performance Enhancement, B.A. in Physical Education, certified as an NASM-PES, NASE-CSSE, NASM-CPT, NESTA-CPT, Human Kinetics-Advanced Exercise Nutrition and APEX-FitPro. [/stextbox]