Sports-specific performance training is an approach to develop an athlete’s full potential in their sport. This involves three different factors: physical, technical, and experience. Physical ability is the exercise physiology that consists of strengthening and conditioning the body to handle the conditions of the sport. This includes:
Technical ability involves the skill sets needed for the sport. This includes:
And finally is the athlete’s experience. This takes the knowledge, combined with the physical and technical abilities brought together to perform at optimum levels. However, it all begins with physical ability that needs to be developed. Even naturally gifted individuals need to develop their physical ability.
Sports Specific Performance Training
Strength & conditioning objectives are to develop the whole athlete. This involves:
An athlete’s health takes into consideration their body composition and current or past injuries. Along with injuries, the athlete’s mobility, flexibility, and stability are examined to determine if these were among the contributors or conditions that caused or could lead to an injury. Strength & conditioning is used so an athlete can return to play and allow them to be more resilient to injuries. Maintaining the body’s health means:
- Keeping track of nutrition by making healthy food choices.
- Maintaining proper hydration levels.
- Allowing the body to recover from training thoroughly.
- Keeping the body loose and flexible through chiropractic sports massage or a personal training therapist.
Mobility, Flexibility, and Stability
- Mobility is an athlete’s ability to move through a specific range of motion actively.
- Flexibility is an athlete’s ability to move through a range of motion passively.
- Stability is the coordination of muscle action that allows a joint to remain in the proper position during movement.
If an athlete is mobile and flexible but not stable, it increases the risk of sustaining an injury. The same can be said of an athlete with stability but limited mobility.
An athlete’s mindset can win or lose games.
- Athletes are encouraged to push themselves to see what they are capable of, which relies on mental strength.
- Athletes that doubt their ability become their own worst critics and hold themselves in low self-esteem tend to underperform or become overly cautious when competing.
- This is where a sports psychologist can help an athlete overcome any confidence issues.
Developing athleticism involves strength, power, speed. These physical attributes allow athletes to perform within their technical and strategical abilities.
- It is recommended to spend 10-15 minutes warming up with each sports-specific performance training session. The warm-up:
- Primes for the athlete’s nervous system.
- Increases blood flow to the muscles.
- Prepares the joints for optimal function.
Warm-ups can consist of:
- Foam rolling
- Breathing drills
- Static stretching
- Corrective exercises
- Movement preparation
- Movement skills
Speed training addresses linear, lateral, and multi-directional speed. The objective is to keep athletes learning and developing better reaction skills while maintaining high-quality movement. Speed training can last 10 to 15-minutes with the number of repetitions.
Strength training follows an individualized system for each athlete based on an initial evaluation. The objective is to eliminate any weaknesses that an individual may have and develop functional strength, giving the athlete the ability to take that strength onto the field, court, mat, etc.
It is essential to understand how the body moves. Kinesiology and programming parameters involve – sets, repetitions, overall training volume, and the body’s response to the stimulus.
Exercise and Blood Pressure
Blood pressure typically rises naturally as the body ages. The American Heart Association recommends individuals get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intense aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity each week. This can be split up into 30 minutes per day on at least five days a week or in 10 minute short sessions throughout the day. Aerobic exercise can include:
Research suggests that resistance training with bands or weights can supplement aerobic exercise to reduce blood pressure. It is recommended to complete 2 to 4 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions for each major muscle group during workouts. It is recommended that resistance training be spaced out throughout the week to limit the potential muscle soreness that can lead to injury. Resistance training can include:
- Weight machines like chest press, shoulder press, etc.
- Free weights like dumbbells, barbells, etc.
- Resistance band exercises
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Jeukendrup, Asker E. “Periodized Nutrition for Athletes.” Sports medicine (Auckland, N.Z.) vol. 47,Suppl 1 (2017): 51-63. doi:10.1007/s40279-017-0694-2
Kraemer, William J, and Nicholas A Ratamess. “Fundamentals of resistance training: progression and exercise prescription.” Medicine and science in sports and exercise vol. 36,4 (2004): 674-88. doi:10.1249/01.mss.0000121945.36635.61
Nagorsky, Eugen, and Josef Wiemeyer. “The structure of performance and training in esports.” PloS one vol. 15,8 e0237584. 25 Aug. 2020, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0237584
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