What is Sports Performance & Conditioning
Sports performance is the mode in which sport participation is evaluated. Sports performance is a complex array of biomechanical functions, psychological factors, and training techniques. Athletic performance in this context has a popular connotation of representing the pursuit of sporting excellence, where an athlete assesses their performance as a progression toward excellence or achievement. On one level, the determination of sports performance in most sport disciplines is relatively simple. In those sporting activities where the outcome is measurable and defined, such as a cycling race, a long jump, or throwing a javelin, the end outcome is quantifiable. In these sports, it is the quest for performance improvement that drives the analysis of the individual components of performance. When this can be isolated a shift in focus to physical conditioning and training.
The term strength and conditioning or ‘S & C’ have been modified to incorporate numerous modalities of exercise. This contains strength training (i.e. resistance training) which is central to exercise programming and other exercise modalities that address the needs of the athlete or sports performer. For example, a conditioning program for power athletes would involve resistance training and a combination of other exercises (plyometrics, agility/sprint training, flexibility). This is in addition to the rigours of sport-specific training and competition preparation. This is in contrast to a trainee that is exercising for general fitness, who would undertake resistance training in addition to cardio-respiratory training and flexibility. The use of multiple training modalities can enhance health and skill-related components of physical and muscular fitness. Thus, the integration of various training modes is critical to elevating overall conditioning.
The importance of a well prepared physical training program cannot be overstated. From the athletic perspective improving motor patterns and enhancing skill-related fitness is imperative for improving overall sporting performance. It is important to consider that elite level athletes possess superior muscular strength, explosive power, aerobic capacity and linear acceleration compared to athletes of lower levels or classifications. Thus, there is an important relationship between athletes standing and several components of physical fitness.