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What the hell is sports performance training?

Updated: May 25, 2021

How does sports performance training differ from general fitness training?

Although there are some cross overs in the requirements of general fitness training and sports performance training, they are very different in their approach.

Sports performance training is not squatting on a swiss ball or completing multiple hill sprints at your local park, nor does it mean completing exercises that look like they replicate a sporting movement and then trying to overload them.

Sports performance training is derived as a result of assessing an athletes ability to perform tasks related to their sport at the best of their ability. These tasks take many different forms and ultimately we cannot seek to improve them all at once.

What tasks are involved in sports performance?

Physiological tasks can include, but are not limited to, aerobic/anaerobic output, power, speed, strength, repeat effort and recovery.

Psychological tasks can include, but are not limited to, mindset, perseverance, priming and resilience.

How do I know how I compare in relation to these tasks?

You measure them... Your performance coach should accurately understand the tasks required for your sport and assess your ability to perform those tasks accordingly. These assessments can come from performance testing, game-day analysis, in-session assessment and game-day metrics (e.g. GPS).

What do I do once I have the measures?

You aim to improve them... Prior to starting any sports performance training, your coach should establish:

  1. What your key events/goals are, in order to plan your training blocks effectively

  2. What the specific objective is over the upcoming training block

  3. Whether or not you have completed any similar training prior to starting this program

  4. Where they expect you to progress to once this training block has finished

  5. Does the program effectively cover the principles of specificity, adaptability, intensity and overload

What training will my performance program include?

This depends on your most pressing requirements. We like to call them the 'big rocks' - what will give the biggest overall improvements initially. However, each session would entail a combination of the following performance characteristics

  1. Flexibility / Mobility

  2. Strength / Power

  3. Stability / Proprioception / Co-ordination

  4. Speed / Change of Direction

  5. Warm-up / Gait training

  6. Recovery / Regeneration

And, as a rule of thumb, should cover some fundamental movements, including:

  1. Squat / Hinge

  2. Push / Pull

  3. Brace / Rotate

  4. Jump / Land

  5. Accelerate / Decelerate

  6. Cut / Pivot

If these fundamental basics are not included in the program and have not been previously included in their program, the athlete MUST attain a high level of proficiency prior to including any sports specific exercises.

What should I do if I have any more questions?

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