What is sports performance training?

Sports performance training is training designed specifically to increase performance and minimize injury for general sports performance as well as specialized sports performance. Sports performance training is different from fitness and bodybuilding training in that the end goal is not to look better or have better over all health, but to improve athletic performance specifically. Generalized sports performance training focuses on improving generalized skills like muscular strength, core strength, balance, stability, coordination, hip, ankle, and shoulder mobility and stabilzation, and improved motor skills or the ability to move with skill. Specialized sports performance training focuses on getting an athlete ready for the demands of a specific sport and is much more narrow in focus. For example a discuss thrower must train to develop lots of power and strength to throw a discuss in a rotational motion. The ability to run long distance or having high amounts of muscular endurance or aerobic fitness is not only not needed it can actually hamper performance for a discuss thrower. For a soccer player however an emphasis on aerobic fitness, plus the ability to change direction while running at speed is most important. Being very strong but with no endurance would hamper soccer performance. For both examples no attention is paid to how well the athlete looks with their shirt off or in a bikini. The sole function is training for performance, and for each sport different types of "fitness" are needed.
Sports performance training is training for a specified sport. Sports performance training is also known as functional training, because a given sport requires a given type of training to prepare the body for specific adaptations placed upon the body. Sports performance training generally consists of exercises and movement similar to the sport.
Sports performance training is a targeted approach to training focused on your sport of choice. Performance training is functional in nature and requires a solid foundation before introducing skill to the equation.
Sports performance training is exactly what it sounds like. It is training designed specifically to improve an individuals performance within their sport. This means that their workouts adhere strictly to the principle of specificity: the body will adapt in direct relation to the stressors placed on it. For example, a tennis player who is involved in sports performance training will be performing exercises that mimic the movement patterns within her sport. She will be focusing on reaction, balance, agility, explosiveness, and high-intensity interval training. By modeling her training after the movements and demands of her sport, she will elicit adaptations that will directly carry over to competition.

Every athlete wants to be able to compete at their full potential. Sports performance training uses the demands of the specific sport and integrates flexibility, cardiorespiratory, core, balance, plyometrics, speed and quickness training to allow the athlete to meet these demands. Using testing techniques each athlete will be able to use proper progression not only to reach specific goals, but also to reduce the possible risk of injury.

Athletes have goals of enhancing strength, power, speed, agility, quickness, reaction, and more to improve abilities in their respective sport of choice. General fitness training can involve the same movements that athletes require, but Sports Performance Training is more specific to the demands of that particular sport. SPT programs are designed in a year round fashion, built around the seasons of an athlete.

SPT builds upon the foundational components of fitness with a layer of specificity. Flexibility requirements are designed to mimic the motions performed on the field. Strength and power components are comprised of total body moves that involve upright and ground activities. Speed, agility, and quickness training are designed with multi-planar moves and involve the need to react with varying situations. Endurance training is built with the required zone training demands that mimic their sport. While enhancing these foundations skilling and sport technique are also built within any SPT program. It is not uncommon for an elite athlete to have various coaches working within a closed system to enhance the effectiveness of the overall program.

The most important benefit of SPT is that these components are designed in an integrated fashion to create an explosive, injury resistant athlete.
Paul Winsper
Sports Medicine
Sports performance training is best defined with three objectives:
  1. Specialized - Designed to enhance pre-determined physical qualities and associated skills deemed necessary for increased success and reduced risk of occurrence/severity of injury in a certain athletic endeavor;
  2. Progressive - Training is scheduled in a manner as to produce the optimal results over time with minimal risk of injury; and
  3. Transferable - All training is a means to an end to promote high-levels of sports performance excellence in all capacities and optimal transfer from specialized and simulated exercises to that particular sport.
Collectively, these descriptors encompass a wide array of exclusive applications that, when integrated effectively into an ecceletic system, can optimize an athlete's raw abilities and sport-specific skills - thereby giving them a competitive advantage to be successful.

Sports performance training is exercising with the specific goal of improving your effectiveness as an athlete in your particular sport.  A traditional type of fitness training might include some cardio work, strength training and some stretching for flexibility.  This type of training might get someone in general shape and have them improve as an athlete somewhat.  But sports performance training gets more specific.  Volleyball players might train to improve their vertical jump with plyometrics.   Wide receivers in football might work on developing acceleration in sprinting.  And soccer players might work on footwork and agility drills to develop into better defenders. 

Larry Husted
Sports Medicine
Sports Performance training is the implementation of specific exercises and variables with the end result being an improvement in your chosen sport.  Every sport challenges and athlete's physical capabilities in different ways, so, in return, a good sports performance program will enhance the capabilities of the athlete to perform the skills most necessary to their sport of choice.

Good sports performance programs will include the following benefits to the athlete:
*Injury prevention
*Decrease wasted effort due to improper movement
*Increase postural control, balance and stability
*Increase muscular endurance
*Increase total strength
*Elevate maximum power output

It is important to remember that Sports Performance training includes helping the athlete while they are away from the sports arena or practice field.  With that being said, blanketing these benefits with a focused nutritional and supplementation program will help create adaptation and improve recovery so that the athlete can maximize their athletic potential. 
Sports Performance Training is an approach to training that helps athletes achieve their desired performance goals. Utilizing integrated movement that focuses on functional strength and neuromuscular efficiency forces the athlete to work in all three planes of motion versus just one plane, which is commonly seen in traditional strength and conditioning programs.
An Integrated Sports Performance Program consists of flexibility, cardiorespiratory, core, balance, plyometric, speed, agility, and quickness training.
Sports performance training is very different from conventional training. Sports performance is all about explosive movements, reaction, speed, and agility. Conventional training normally put more emphasis on body transformation and muscular built. A program that includes sport performance training has to be developed specifically for that sport. This type of training normally includes wide ranges of agility, power and speed training. There is a lot of emphasis on the planes of motion such as moving forward (sagittal), backward twisting (transverse), and sideways (frontal). You will not see many static stretches where you are holding a stretch for 20 seconds. You will see more dynamic stretches such has high jumps or triple flexion movements such as tossing a medicine ball by twisting to the side. Though the title states sports performance, It does not mean that the average every day person cannot include this in their routines. These types of exercises are a lot of fun and it really gets the adrenaline pumping. so try to include some sports performance movements in your next workout session.

Sports performance training is just what it sounds like. You are training for optimal performance in a particular sport. For example if you want to perform better in track and field, you would do specific training for that sport such as sprint intervals, hurdle practice, and baton passes to name a few.

Whatever is needed to perform better in the sport of your choice, that is what you would train for specifically. As a fitness coach I would also add some non-sport specific speed, agility, and quickness (SAQ) drills into the mix. They are non-sport specific drills because every sport needs this type of training.

Sports performance training simply put is a type of training that is designed to improve your fitness (in the broad sense of the term) level for the purpose of improving your ability to perform a given sport. It includes corrective and restorative exercise, strength training, conditioning and cardiovascular training, sports specific techniques and drills, periodization (devoting certain periods of time during a given year to different types and intensities of exercise depending on when optimal performance is needed), nutritional advice, mental and psychological training, and constant and consistent accountability and monitoring by a qualified trainer.

Sports performance training is training that takes your sport, in-season and post-season demands, frequent injuries, and energy systems used into consideration. Based upon these guidelines a 12 month program is made which includes intensities, durations, frequency, and rest days or weeks. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.