Is just simply playing a sport good enough to enhance performance?

Unfortunately, simply playing a sport well is not enough to enhance performance. Just as sport performance is multifaceted, performance enhancement requires deliberately training for all aspects of the game (e.g., physical, mental, tactical). Physical training should include strength and conditioning, flexibility, and injury prevention tailored specifically to the sport. Mental skills training might target confidence, focus, and/or goal setting.

While it is important to continue playing the game you love, for the love of the game, playing time that is directed at improving performance should be deliberately focused on learning and improving aspects such as technique and form. Quality practice entails engaging in activities that are deliberately intended to help you perform better. Rather than practicing to practice, as many athletes do, practice to compete. This shift in focus should help everything fall into place during competition. 

The Talent Code, a book by Daniel Coyle, is a fantastic illustration of how talent manifests in expert performers.

Yes and no. Yes, playing a sport will help your conditioning, but no, it generally is not enough to effectively enhance your performance. Without question, playing the actual sport is a great way to improve performance of the skills, tactics, and strategies desirable for that sport as well as improve fitness levels. Performing under the stress of competition, abiding by all the rules and regulations, and juggling all the unanticipated variables is what yields these results. It's also what makes sports fun in addition to enjoying success. However, sports performance training can provide advantages that normal competition and practice cannot. Sports performance training creates a path for general health and fitness as well as providing initial and/or contributing steps in the skill acquisition process. In some aspects, it can be considered the foundation of the sports performance process, followed by sports practice, and capped by the actual sports performance or competition. There are numerous advantages to implementing a performance training program. These advantages include increased maximal strength/power, increased movement efficiency in a 360º plane of motion, accelerated ability to rehabilitate or build resiliency to possible injuries, overcoming mental obstacles that require a deliberate progression, learning highly advanced techniques, or creating combinations of other fundamental movements. When added together and integrated properly each component (training, practice, and game playing) adds value, addresses issues that the other areas cannot, and produces optimal results.

Continue Learning about Types Of Exercise

Types Of Exercise

Types Of Exercise

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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.