strength and conditioning for sports performance

Is Strength and Conditioning Important for Sports Performance?

Strength and conditioning programs are a crucial part of an athlete’s sports performance for several reasons. Most notably, the beneficial outcomes of a good strength and conditioning program are:

  • Increased physical qualities such as strength, power, speed and endurance.
  • Resilience to injury and enhanced recovery from competition and training.
  • Increased confidence.

Basically, when everything else is equal, the fitter, faster, stronger athlete will win the contest.

Real World Examples

In real terms what does this look like?

It looks like the:

  • Quicker player getting to the ball before the opponent.
  • Boxer with energy in the 12th round when their opponent is knackered.
  • Rugby player catching up with their opponent and making a try saving tackle.
  • Tennis player’s power overwhelming the opponent.
  • Cyclist who just keeps going and going.
  • Striker knocking their opponent off the ball, or the weaker player being knocked off the ball.
  • Volleyball player blocking the shot thanks to the extra inch on their vertical jump.
  • Golf ball being an extra 30 yards down the fairway (or 30 yards deeper in to the bushes in my case)
  • Soccer player who is fit and available for selection all season.
  • Athlete who walks in to the game knowing they’ll be the one setting the pace.

Get the idea?

The Physical is a Big Influencer

Sure, competitive sport is about more than who is the most physically capable; sports performance is influenced heavily by technical, tactical and psychological elements. However, what can’t be denied is the physical is a major contributor to performance. If strength and conditioning is being ignored, the athlete’s potential won’t be fully realised in the long term and their performance will also suffer in the short term.

Adding strength, speed, power and/or endurance to an athlete’s technical skills will take them up a level.

Ronaldinho’s technical dribbling skills wouldn’t have been quite as devastating without his acceleration and speed.

Andy Murray probably wouldn’t have become the best tennis player in the world if he wasn’t able to maintain his energy and power over five sets.

A UFC fighter could be ‘in the zone’, have the best technical fighting skills and a winning strategy, but that all goes out the window if after 30 seconds they’re too tired to implement their techniques and tactics.

The examples could go on and on…

Strength and Conditioning is for Everyone

Strength and conditioning programs aren’t just for those at the professional level, strength and conditioning programs are hugely beneficial for all abilities and ages. Being fitter will enhance an amateur’s performance and, more importantly, their enjoyment of playing sport, as well as their general health.

Summary

Being in your best physical condition brings confidence that can have a powerful impact on your sports performance and the reverse is also true; no one wants to step on to the pitch doubting whether they’re going to be able to last the pace.

By strategically working on physical strengths and weaknesses an athlete can take their sports performance up a level. Good strength and conditioning programs help keep athletes in the best physical condition they can be and help them maintain this throughout the season.

If you’re looking for structured strength and conditioning to help improve your sports performance or general fitness, get in touch at jon.reid@panthera-performance.co.uk