The difference between general fitness and sports performance is the specificity and goals of each program. Typical goals of general fitness include weight loss, adding lean muscle, cardiovascular health, & proper dieting aimed at improving one’s overall quality of life. Sports performance is all about the development of force, speed, flexibility, mobility, and power. For the most part, athletes can see the same benefits fitness enthusiasts look to attain during exercise. But those same fitness enthusiasts will most likely not attain the same goals athletes strive for during exercise.
Sport performance improvements are specific to the activities athletes will participate in. Put simply, a long distance runner will need to improve her endurance, a sprinter will need to improve speed, and a football lineman will need to gain mass and strength. The athletic qualities that need to be developed will help them achieve success in their respective sports. Specificity is the key to sports performance and it’s crucial athletes and or parents are aware of this.
Testing parameters need to be specific as well. A typical fitness enthusiast will measure progress in terms of weight loss, circumference measuring & resting heart rate. For athletes looking to improve sports performance, test may include all of the following:
- Acceleration & max speed
- Body composition
Training for sports performance should lead to improvements in these qualities. Understanding this will help athletes make better decisions as to what the goals of their training should be.
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