The Definition of Fitness for Sports
There is no single definition of fitness for sports. It has different meanings depending the specific demands of the sport and your personal status. The basic question, "What is fitness?" in general, and then "What is sport fitness?".
The General Definition of Fitness
Physical fitness has been defined as:
*A set of attributes (qualities) relating to people's ability to perform physical activity.(1)
*A state of well-being with low risk of premature health problems and energy to participate in a variety of physical activities. (2)
*The ability to meet the ordinary as well as the unusual demands of daily life safely and effectively without being overly fatigued and still have energy left for leisure and recreational activities. (3)
Experts agree that it has many dimensions and levels. It has been further broken down into two categories of components that, collectively, help define it:
See Fitness Components
*Health-related: cardiorespiratory (aerobic), muscular strength and endurance, muscular flexibility, and body composition.
*Skill-related: agility, balance, coordination, power, reaction time, and speed.
Any definition may include health-related and/or performance-related components, and they are not mutually exclusive--they overlap. You cannot develop power without training for speed and strength. Agility is comprised of speed, strength, power, flexibility, reaction time, balance, and coordination (skill), so sports training to improve one component also improves others.
The Definition of Fitness for Sports Training
Training for each sport, each team, and each athlete is different, so programs are developed differently. Sports fitness training programs are designed to condition athletes specifically for the unique demands of their sports by building the proper combination of components.
The following are recommendations for sports training according to experts:
1. Do not overanalyze. Fitness components overlap. There is no need to conduct training activities to develop each fitness component independently. Overanalysis can cause paralysis for fitness training as well as for skill development.
2. Capitalize on the
transfer of training.
Decide which training activities best transfer to sport performance regardless of whether they are classified as skills or fitness components.
3. Beware of new terms and new fitness training "research". New buzz words or terms usually mean the same thing as commonly understood terms, but with a slightly different spin or from a new perspective. Find out exactly what the term means before you change from effective regimens to "revolutionary" new training methods.
4. Decide on your own fitness definitions. Make your own educated decisions about what fitness components or combinations of them you should strive to develop for your athletes.
5. Know how to measure. When you decide what sport fitness means for your athletes, find ways to evaluate it as you have defined it.
Have confidence in your fitness training program. Remember that buzz words and popular workouts may not fit with a textbook definition of fitness. Take what you read in magazines with a grain of salt. If you have confidence in your training program, your athletes will, too.
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