Modern sport requires an athlete to have a combination of technical and tactical skills, physical capacities and psychological and emotional strength. It is often debated that mental resilience far out way the physiological superiority when it comes to elite sport performance. It is our opinion that the type of sport has a massive effect whether or not mental resilience, physical capacities or technical and tactical skill are the reason for success.
If we had to look at cycling or middle and long distance running where athlete’s aerobic capacities would be similar at elite. The difference between first and forth could be the athlete that can maintain a high level of pace over time with less deterioration than his or her opponents. Physiological superiority plays a massive role but if we had to look at another sport like soccer where physiological superiority plays a massive role but not the only determinant factor of winning or losing, where strength, better movement efficiency and tactical ability plays makes a difference.
It is therefore important to note that if we want to enhance sport performance we have to look across many areas and as sport coaches we have to develop athleticism to support technical skill.
There are five things coaching for sport performance requires:
- Take the game sense approach, look at the sport and the motor skill required to participate in the sport.
- Develop a physiological reserve in your athletes where they are able to perform tasks at a higher level and a longer time than their opponents.
- Develop strong athletes that can withstand the technical and tactical training without getting injured.
- Mental resilience should be part of your coaching programme.
All coaching programmes must be athlete-centred and each athlete must be treated as individuals