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Defining Sports Performance Sports

Hey guys how’s it going my name is Coach Edgar Trejo and I’m the strength and Conditioning coach at Bodify Sports Performance. Today I want to enlighten you guys a bit about the broad term we call Sports Performance and what exactly is included in this bracket. Although books tend to define it in their own way from author to author, I’ve come to define it as a coalition of movement literacy, robustness, skill related components of fitness, special components, and most importantly… recovery! Let’s dig into more detail about what I mean by each of these components. Movement literacy to me is one of the most important set of skills to develop and maintain. This refers to adding tools to the athletes tool box in the sense of movement abilities such as sprinting, shuffling, cross over running, changing direction, deceleration etc. By teaching these movement patterns to the athlete we hope that they use it when the time is appropriate as each pattern is best suitable for certain scenarios.

For example, shuffles for lateral speed allow the athlete to have leverage towards both sides without fully committing to either side. In a game scenario this would translate to playing defense in basketball. Movement literacy also refers to effectively applying force on the ground in relation to the body to achieve the desired movement. The body needs to able to withstand and apply forces which leads us to our next topic, robustness.

Full disclosure, not all injuries can be prevented. However, we as strength and conditioning coaches must do our job to build athlete’s bodies so that they are more resistant to preventable injuries. Through strength training we allow the body to adapt to more stress and thus allowing the body to withstand stronger forces and apply more force. In addition, we also consider the nature of the sport being played and factor in the need for more muscle mass in contact sports to allow the muscles to absorb the impact. Another adaptation of strength training is an increase in bone density. Thus, making the athlete more resistant to bone fractures. Overall, we want the athlete to be able to resist injury so that they spend more time playing and practicing. After all, the athlete cannot be getting better or competing if he or she is in the trainer’s room.

Moving right along into the skill related components of fitness. It almost sounds cliched, but these are and continue to be an essential part of sports performance. These components include agility, speed, power, balance, coordination, and reaction time. Each of these components are interconnected and allow the athlete to develop overall. In addition, there are test that we as professionals conduct to see where we stand and what needs more improvement. Usually, depending on the sport at hand, the athlete needs more of a certain attribute. For example, in volleyball we wouldn’t train speed that much since the sport is played in an enclosed space instead, we would emphasize agility, reaction time, coordination, and power a bit more.

However, there are OTHER components of athleticism that usually don’t get emphasized as much but are a huge part of developing the athlete from an early age. These special components are Rhythm, suppleness, mobility, motor skills and spatial awareness. Although these seem extremely simple, they carry more weight than the skill related components from above for the reason that these are more internal and are honed through guided discovery instead of cueing. Rhythm for example can be seen when first trying to teach an athlete skips or bounds. If the rhythm is off, technique won’t be too good and the movement overall wont be very efficient. Suppleness refers to being flexible and graceful with the movements. I see more often with the high school athletes that have already started lifting, when the athlete runs the shoulders and hips are to stiff and don’t allow the full ranges of motion needed to optimize running technique. This leads us to mobility. Mobility also deals with flexibility but also has a strength component to it. Meaning: How strong are you through the full range of motion? Motor skills is the essence of movement and thus refers to all movement from hops skips to jumps to even throwing mechanics. Lastly we have spatial awareness. This one is really important for my younger athletes that are still growing because as the body continues to grow their strides might get longer or they might end up running into things with broader shoulders.

Now the most important part of this whole equation… recovery. I see it in the sports performance world and fitness. The erroneous thought that doing more will yield more results. There is no way around it, these things take time and attempting to rush things will not make things go faster. Proper recovery will make progress go faster. There is no substitute for good nutrition, proper rest, and good hydration. Once we learn to recover better we will be able to see better results. Of course this also means not doing enough will hinder our results. The key is overload principle. Gradually increase intensity or volume.

These things come together and compound to overall development. A good athlete will have a balance exposure to different things. This is why I preach to my athletes that its not all in the numbers. In the end, we are trying to develop balanced, robust, and efficient athletes.