| Sep 16, 2016
By: Thayne Munce, Ph.D.
From September 8 through September 19, the ACSM Sports Performance Blog is featuring a special content series in celebration of the achievements of para-athletes participating in this month’s international competition. Be sure to follow the blog as well as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (acsm1954) and share using #ScienceofSport.
Millions of people participate in athletics worldwide. While not everyone can be a medalist, all individuals can set personal goals and work hard to achieve their full potential. Sports provide young athletes, in particular, with wonderful opportunities to dream big and have fun while engaging in physical activities they enjoy. For those who are driven to perform at a high level in competitive sports, it is important they understand that athletic success is often a long, difficult process that requires commitment, perseverance and a burning desire to get better. The best athletes in the world embrace the concept of athletic development and focus on the things they can control: their effort, their attitude and their preparation.
Being prepared to meet the immediate demands of training and competition in a sustainable manner is the centerpiece of appropriate athletic development. This preparation is defined as athletic readiness and is determined by both natural ability and the degree to which someone can optimize their potential. Athletic readiness is comprehensive and encompasses all attributes that contribute to success in sports, including:
- Movement Quality
- Mental Toughness
- Athletic IQ
- Sport-Specific Skill
- Game Day Preparation
All aspects of athletic readiness are necessary for optimal performance in sports. Many gifted athletes get by on their athleticism alone until they compete against other individuals who are just as strong, fast and powerful as they are. At that point, athletes who are more highly skilled or who have taken better care of their bodies are at a distinct advantage. Regardless of ability, everyone is capable of improving their performance over time by focusing on overall athletic readiness. Less athletic and talented individuals have often overcome their deficiencies by being smarter, better-prepared athletes. There is no guarantee that anyone will ever become a champion, but striving to reach your potential and becoming a better athlete in a sport you love is a victory in itself.
Dr. Munce is the Associate Director of the Sanford Sports Science Institute and an Associate Scientist in the Children’s Health Research Center at Sanford Research.