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Keys to Sports Performance-and Some Real Life Super Heroes

Updated on December 15, 2011

Sports and athletic performances are a great barometer for success in life. In a sport (or performance arts such as dancing,) preparation, hard and smart work and mental training are all important to achieving a goal. Both physical and mental endurance are important as well, just as in real life. But no matter how well prepared a person is, life happens in cycles, and everyone has their ups and downs.

To get the highest peaks in performance, while programming in a down cycle, make sure all of the following elements are present:

Proper physical training

This is the most obvious and first item that should be addressed when performance problems arise. Is the person getting too much activity? Too little? Is the program ineffective? While each physical endeavor has different requirements, every athlete from ballet dancers to wrestlers needs the following elements in their program to some extent.

-Strength: For dancers, mastering their body weight requires static strength and muscular endurance, not to mention flexibility and intense mental focus. A linebacker needs strength and power to hold back big, strong opponents. In everyday life, physical strength helps you get through daily tasks, be prepared for unexpected ones and to approach work tasks with more confidence.

-Power: Football, Olympic lifting and gymnasts are good examples of sports where power is essential. Martial arts is another example where power is important. In everyday life, being able to generate adequate power is a handy skill for your body’s toolbox.

-Agility: Ever stop to think how complicated simple tasks like making coffee in the morning are? Your brain has hundred of minute movements to coordinate with the brain to make this happen. Now consider how much more important this trait is for a soccer player, wide receiver or tennis player. Agility is a great skill to develop, if only to keep from tripping over your own feet.

Don't hang those cleats up just yet.
Don't hang those cleats up just yet. | Source
Strength training comes in many forms.
Strength training comes in many forms. | Source



Task specific knowledge allows a person to evaluate the game, marketing plan or to-do list for the day. When you understand what is involved and how to execute, it is easier to perform efficiently. When slumps happen, it is also easier to evaluate the situation. To prevent a slump in athletics or your professional life, always understand the game plan or material, and develop a strategy for attacking it.

Mental Strength:


Hopefully physical conditioning or training for a specific activity has taken care of some of the development of this trait. But it is important to mentally prepare for maintaining focus under pressure. Sure, you’ve gone over the exam questions a thousand times, but when the timer starts and the squeeze is on, will stress derail those long hours of study?

Athletes, at-home parents and professionals must have a mental preparedness routine to run through before every major game or event.  

When performances in any area of life begin to suffer, consider these elements first. Many times the answer is a lot simpler than it seems. For some great tips on becoming a physical specimen, read the articles below.

NASM Essentials of Sports Performance Training
NASM Essentials of Sports Performance Training

Get a professional's point of view on training on sports performance. An important study text for any fitness enthusiast or future NASM personal trainer.


Video from "This is Genius" about Tsutomu Tosaka

A short video about the preparation of Ndamukong Suh

Amazing Athletes of All Ages

Professional sports are dominated by the 18-35 year old age range. But it seems like every day there are more and more older, and younger, athletes redefining the possibilities for their age group. Read through the following examples, and get inspired!

Ernestine Shepard: If you haven't heard of this woman, let me be the first to introduce you. Ernestine is a 74 year old female bodybuilder, personal trainer, and fitness model. She has even placed first in a competition. Perhaps most amazing? She doesn't just 'look good for her age.' She looks good, period.

Ernestine started this journey as a pact between sisters when she was in her late 50's. She went from sitting in a chair all day as a secretary to an iconic example of what the human body can be at any age.

Tsutomu Tosaka, winner of the Japan Master's Bodybuilding Championship in 2009, obliterates the stereotype of the slow-moving old man who needs a cane. Here is a man who didn't start until he was 40, and who has a body that does not appear to have aged since then. Even more amazing, he stands on stage with perhaps a dozen more men in the over-70 division at this competition. None of them look their age. But then again, they are redefining what that means.

Stevo Poulin: 48 lb wrestler Stevo Poulin is only 7 years old, but he has already compiled an astonishing record of 256 wins and 26 losses (at the time of this writing.) His technique is being lauded by expert commentators,who speculate just how far he can take his career if he keeps it up through college. While some may think this is an invitation to burn out, there is no doubt Stevo has already accomplished something special. More importantly, he has the inner intensity it takes to keep at it and be successful.

There are many more examples of young and old athletes pushing the boundaries of what the human body is expected to do. Inspiration is everywhere, because in the end, these people are just like everyone else, with the belief and motivation to go beyond what society believes possible.


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