4 Ways to Enhance Athletic Performance - dummies

4 Ways to Enhance Athletic Performance

By Steve Glass, Brian Hatzel, Rick Albrecht

If you’re active in some form of recreational or athletic event, you know that it’s important to you to perform successfully. Performance enhancement commonly involves the assessment of your biomechanics, that is, how your body moves. Often, making small adjustments to how you move can produce significant effects on your performance.

Following are some specific suggestions to help you enhance your performance:

  • Increase muscle strength. Being stronger enables you to exert more force and experience less fatigue during the activity. To increase muscle strength, your first must know what your muscles do. (If you want to jump high, for example, you need to know what muscles are responsible for making you jump so that you can focus on those muscles.) Then try to run faster, jump higher, or throw harder to strengthen those muscles.

  • Get in the right position. Your postural positioning has significant effects on your function. To ensure you’re using the correct position, try these tricks:

    • Stand up straight and bend at your joints, not at your back.

    • Use your core muscles (abs and buttocks) to your advantage.

    • Keep your balance by controlling your movement. (Being off balance impedes your ability to generate a lot of force to complete your task.)

  • Follow the correct sequence of events. The correct movement patterns help you maximize force. You can use your knowledge of mechanical levers and force generation — that is, the muscles responsible for creating the force necessary to perform the movement and the location they attach to the bones that make up the joints —to help in this regard. For example, when hitting a golf ball, you wouldn’t rotate your torso before initiating your hips because doing so would cause you to lose all the power in your swing.

    To ensure you follow the correct sequence of events, follow these suggestions:

    • Familiarize yourself with the proper sequence of movements.

    • Practice the sequence slowly at first and increase your execution speed as your form improves.

  • Understand and review your technique. By understanding what you are supposed to do during a task, you can evaluate whether you are being successful. Follow these suggestions:

    • Practice, practice, practice. Repetition determines how efficient you are. Many professionals also use mental imagery.

    • Watch yourself. Take a video of yourself and watch what you are doing. Ask yourself whether everything that you do contributes to the successful completion of the task.