Sport without three Ps akin to skydiving without 'chute
Health and fitness: We wouldn't let someone jump out of a plane without a parachute; so why do we promote people playing sport without being physically prepared?
This is an extreme analogy I used earlier this year while presenting at an industry meeting organised by CQU Fitness, Sport, and Recreation; to stress my belief that strength and conditioning is for all ages and sport levels, not just the elite.
Within sports there are high forces placed upon the body at high speeds. We can all guess what happens when this load is greater than the amount the individual can handle; it breaks.
There are three key components that require development to help prepare all our athletes, young and old, for the demands of sport.
These areas are known as the three Ps of athletic development; Position, Pattern and Power.
Position, the first need in athleticism, describes the importance for athletes to simply be able to achieve the important, and compromising positions their sport puts them in. This requires the development and achievement of the necessary range of motion for each joint.
Secondly, athletes are required to co-ordinate and synchronise their movements in a controlled manner; this is pattern. As a player decelerates to receive possession of the ball, pivots and accelerates to beat an oncoming defender, all whilst planning his next move; his patterning will see him evade and achieve.
If this player is not prepared for the demands of this moment he may not get away from the defender or worse, sustain an injury.
Power, the last P of athleticism. This component is the product of force and velocity. It requires the development of the athlete's strength, and their speed to improve their capacity to produce power.
Initial thoughts of strength and conditioning brings our minds straight to this quality; we can see this makes up one third of the athletic development puzzle, as strength and power are merely milestones along the way of achieving the real goal of an athletic development program, movement athleticism.
Athletes need to be developing their three Ps to best prepare themselves for sports.
For all athletes and leaders of athletes, I urge you to explore and learn more about strength and conditioning for athletes of all ages.
If we're going to get our athletes to jump out of a plane and into sports, we should at least gear them with the best parachute we can find.
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