As a strength and conditioning coach a little over the last four years, I’ve been lucky to train athletes across all levels and abilities. During my time as a coach, it’s apparent that not all athletes are created equal. Some athletes possess innate abilities that others do not. It’s not by chance that some athletes improve significantly faster than others; once exposed to training stimulus, or learning a new sports skill. All sports require the mastery of certain skills and complex movements for athletic success. The athlete’s ability to learn and master skills and movements is strongly dependent on their genetic bio motor abilities and other biological systems.
Speed- The least trainable ability, it’s the function of your CNS to move your limbs and your body to perform movements as quickly as possible. Stride Frequency X Stride Length=Speed.
Strength – The ability to produce force
Endurance – The athletes work capacity, their ability to perform work at an intensity over a certain period of time.
Coordination – Intra-muscular and Inter-muscular coordination to perform movements and sports skills efficiently.
Flexibility – Range of a joint. Joint angle will dictate muscle recruitment.
There are countless other abilities that are the combination of the main abilities, Power (Strength and Speed), Mobility (Flexibility and Coordination), Agility (Power, Speed, Coordination, Flexibility).
It’s important to understand that most sports are going to be the combination of 2-3 of these abilities. As a coach, we analyze the physiological demands of their sport/event to help prepare an athlete for their specific sport. In order for the athlete to have a better chance at performing the skills and movements required to succeed in their sport, we have to train and develop the bio motor abilities and qualities demanded by the sport. All athletes have a genetic ceiling. However, it’s only through training all these abilities can be maximized. Usain Bolt was gifted with more fast twitch fibers than most humans and the advantage of being 6ft5 while still having a stride frequency equal to other world class sprinters. However, he would’ve never reached his peak and set the world record for the 100m without hard work and dedication to training.