Get The Basics Right For High Performance Sport
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Get The Basics Right For High Performance Sport

Basics For High Performance Sport - Soco Sports Performance Clinic

In this blog, we talk about the importance of the basics for high performance sport.

Get The Basics Right!

A wise man once said this of working in High Performance Sport: Get the Basics Right!

Frequently those in sport that we have seen struggle to maintain consistency and progress their health status and/or performance have constantly taken their eye off the basics in substitution for the sexier stuff.

Basics for High Performance Sports

High Performance Sports Advice and Training - Soco Performance ClinicSo what are the basics for high performance sport? These vary sport to sport slightly, but here is a rough overview.

Work Hard – Training Hard is the Keystone of High Performance: It helps but you will not make it on talent alone. You need to hone your abilities, Practise LOTS, Practise HARD & Practise DELIBERATELY! (Baker et al., 2003).

Focus on your Goals – Motivation is key, without it how do you keep on track, it’s not an easy road to the top! (Harwood et al., 2008).

Ensure effective Recovery (& Sleep!!!!!) – There is evidence to show frequently getting less than 8 hours per night can drastically increase injury risk in adolescents (Milewski et al., 2014). Research indicates a large proportion of athletes sleep less than 8 hour per night (Le Meur et al., 2013), which could be part of the high incidence of injury in competitive sport. Studies also indicate that there are correlations between overreaching and sleeping less (Hausswirth et al., 2014). Overall, ineffective recovery leads to faltering gains and eventually to the dark side (basically the treatment room) (Kellmann, 2002). Effective sleep hygiene is key in all of this, so please put down that phone at night time! For more tips on sleep visit the sleep sleep helpguide.

Effective Nutrition is critical to recovery too. Appropriate carbohydrate intake is a critical factor, but many aspects of Nutrition are important. Ultimately eating a fresh, varied and well-timed diet whilst trying to be specific to your sport, is the best approach. Food is your fuel to success to repair, replenish & grow. (Smith, 2003). Even a mighty Oak will wither if it isn’t fed and watered.

Build Maximal Strength – This WILL make you jump further, sprint faster, change direction faster, enhance sport specific performance and minimise injury risk too (Suchomel et al., 2016). Strengthening has also been shown repeatedly to enhance aerobic performance (Rønnestad and Mujika, 2014, Beattie et al., 2014, Blagrove et al., 2018) SO there is a lot of bang for buck here! Aim to complete a Strength & Conditioning Programme weekly (twice to three times weekly is considered best). This is your maintenance workshop and your turbo boosting tuning session. Bilateral (using both sides at he same time) and Eccentric resistance training is indicated to be most beneficial method (Suchomel et al., 2018). So if you want to stay injury free and primed to perform then get this sorted ASAP! (Ford et al., 2011, Faigenbaum and Myer, 2010).

Make Time (Plan your week / your month / your season) – Do you know how many hours are in a week?…..Not enough that’s how many!!!!!! Make each one count, cut the fat and chew the meat!

Complete a Training DiarySelf-Monitor and Record what you have done for each session Internally (how you felt: what it took out of you, OR how good your felt afterwards) and Externally (how much you did using GPS data etc.). This highlights reasons for successes and/or failures, which helps refine your planning as time goes on. Plus it makes my life much easier helping you understand why you might have got injured (did you know most injuries are due to training load errors?!) (Gabbett, 2016).

What Do Sports Performance Basics Do?

What the basics really do: They create consistency.

What do you need to succeed at your Goals?: Ability
What do you need to improve your ability?: Deliberate Practice
How do you practice effectively?: By Working hard
What Enables you to Work Hard without breaking down?: a ­Strength base
What allows the adaptation needed for strengthening: Recovery
What enables Recovery: an effective Diet
What allows you to recover: Time
what enables time?: Planning
what enables planning: information gathering
what enables this: Recording your training programme …… look you get the picture.

All these things enable Consistency, and what we know with consistency in terms of physical training that it enables you to build up a Chronic High Workload (this means being able to work hard repeatedly every week). And what we know of Chronic High Workloads are that they really protect you from injury. It’s the best injury prevention method we know of to be honest!

What’s the worst injury risk we know of?: acute spikes in training load (Overloading that bit too far) i.e. not being consistent. So the key to improving your ability is to be consistent and the best way of staying away from the likes of me is to be consistent and how do you do this?… Exactly The Basics!!

Key Point For High Performance Athletes

To keep your eye on the prize of High Performance, ensure you keep hold of the basics. High Performance needs a platform to be based on. Cover the basics and this will be your springboard to stepping up to another level rather than Yo-Yoing between having potential and being mediocre!

Further Reading

If you want to read some more about the basics and how they are integral to all high performance athletes then check out the below!

  1. Gabbett, T. (2016) ‘The Training-Injury Paradox: Should Athletes Be Training Smarter and Harder?’, British Journal of Sports Medicine, 0, pp. 1-9.
  2. Smith, D. (2003) ‘A Framework for Understanding the Training Process Leading to Elite Performance’, Sports Medicine, 33(15).
  3. Suchomel, T., Nimphius, S., Bellon, C. and MH., S. (2018) ‘The importance of Muscular Strength: Training Considerations’, Sports Medicine, 48(4), pp. 1419-1449.


Get the Basics for High Performance

If you’re not sure if you’ve got your bases covered for the basics of high performance training then give us a call now on +353 1 541 4793 or contact us online to arrange your first consultation and we’ll help you devise a training plan that works for you.


  • Baker, J., Horton, S., Robertson-Wilson, J. and Wall, M. (2003) ‘Nurturing Sport Expertise: Factors Influencing The Development of Elite Athlete’, Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, 2, pp. 1-9.
  • Beattie, K., Kenny, I., Lyons, M. and Carson, B. (2014) ‘The Effect of Strength Training on Performance in Endurance Athletes’, Sports Medicine, 44(6), pp. 845-865.
  • Blagrove, R., Howatson, G. and Hayes, P. (2018) ‘Effects of Strength Training on the Physiological Determinants of Middle- and Long-Distance Running Performance: A Systematic Review’, Sports Medicine, 48(5), pp. 1117-1149.
  • Faigenbaum, A. and Myer, G. (2010) ‘Resistance Training Among Young Athletes: Safety, Efficacy and Injury Prevention Effects’, British Journal of Sports Medicine, 44, pp. 56-63.
  • Ford, P., De Ste Croix, M., Lloyd, R., Meyers, R., Moosavi, M., Oliver, J., Till, K. and Williams, C. (2011) ‘The Long-Term Athlete Development Model: Physiological Evidence and Application’, Journal of Sports Sciences, 29(4), pp. 389-402.
  • Gabbett, T. (2016) ‘The Training-Injury Paradox: Should Athletes Be Training Smarter and Harder?’, British Journal of Sports Medicine, 0, pp. 1-9.
  • Harwood, C., Spray, C. and Keegan, R. (2008) ‘Achievement Goal Theories in Sport’, in Horn, T. (ed.) Advances I Sport Psychology. 3rd ed. Champaign, Illinois: Human Kinetics, pp. 157-185.
  • Hausswirth, C., Louis, J., Aubry, A., Bonnet, G., Duffield, R. and Le Meur, Y. (2014) ‘Evidence of Disturbed Sleep and Increased Illness in Overreached Endurance Athletes’, Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 46(5), pp. 1036-1045.
  • Kellmann, M. (2002) ‘Underrecovery and Overtraining: Different Concepts: Similar Impact?’, in Kellmann, M. (ed.) Enhancing Recovery: Preventing Underperformance in Athletes. Champaign, Illinois: Human Kinetics, pp. 3-24.
  • Le Meur, Y., Duffield, R. and Skien, M. (2013) ‘Sleep’, in Hausswirth, C. & Mujika, I. (eds.) Recovery for Performance in Sport. Champaign, Illinois: Human Kinetics.
  • Milewski, M., Skaggs, D., Bishop, G., Pace, J., Ibrahim, D., Wren, T. and Barzdukas, A. (2014) ‘Chronic Lack of Sleep is Associated with Increased Sports Injuries in Adolescent Athletes’, Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics, 34(2), pp. 129-133.
  • Rønnestad, B. and Mujika, I. (2014) ‘Optimizing Strength Training for Running and Cycling Endurance Performance: A Review’, Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, 24, pp. 603-612.
  • Smith, D. (2003) ‘A Framework for Understanding the Training Process Leading to Elite Performance’, Sports Medicine, 33(15).
  • Suchomel, T., Nimphius, S., Bellon, C. and MH., S. (2018) ‘The importance of Muscular Strength: Training Considerations’, Sports Medicine, 48(4), pp. 1419-1449.
  • Suchomel, T., Nimphius, S. and Stone, M. (2016) ‘The Importance of Muscular Strength in Athletic Performance’, Sports Medicine, 46(10), pp. 1419-1449.
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