6 Keys to Athletic Success

6 Keys to Athletic Success

Keys to success
Keys to success. Photo (c) Tyler Stableford / Getty Images

There are many factors that determine athletic success. While some may be genetic, many are within your control. Whether you're an elite or recreational athlete, there are some basics training guidelines and principles that will help you get the most from your training. These six tips can help you bump up your sports performance. 

#1 - Build Basic Core Strength

core strength
core strength.

Building a solid foundation for all athletic movement starts with building rock-solid core strength. Constantly maintaining your balance and momentum while playing sports is critical to performance and injury prevention. Making core strength a part of your basic training program will help your control your movements and shift your body weight to move in any direction with ease. Whether you play field or court sports, swim, play tennis, golf or do a little bit of everything, be sure to include a core-strengthening workout two to three times per week.

#2 - Prevent Injuries by Practicing Sports Safety


Learning sports safety and injury prevention basics is often the first thing a new coach will teach players. And there is a good reason it's so high on the list of athletic skills: an injured athlete can't compete effectively. Smart athletes always practice injury prevention. Sports safety means warming up adequately, training effectively, using proper equipment for your sport, getting adequate rest and recognizing and addressing the early warning signs of injury. Following these safe workout tips can reduce your risk of common sports injuries, aches and pains, and help you train more effectively and arrive at the start line prepared to succeed.

#3 - Build Muscular Strength and Endurance

strength and endurance
strength and endurance.

Both strength and endurance are needed in every major athletic endeavor. Building a solid endurance base will help you hold off fatigue and allow you to compete longer and stronger. Even if you are a power athlete, and your sport demands short, high intensity bursts, you need cardiovascular fitness and endurance.  And for athletes who mainly focus on long, steady state exercise, building muscular strength will help prevent joint injuries and chronic overuse aches and pains during long training sessions.

#4 - Build Mental Fitness with Sports Psychology Techniques

Sports Psychology
Sports Psychology. Blend Images - Priscilla Gragg/Brand X Images/Getty Images

Sports psychologists help athletes get a mental edge by practicing visualization and centering techniques. These techniques allow athletes to to reduce anxiety and stress and redirect focus from any negative, anxiety-causing events to the present task. Elite athletes know how to avoid the top three common sports psychology mistakes many untrained and novice athletes make and overcome these errors by frequently practicing sport psychology methods, but any athlete can get a performance boost by improving mental fitness.

# 5- Eat for Exercise and Learn About Sports Nutrition

nutrition for sports
nutrition for sports.

Becoming a successful athlete requires the right fuel and learning the fundamentals of sports nutrition is essential for every athlete.  Unless your workout is less then 20 minutes, you'll want to make sure you plan to rehydrate during your workouts, and be sure to follow the basics of good pre- and post-exercise nutrition.  

# 6 - Listen to Your Body - Don't Exercise in Pain

heed injury warning signs
heed injury warning signs.

A smart athlete knows the difference between discomfort and pain. It's critical to listen to your body and never exercise in pain. Pain is the body's primary warning signal that alerts us to a problem. Learning when to push and when to back off can make you a better athlete, but exercising in pain might cause you permanent injury. Training should not cause pain and if it does, you need to back off or stop the activity until the pain stops. 

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