In order to be physically prepared for competition an athlete’s physical fitness needs to be at a level that can manage the demands of the competition. Physical fitness helps reduce injuries in sport and is specific to the sport. That is, the athlete needs to be physically fit in all the components of fitness as they are required in their sport.
There are eleven (11) components of physical fitness, five (5) health and six (6) skill related (from Preliminary).
Health related components of physical fitness
- cardiorespiratory endurance
- muscular strength
- muscular endurance
- body composition
Skill related components of physical fitness
- reaction time
Each sport has specific key components of fitness that are required for safe and good performance. For example, a gymnast requires excellent muscular strength, muscular endurance, coordination, balance and flexibility. If any of these are lacking they are more likely to have an injury, such as a fracture occur.
For most sports a firm cardiorespiratory base is required to ensure the athlete does not become fatigued. If an athlete fatigues, then their technique becomes poor and injury is more likely to occur. This is particularly the case in sports such as AFL, football, or lacrosse, where both cardiorespiratory endurance and technical movements are combined. In these sports an athlete who is not physically fit is more likely to sprain an ankle, strain a muscle or suffer an abrasion to the skin.
Each sport is specific in its physical fitness requirements and should be analysed individually. This is particularly important as you do the learn to “analyse different sports in order to determine priority preventative strategies and how adequate preparation may prevent injuries.” The specific components of physical fitness required will be used more frequently in training in order to look after the athletes well-being and prevent injury. This would become a priority preventative strategy – ensuring the athlete has the appropriate physical fitness required for their sport of choice.