Developing Physical Abilities

The following is the introduction to Part 2 “Developing Physical Abilities” from Science of Sports Training by Thomas Kurz. I couldn’t have said it better, so I won’t even try. We are all athletes. Enjoy! -Nuey

There are two sides of the motor function — skills and abilities. Teaching movements develops skills and is called “technical training.” Developing physical abilities is called “conditioning.” Technical training is often impossible without sufficient development of the physical abilities. Psychological training is necessary for developing physical abilities.  All aspects of sports training are closely related. Learning skills and developing abilities constitute one process. Their separation in this part and part 3 is done only for the convenience of describing the process of sports training.

When developing any one physical ability, the athlete influences all abilities — how much depends on the kind of work used and the level of physical training. For people whose level of physical conditioning is low (they are in poor shape), exercises intended for the development of one particular physical ability will put considerable demand on other abilities. For example, for beginners, a 100-meter sprint will be a test of not only their speed, but also of their strength, endurance, and coordination.

“As training goes on, a dissociation of physical abilities takes place and exercise that before led to the development of all physical abilities now will affect only some of them,” (from Science and Practice of Strength Training by Vladimir Zatsiorky). Later on, even negative relations appear between some of the abilities. Thus, the tasks of simultaneously reaching an individual’s full potential of maximal strength and of long-duration endurance turn out to be mutually exclusive.

The greatest degree of development for any particular physical ability, however, may be achieved only if other abilities are also developed to a certain extent. Some people are naturally strong, some are fast, some are well coordinated. The training should focus on these abilities that an athlete has a genetic predisposition for. Other abilities are to be developed to such a degree as not to be weak links that hinder him or her from taking full advantage of natural ability.

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