When a person thinks of playing a sport it is useful to understand what the activity demands from the individual. Operationally, we define the considerations implicit in sports participation as "performance factors".
These concepts are adapted from the writings of Cureton (1956), Grueninger (1969) and Hunsicker (1974). We feel that a system of ranking sports according to the importance of the individual performance factors is useful for parents, coaches, participants and medical personnel.
Performance Factors Charts
NISMAT has developed charts showing the performance demands of various sports. When viewing these charts it is useful to remember the following:
1. Many of the factors which are listed cannot be properly (i.e., validly and reliably)
measured. Indeed, their measurement represents a continued challenge to sports
2. Disability in one area does not necessarily preclude one from performing in a given
sport. Increasing reliance on other performance factors often can compensate for
3. Sports can be played at a number of intensity levels with varying proficiency. These
ratings are our perceptions of the requirements to perform well.
4. We consider athletics and sports to include activities which participants choose for their
leisure time. Our broad definition of sports makes virtually everyone an athlete of
• Browse charts of performance demands of specific sports.
• Post your performance factors demands for a sport.
Neuromuscular and Physical
Click the descriptors to view the performance factor criteria
Ability of muscles to move against resistance or to prevent the movement of the body against resistance
The ability to maintain repetitious movement of skeletal muscle
The combination of height, weight, and body dimensions including fat distribution and amount
The ability of muscles and tendons to lengthen without damage
The ability to maintain the body in a defined position over changing centers of balance
The ability to quickly change direction in response to outside stimuli
The ability to rapidly contract muscles in a sequenced manner to propel the body
The ability to move the body in ways that requires complex inputs and carefully graded muscle contractions
Initiation of movement or changing the speed of movement in response to external stimuli
A component of timing, the ability to initiate movement and respond to a stimulus
Synchronized movements associated with thought in repetitive movements
Ability to maintain frim control over body movements
Precise location of propelled objects
Mental and Psychometric Factors
Ability to interrelate perception of the environment into mental constructs, based on past experienceand education
Ability to establish new ways of doing things which are unexpected
Mental preparedness to adjust rapidly to changing situations
The ability to push the body towards a goal
Concentration to the exclusion of external and internal stimuli
The influence of the playing field and environmental factors that may determine outcomes
The roll of implements used in sport in determining sport outcomes
The importance of repeating patterned movements to assure perfect execution during the game