The Importance of Performance Factors in Sports

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 medicine scientists.
  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 disability.
  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 some form.

Neuromuscular and Physical Factors

Strength

Endurance

Body Type

Flexibility

Balance

Agility

Speed

Coordination

Timing

Reaction time

Rhythm

Steadiness

Accuracy


Mental and Psychometric Factors

Intelligence

Creativity

Alertness

Motivation

Discipline


Environmental Factors

Conditions

Equipment

Practice