Fitness Assessment in Athletes

One of the major coaching errors in modern sports is the lack of appreciation for proper assessment of the physical fitness of elite athletes. Clearly, with all respect to coaches’ knowledge regarding “how to load” athletes to achieve peak performance at the right time, there is a common unsolved problem around and lack of knowledge about “how much is enough, and how much is too much,” which is directly related to high risk of injury. One recent well-controlled study among high school student-athletes conducted by Contos et al. (2006) clearly indicated that lack of physical fitness prior to the season is directly correlated with high risk for various traumatic sport-related injuries. There are numerous other studies in support of this observation. A high level of fitness achieved during pre-season must be maintained throughout the whole competitive season. Therefore it should be properly and systematically assessed, allowing for modification of the training program in the case of under-recovery and/or overtraining. It should be noted that fitness assessment among athletes must be sport-specific, since different sports (complex coordination, cyclic, endurance, games etc.) require sport-specific properties. Therefore, in the following text, various models and programs will be discussed within different categories of sport activities. Specific focus in this discussion is the situation with fitness assessment at Penn State Collegiate Athletics.


Physical Fitness Strength Training Muscular Strength Football Player Overuse Injury 
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