5 Components of Athlete Development
Updated: Jan 14, 2020
by Amanda Leibovitz
One of the most common barriers to peak performance that comes up in my work with athletes across multiple sports is that we tend to focus all of our energy and attention on the physical and technical aspects of our sport. Why? They’re usually the easiest to assess because we can “see” data, facts, and figures that tell us whether we were successful or not. While this serves a great purpose in helping us reach our goals, we are limiting our performance by not ALSO addressing the tactical, mental, and self-care aspects, too. Though these can be a little more challenging to define and measure, they do have a valuable role in your development as an athlete. Here is a quick-start guide to getting the MOST out of your training so you can perform at your best! PHYSICAL - The physical aspect of performance includes the power, speed, endurance, and strength required to meet your goals. TECHNICAL - The technical aspect of performance involves all of the skills and techniques needed to get the most out of your body physically. This includes things like cadence, pedal stroke efficiency, bike handling, and general bike maintenance. TACTICAL - The tactical aspect of performance are the strategies you choose employ in competition to set yourself up to success. In time trialing, this often includes pacing yourself properly to get the most of what your body can offer. In road racing, this definitely includes your ability and willingness to work as a team and take advantage of the pack. MENTAL - None of your physical, technical, or tactical preparation will come to fruition if you do not have the discipline, resilience, emotion regulation, and adaptability to actually execute your plan in the face of changing conditions. Mental preparation includes things like pre-performance routines, knowing your physical strengths and limitations, trusting your teammates, and keeping focused on the present moment. SELF-CARE - I use this as a “catch-all” to group everything related to physical and emotional well-being, both within and outside of your sport. This can include active recovery and self-care like stretching and foam rolling, but also includes sleep hygiene, nutrition, hydration, stress management, and interpersonal relationships. I encourage you to engage in an HONEST self-assessment of where you are with each of these pillars of performance. A great place to start is to identify two things you are currently doing well in each category and two things you would like to improve. Though it may feel silly at first, it WILL pay dividends if you are willing to engage in this process. Remember, today we do what others won’t, so tomorrow we can perform how others can’t.