How physical factors impact performance

How physical factors impact performance

The quicker someone's body reacts, the better their performance.

Physical factors refer to fitness, skills and tactics. Skills covers reaction time, accuracy, consistency and rhythm. These can impact performance in different ways.

Physical factors that impact performance - Skills-related factors

Physical factors can be placed in to three different categories: 

Fitness Skills Tactics
Agility Reaction time Delay
CRE Accuracy Penetration
Flexibility Consistency Width
Power Rhythm  

This guide concentrates on skills-related factors and their impact.

Impact of reaction time on performance

The quicker someone's body reacts, the better their performance.

Below are a few sporting situations in which fast reaction time is required:

  • reacting to the starter's gun in the 100 metre sprint
  • reacting to a rebound in netball

In the 100 metre sprint, because the distance is so short, getting off to a good start is vital. There is little time to recover from a slow start.

Reaction time plays a crucial role as sprinters need to listen for the gun shot and then respond quickly to get out of the blocks first. 

Impact of accuracy on performance

This factor looks at control of movement in a particular direction, or at a particular target. Does someone (or the ball, shuttle, etc) go where they are intended to? If so, this could help performance in a range of different situations.

Accuracy has its biggest impact in goal/point scoring situations. If a shot is accurate and correctly hits its intended target, the outcome is the greatest with points being added to the board.

Impact of consistency on performance

This factor looks at your ability to execute skills successfully over a period of time.

The more you progress along the motor stages of learning, the more consistent you will become. This is because you have performed skills repetitively and can now do so automatically.

Bringing a high level of consistency to performance will allow for high standards to be achieved throughout a performance. However, if you have a bad day, skill performance can be inconsistent and can lead to simple mistakes occurring. 

Impact of rhythm on performance

This factor is concerned with the regularity with which a pattern of movements is performed. The more regular and consistent these patterns are performed, the better the rhythm of the performer.

For example, it is vitally important you maintain your rhythm when performing in the 100m hurdles. This will enable you to maintain a consistent stride pattern as you navigate your way through the event. This will ensure you take off on the same foot when clearing the hurdles and help you maintain your speed and balance whilst striving for the finish line.