Dedicated athletes understand that even individual sports require a supportive team. That’s where sports performance programs come in to play. Performance experts can give athletes and active people the tools and techniques they need to reach peak performance, achieve fitness goals, and even get back in the game after taking some time off or recovering from an injury.
What to Expect From Sports Performance
Sports performance services are usually delivered by certified strength and conditioning coaches and can work in collaboration with sports medicine experts, including physicians, surgeons, and physical therapists. Depending on your individual needs, sports performance experts might help you with any of the following.
Evaluate Your Fitness
A sports performance specialist may conduct a functional movement assessment (FMA), which means that he or she will evaluate your flexibility, strength, and endurance. Other aspects of an evaluation can include:
- Gait assessment
- Body fat analysis
- Photo- or video-based analysis of your movements
Your FMA results can help identify weaknesses that may be impacting your performance or making you vulnerable to injury, and the performance expert will develop a plan to improve your weak areas.
Training and Conditioning
Sports performance professionals often provide training services for both individuals and teams to help them reach their fitness goals and prevent injury, whether that means improving your running time or reaching optimal shape for the upcoming season. This means experts develop and oversee conditioning and weight lifting programs.
Some sports performance experts offer programs to help athletes prevent common sports- and exercise-related injuries, such as anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears and other knee, hip, back, and shoulder problems. When you undergo an assessment, it will help the sports performance expert understand where you might be at risk for injuries and then develop an individualized program to improve your strength and flexibility so you stay healthy.
Performance programs like the ones at the UPMC Center for Sports Medicine, led by Ron DeAngelo, and the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex, led by Gary Roberts and Lorne Goldenberg, offer multi-session classes that dually serve as conditioning programs for the entire team. These types of programs are highly beneficial to sports such as hockey, basketball, and soccer where there is a high incidence of ACL tears.
Return To Play
Sports performance services also can help people who have already suffered an injury heal more quickly and build strength so they can enjoy sports safely while maintaining a high level of performance. One of the functional tools used by UPMC Sports Performance is Three Dimensional Movement Analysis and Performance Systems (3D MAPS). 3D MAPS is an evaluation tool used to look at functional capacity in three dimensions. The results of the 3D MAPS test allow your sports performance expert to customize your exercises to best suit your needs.
Benefits of Sports Performance
Using state-of-the-art equipment and science-based approaches, sports performance experts can help both amateur and professional athletes, as well as active people, up their game. Here are some of the benefits you can expect:
- Better flexibility
- Faster speed
- Improved agility
- Increased strength and power
- Lower risk of injuries
- Stronger core muscles
If you think you could benefit from a sports performance program, speak with your physician or contact UPMC Sports Medicine.