Dedicated athletes understand that even individual sports require a supportive team. That\u2019s 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.\nWhether you\u2019re training for a marathon, recovering from a knee injury, or simply want to improve your athletic functioning and prevent future injuries, sports performance programs can help.\nWhat to Expect From Sports Performance\nSports 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.\nEvaluate Your Fitness\nA 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:\n\nGait assessment\nBody fat analysis\nPhoto- or video-based analysis of your movements\n\nYour 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.\nTraining and Conditioning\nSports 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.\nPrevent Injuries\nSome 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.\nPerformance programs like the ones at UPMC 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.\nReturn To Play\nSports 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.\nBenefits of Sports Performance\nUsing state-of-the-art equipment and science-based approaches, sports performance experts can help both amateur and professional athletes, as well as\u00a0active people, up their game. Here are some of the benefits you can expect:\n\nBetter flexibility\nFaster speed\nImproved agility\nIncreased strength and power\nLower risk of injuries\nStronger core muscles\n\nIf you think you could benefit from a sports performance program, speak with your physician or contact UPMC Sports Medicine.