Strength in Sports - Does it Help?
How Important Is Strength In Sports?
Strength refers to your ability to produce force on physical objects. The stronger you are, the more force you have, allowing you to run faster, jump higher, lift heavier weights, throw objects farther, and stand your ground in contact sports.
Strength’s importance in sports depends on the activity in question. Some sports, such as snooker, are almost entirely based on skill. Participants don’t need exceptional strength, explosiveness, or endurance to compete at the highest level. Instead, they must rely on accuracy, consistent stroking, skill, and similar. The same goes for other sports like pool and curling. Bowling is also not that reliant on strength. Apart from being able to handle a bowling ball comfortably, you don’t need much strength to compete.
But, we also have many examples of sports where athletes heavily depend on strength to remain competitive and perform at the highest level. Some notable examples include football, soccer, and basketball. Of course, we also have to mention powerlifting, Olympic weightlifting, and strongman, but these are more obvious examples.
In some cases, athletes need more power for explosive movements like throwing, jumping, and running. But strength is still essential because it is a component of power: the measure of how quickly your muscles can produce force. In other words, athletes still need to develop strength, but they also have to improve their rate of force production.
Practical Examples of How Strength Can Make a Difference in Sports
Let’s take basketball as an example. The most critical skills and attributes are:
- The ability to dribble
- Measuring distance
- Being able to take shorts from numerous spots
- Defending the perimeter
- Passing the ball effectively
But, basketball players also need to:
- Accelerate and decelerate quickly
- Change directions
- Stand their ground against opponents
- Block shots
- Jump high
While the former skills and attributes don’t necessarily rely on physical strength, the latter ones do. Being able to dribble is a skill every healthy individual can learn and practice without having much strength. Accuracy is similar because the attribute doesn’t depend on strength but on natural talent and plenty of practice. You can also gauge the distance, intersect passes, shoot, and pass the ball without much strength.
But, the difference between a trained and an untrained individual becomes obvious when measuring speed, acceleration, standing your ground, jumping high, and blocking shorts. Each of these actions depends on strength, which, as discussed above, is a component of power.
For example, the ability to accelerate quickly depends on power from your power body musculature and stability in your midsection. Both of these attributes improve through traditional strength training. The same goes for jumping high. While some people possess a natural talent to propel themselves in their air, the only way to reach your true potential is to build strength and learn to produce force more quickly.