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Who is "BrianMac Sports Coach"?
BrianMac was a Level 4 Performance Coach with British Athletics, the Uk's National Governing body for Track and Field Athletics. Brian has 40+ years experience as an endurance athlete competing over distances from 5k to 50k on the roads, fells and mountains. He has 30+ years of experience as an athletics coach helping sprinters and combined event athletes achieve their aims and objectives.

Brian's aim with the site is to provide information for athletes, fitness enthusiasts, sports science students and sports coaches on the many topics relating to athletic development, exercise physiology and successful coaching. Since its conception in 1997, the site now has over a thousand pages thanks to contributions from coaches and athletes around the world.

To find your topic of interest on the website you can use the menu options to the left, browse the A»Z Page index which provides an alphabetical list of most of the pages on the website, or you can use the Site Search Facility.


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One of the sports world's misconceptions is that a sports person gets in shape by just playing or taking part in their chosen sport. If a stationary level of performance, consistent ability in executing a few limited skills is your goal, then engaging only in your sport will keep you there. However, if you want the utmost efficiency, consistent improvement, and balanced abilities, sportsmen and women must participate in year-round conditioning programs. The bottom line in sports conditioning and fitness training is stress, not mental stress, but adaptive body stress. Sportsmen and women must put their bodies under a certain amount of stress (overload) to increase physical capabilities. You have to move outside your comfort zone if you wish to improve your fitness level.
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Plyometrics   Heart Rate Zones

Speed and strength are integral components of fitness found in varying degrees in virtually all athletic movements. Put the combination of speed and strength is power. Throughout this century and no doubt long before, jumping, bounding, and hopping exercises have been used in various ways to enhance athletic performance.

This distinct method of training for power or explosiveness has been termed plyometrics in recent years. So what are some examples of plyometric exercises?

  Heart rate training zones are calculated by considering your maximum heart rate (HRmax) and your resting heart rate (HRrest).
The zones are:
  • Energy Efficient or Recovery (60-70%)
  • Aerobic (70-80%),
  • Anaerobic (80-90%)
  • Red Line (90-100%)
Within each training zone, subtle physiological effects enhance your fitness.
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Ideal Weight & BMI   Maximum Heart Rate

A method of determining if you have an ideal body weight is to calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI). To calculate your BMI divide your weight in kilograms by your height in metres squared (weight ÷ height²).

This measurement's acceptable range is 20.1 to 25.0 for men and 18.7 to 23.8 for women. A more accurate assessment of your ideal weight considers your body composition.

  Athletes who use a heart rate monitor as a training aid need to identify their actual maximum heart rate to determine their appropriate training zones. Maximum heart rate (HRmax) can be determined by undertaking a maximum heart rate stress test which, although relatively short, does require you to push your body and your heart to the very limit. It can also be predicted using a formula, but the variation in actual HRmax will lie within a range of plus or minus 20 beats/minute.
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Energy Pathways

Energy production is both time and intensity related. Running at a very high-intensity, as in sprinting, means that an athlete can operate effectively for only a short period. Running at a low-intensity, as in gentle jogging, means that an athlete can sustain activity for a long period. The training introduces another variable, and the sprinter who uses sound training principles can run at a high intensity for longer periods. Similarly, the endurance athlete who uses sound training methods can sustain higher intensities during a set period. There is a relationship between exercise intensity and the energy source. So what are they?

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Flexibility   Muscle Types

Flexibility, mobility, and suppleness mean the range of limb movement around joints. In any action, there are two groups of muscles at work. There are the agonistic muscles which cause the action to take place. Opposing the movement and determining the amount of flexibility are the antagonistic muscles. Flexibility plays an integral part in the preparation of athletes by developing a range of motion to allow technical development and assisting in preventing injury.

The various stretching techniques may be grouped as Static, Ballistic, Dynamic, Active, Passive, Isometric and Assisted.

  Muscle tissue has four main properties: Excitability (ability to respond to stimuli), Contractibility (ability to contract), Extensibility (the capacity to be stretched without tearing) and Elasticity (ability to return to its natural shape). Based on specific structural and functional characteristics, muscle tissue is classified into three types: cardiac, smooth and skeletal. Fascia is the soft tissue component of the connective tissue system. It interpenetrates and surrounds muscles, bones, organs, nerves, blood vessels and other structures.
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Sports Psychology
The increased stress of competitions can cause athletes to react both physically and mentally to affect their performance abilities negatively. They may become tense, their heart rates race, they break into a cold sweat, worry about the outcome of the competition, they find it hard to concentrate on the task at hand. This has led coaches & athletes to take an increasing interest in the field of sports psychology and in particular in the area of competitive anxiety. That interest has focused on techniques that athletes can use in the competitive situation to maintain control and optimise their performance. So what are these techniques?
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Endurance Training   Running Economy
The types of endurance are aerobic endurance, anaerobic endurance, speed endurance and strength endurance. A sound basis of aerobic endurance is fundamental for all events. During anaerobic work, involving maximum effort, the body is working so hard that the demands for oxygen and fuel exceed the rate of supply and the muscles have to rely on the stored reserves of fuel. The muscles, being starved of oxygen, take the body into a state known as oxygen debt. What are the other forms of endurance?   In many sports, speed is an important attribute, and ways to improve speed are constantly sought after. To improve speed, you need to increase the stride length or strike rate. Many athletes and coaches initially concentrate on improving stride length to find that both strike rate and speed decrease. It is more effective to work on strike rate because this increases the leg muscles' power, which in turn increases stride length. Does breathing have an impact on running economy?
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