The Health related components of fitness form one half of the components of fitness. The other group of components of fitness are called skill related. The Health related components of fitness include Body Composition, Cardiovascular Fitness, Flexibility, Muscle Endurance and Strength. The health related components of fitness are focused around general fitness characteristics that could be applied to any sport. The health related components of fitness look to highlight the fitness levels in very general aspects of health. The skill related components of fitness can be linked to any sports activity and focus on Agility, Balance, Coordination, Power, Reaction Time and Speed. Each specific sport will have its own make-up of these skill related components of fitness and feature different components depending on the sports demands.
For basketball the health related components of fitness mean a number of different things. Each player when examining them initially standards can be applied to their fitness which is demand of the sport. For the health related components of fitness, these will be used to determine what level the athlete is able to start at. This is especially useful in the preseason or when an athlete is recovering from injury to know just where they are at and what they can do without compromising their long term health.
The health related components of fitness include:
Body Composition focuses on the physiological attributes of the athlete’s body. This will include information on such things like muscle to fat ratios within the body of the athlete. This is a very common tool used in sports as a way of determining the nature of the athlete’s physical development. As a health related component of fitness body composition tests are used at the start of the season and then later revised to ensure the athlete is continuing to improve but also to help determine the athlete’s optimum weight and the parameters this means for them. In many highly athletic sports like basketball athletes cannot be expected to perform at their physical best every day of the year, but what is vital is to be at peak performance leading into the end of the season when it will be needed most in play-offs.
Cardiovascular Fitness refers to the aerobic capacity of the athlete. Aerobic capacity is the effectiveness and efficiency of the body’s ability to supply oxygen throughout the body. This is often seen in the ability of the individual to perform at a sustained effort over an extended period of time. Most people when they think of Cardiovascular Fitness they picture a long distance runner as representing this type of fitness activity. For basketball players this can be thought of as being able to move up and down the court at the speed and consistent effort needed to compete at the level of competition demanded.
Flexibility refers to the range of movement (ROM) the body’s joints and muscles can perform. Flexibility is tested for a number of reasons. In all sporting activities the ability to increase range of movements is important in creating the most efficient use of the body’s mechanics when performing specific movements. For basketball players flexibility helps with a wide range of activities from jumping to being able to perform a low and wide defensive stance.
Flexibility also helps with a very important part of sport training and injury prevention. With increased flexibility comes the body’s ability to deal with awkward movements or un-natural actions which could otherwise result in strains or tears.
Muscle Endurance refers to the ability of the athlete to perform activities over a sustained and constant effort. Muscle endurance focuses on the repetition of tasks over a continued period of time. Examples of this type of endurance can be seen in a player’s ability to repeatedly contest a rebound by jumping.
Strength can have a number of different definitions but when related to basketball we will focus on the need for a sustained effort and application of energy into different physically demanding and strength requiring activities. Strength differs from muscle endurance in that strength refers to an explosive use of the muscles. For basketball think about holding a player during boxing out for a rebound or initiating and holding a post seal.
The health related components of fitness help provide general information about an athlete’s physiological capabilities. Having this information allows experts like Strength and Conditioning Coaches, Sports Doctors and other applied health professionals tailor programs specifically for the individual athlete. This allows for a greater degree of specificity when trying to meet the needs of the athlete for their specific sporting requirements.