Integral Training for High Performance Athletes
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Francisco Mendez – 9 Times Mexican Champion / USATT Level 5 & ITTF Level 1 Certified Coach

Integral Training for High Performance Athletes

Integral Training for High Performance Athletes

Integral Training for High Performance Athletes
by Francisco Mendez

The 5 key areas of all sports training

To achieve the best performance training, in any practiced sport, Athlete Preparation will be divided into five key areas to work on. This is essential for anyone who wishes to reach a competitive level in his or her sport. All areas are essential and no one is more important than the other.

According to the specific demands of each sport, the athlete and/or coach will tend to further development in one or more specific areas; this may be influenced by the athlete’s preparation stage (General, Pre-Competitive, Competitive, Recuperative); but again, the right balance between these areas will have a better impact on the athlete.

The areas of sports training are: Physical Preparation, Technical Preparation, Tactical Preparation, Psychological Preparation and Theoretical Preparation.


This area of sports training focuses on the development of motor qualities: strength, speed, endurance, flexibility and coordination capacities.

Physical preparation is aimed at strengthening the organs and body systems, raising their functional properties, and the development of motor qualities, conditional and coordinative. In this area we seeks to achieve an optimal physical condition, as a result of systematically and scientifically dosed physical exercises for the execution of a given activity.

Physical preparation is subdivided into General Preparation and Special Preparation.

– General Physical Preparation

Consists in the development of physical abilities that are not specific to a particular sport, but which development impacts directly or indirectly on the successes in a sport. The general preparation of the athlete is a crucial condition to achieve sport performance.

– Special Physical Preparation

The special physical preparation is designed to develop motor qualities in accordance with the requirements posed by a specific sport, and the peculiarities of a particular competitive activity. When organizing the process of the special physical preparation, it is essential not to lose of sight, ever, the specific requirements of a particular sport.

The training exercises chosen should meet the requirements of the competitive activity according to the working regime of the neuromuscular system.


It is understood as the teaching of the actions and movements, needed to perform the sporting activity in competitions, or that could serve as means for sports training.

It is part of the athlete’s preparation process, aimed at obtaining motor skills relevant to a certain sport, and at perfecting them. (Matveyev)


It is the development of tactical and strategic reasoning through knowledge, in relation to the sport being practiced. It includes many elements, such as the study of the opponents, competition conditions, knowledge of the host city or sports arena (e.g. altitude, climate, public, etc.), and more. It involves the preparation of plans and variants, taking into account one or more specific opponents. To do this we need to know the adversary, and his or her strengths, possibilities and tactical variants (read my previous article called ‘Developing a Tactical Plan for Competitions’)

The tactical expertise is based on knowledge and habits that allow performing exactly a well-designed and accurate plan; and for when rapid changes occur, assessing the situation to find the most effective solution and to direct the action again. (Ozolin)


Since the beginning of the preparation until the end of the athlete’s career, it is essential to devote a part of sport improvement to the development of mental and emotional qualities, and to the formation and development of the volition.

The current level of sports results is as associated to the qualities of character and to the volition, as they are to the level of technical and tactical preparation. (Platonov)

During practice, this education and development of the volition requires the full support of the coach (if possible, in the case of children and youth, working together with the family of the athlete). The effectiveness of this educational work depends very much on the personal qualities of the coach: honesty, fairness, intransigence, and professional quality. The coach should be perceptive enough to approach his or her athletes, with tact and delicacy, to know them better. However, the athlete to be efficient, he or she must maintain the balance between the needs of sport improvement with a professional integration, and a stable social life.


It is part of the intellectual preparation of the athlete. The athletes should know:

– All things related to their favorite sport, regulations, competition schedule, etc.

– The tasks presented to them and the objectives to be reached.

– The periodization of an annual training and its content.

– Planning of perspectival training for many years.

– The athlete must know the role of sports competitions and their variants, the particularities of the direct preparation for them, and the participation.

It includes participating and taking seminars and lessons especially prepared, where technical and tactical issues are addressed, etc. Also, it involves studying literature about sport theory and sports methodology, while schedule challenges with other athletes.

Francisco Méndez
9 Times Mexican Champion / USATT Level 5 & ITTF Level 1 Certified Coach

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