There are a few different ways to increase your overall performance as an athlete, or even just as an athletic person. Sometimes these techniques get far too complicated, and are often left behind because they don’t yield results or are too intricate to incorporate into a routine. These simple techniques will have you dominating your sport in no time, and are so simple, you will wonder why you never used them before.

1. Aerobics

Increasing your aerobic fitness is always the first course of action to take. The better that your aerobic system works, the more oxygen will be delivered to the brain, and to skeletal muscle. This not only delays fatigue, but will also increase mental focus, allowing you to push yourself further before you feel winded. This can include anything involving high-intensity training; running, swimming, sprinting, burpees, and suicide runs are just some examples of exercises that you can employ to increase your cardiovascular system.

2. Plyometrics

Otherwise known as jump training, this technique works on increasing your explosiveness, as well as your strength. By doing this type of drop training, you force your muscle to constantly stretch and contract, and can increase hamstring strength by up to 44% according to the American Council on Exercise. This should be done with caution, and preferably in the presence of a qualified individual.

3. Diet Education

Eating healthy and plenty is one of the most important factors in boosting your performance, so it will be extremely beneficial to educate yourself on what an athletes diet will look like. Not only will you need to eat a certain amount of food, but some foods are much more beneficial to athletes than others, so it will only be a good thing to find out what those foods are. Some examples include; sweet potato, oatmeal, blueberries, yoghurt, and salmon. If you would like to learn more, read 5 superfoods for ultimate performance, but also do your own research and find out what other foods will increase your performance.

4. Know yourself

Not philosophically. If you do, then that’s great, like Descartes once said; “I think, therefore I am”. He was in fact talking about whether or not we actually exist but that’s off topic. Be realistic and critical of your weak points. Not to a point where you lose confidence, but we are not perfect. There is always one area that we are weak on, just the same as the one area we are strong on.

If you spend some time realising what that weak point is, focusing on building it up, then you will reap the benefits in your strong points as well. For instance; you are a powerful swimmer in freestyle, but you are lagging in backstroke. By focusing on bettering your backstroke, you will become even stronger in freestyle.

5. Goal setting

As corny and repetitive as it may sound, setting goals is what can make or break you. There needs to be a purpose to what you are doing, something to work towards, otherwise there will be no desire to better your performance. There are three types of goals when it comes to setting them; short-term, medium-term, and long-term.

Short-term goals include the immediate changes you want which can range from day-to-day, or longer but it is a goal that must be achieved in a month and is used to support medium-term goals. Medium-term goals include something that will take a little more time than short-term goals, and is usually in a time frame between 1-3 months and supports your long-term goal. Your long-term goal is the ultimate goal you want to achieve, it is the pinnacle of your efforts.

Here is a hypothetical situation to practically explain

You want to lose 6kgs in the next three months – this is your long-term goal
To do this you need to lose 2kgs a month – this is your medium-term goal
Therefore, losing half a gram of fat each week will then be your short-term goal
This simple trick of breaking your goal down into smaller pieces tricks the brain into releasing the feel-good hormone dopamine each time you achieve a “mini – goal”, which keeps you motivated to achieve your ultimate goal.

These techniques may not be fancy, but that is what makes them so effective. Overcomplicated additions or changes are often the biggest reason improvements are never made, because they are abandoned. Their simplicity makes them easy to follow, easy to add into your routine, and easy to reap the rewards. Try them out and see how your performance will surge beyond anything you ever anticipated.

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