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Article by Infofit

Finding the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance

What affects our athletic performance?

 The Brain Limits Us and Our Athletic Performance

Athletes are pushing themselves more than ever to take on greater physical feats, which requires a powerful mental drive. The brain limits us and our athletic performance, preventing us from accessing all our physical resources and preventing us from injuries. The more we learn how to limit functions, the more we learn how to control and push it back.

Sports Illustrated writer D. Epstein’s book “The Sports Gene” debates nature vs. nurture and questions how far athletic conditioning science has gone into solving this. He uncovers whether the 10,000-hour rule of consistent and rigorous practice in youth is the ideal route to extraordinary athletic performance and excellence.

What is behind the march of improved athletic performance?

In his Ted Talk video, Epstein questions the strange nature of body types. He explores whether today’s athletes and their athletic performance are now faster, better, and even stronger. He examines today’s technology of fitness testing VO2 max and its role on improving athletic performance. He further discusses the role of body types in sports and why other characteristics, that we assume are entirely voluntary, such as the athlete’s drive and will to train, might in fact be the important genetic factor. In other words, athletic performance may be due to improvements in technology.

Improvements in Technology

Technology has made differences in all types of sports- from faster skis, to lighter shoes. Track surfaces have affected athletic performance. The track surfaces of the past were 1 1/2 % slower than today’s surfaces. Gutters in pols have made swimmer faster . low friction swim suits affect athletic performance.

Performance Enhancing Drugs of Today Have Also Affected Athletic Performance.

The body types of athletes of different sports are very different from each other, and different from the athletes of the past. Scouts scour the population for body types for specific sports. Our genetics plays important role in athletic performance – evidence by the changing gene pool in sport today versus the past.

Changing Technology, Changing Genes, Changing Mindset

Athletes have a very different mindset. They have convinced their brain to allow their body to push harder. We have been genetically designed for ultra endurance performance.  Innovation in sports, imagination and understanding what the human body is, makes the athletic performance of today better, faster and stronger than in the past.

David Epstein points out in this below Ted Talk, many factors are involved in shattering of past athletic records.