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Cardio-Respiratory Endurance :Flexibility, Agility, Speed,Reaction,

Flexibility: the range of movement in and around the joint.

Its limiting factors are bone structure, connective tissue, muscle bulk and skin. There are three types of flexibility:

Static - slow and controlled stretching, such as doing the splits (you stay in a static position).

Dynamic - stretching where movement is involved, such as in the hip and leg areas when a person hurdles.

Passive - where a range of motion is required when a force is applied, such as a tackle in wrestling.


Of the three, dynamic is the most important because most flexibility is required when moving. A greater degree of flexibility in the lower body allows you a greater stride length in running. In the upper body, it is important to have as great a range of movement as possible, particularly in the sports of swimming, golf and throwing sports. A larger range of movement should allow for a longer back swing or preparation, and therefore greater force generation.

Flexibility is also important in injury prevention. This can be as good a reason as any for having it as an important component of fitness.

Factors affecting flexibility

Type of joint,

The resting length of the muscle,

Muscle temperature,



Resistance of skin, tendon and joint capsule.

Agility: the ability to change direction quickly whilst remaining balanced.

It is essential in most team games such as football, soccer, tennis, netball, rugby and basketball and hockey. To be agile, you must be able to dodge, weave, accelerate and turn quickly, etc. It is easy to tell if your sport requires agility - just look at the number of fast direction changes that are made by a player. It is also required for screening other players, such as in basketball.

Factors affecting agility

Ability to produce anaerobic energy.


Muscular power.

Speed: the ability to perform a movement quickly, or how fast a movement is performed. It is related to muscular power, so any movement that is explosive in nature requires speed.  

Speed is also required in any sport where a player has to move from one position to another quickly. If sprinting occurs frequently (for example, in fast breaks in basketball, runs down the field in rugby, leads by a forward in Aussie rules), then speed is an essential component of fitness for that sport. 

Speed is also related to anaerobic power.

Factors affecting speed

Anaerobic energy production.

Muscle fibre type.


Speed of transmission of the nerve impulse.

Reaction time.

The duration of the activity 

Reaction Time: the body's ability to take in, process, make a decision and make a muscular response to incoming information through one of the five senses.

RT is absolutely vital in timed sports, and many athletes in sprint races also learn to anticipate well. Tennis players and hockey and soccer goalies also need to react quickly and to make appropriate decisions. The time delay between the starter's gun going off and the athlete actually leaving the blocks is the most common example and measure of RT.

In the sprint race, the athlete has only one decision to make and thus their RT is usually quite small. As the decision-making demands of the game grow (for example, which of four players to pass to and which of two players to avoid in a game of rugby) the RT naturally would increase. Like balance and coordination, reaction time is an extremely difficult fitness component to train, but is relatively simple to test in non-game situations.

Anaerobic Power: This is another way that the body can provide energy to the working body - only it is in the absence of oxygen, hence the "anaerobic". It is used to provide the body with energy when:

Short, high intensity sessions are performed.

When an activity is done at 'speed'. Hence it is often combined with speed.

Anaerobic power also refers to the body's ability to perform high intensity activities over and over again. It is the body's ability to recover and go again during high intensity bouts; for example basketball - the player sprints, rests, sprints, rests, sprints, rests, etc. often with little recovery time.

Muscular Strength ( MS):the greatest maximal force that a muscle group can exert against a resistance in one maximal contraction.

Sports such as weight-lifting require enormous amounts of muscular strength. The lift is one maximal effort. There is no speed involved; only how much you can lift in one go. Whilst many team sports don't use strength on its own, it does play an important role in muscular power. 

It is also important for contact sports such as football, where tackling is involved. In basketball, it is important for defending and holding your own ground.

Factors affecting muscular strength

The number of muscle fibres recruited.

The cross-sectional area of the muscle.

The muscle fibre type.



Balance: the ability to maintain the body in a state of dynamic or static equilibrium.

Most sports would require mainly dynamic equilibrium such as in staying balanced whilst riding a wave in surfing or maintaining the correct posture in an equestrian event. 

Other sports, such as gymnastics, require the athlete to maintain a static position such as a handstand, as well as maintaining proper form whilst spinning through the air in a somersault. 

Balance, like coordination, is an extremely difficult fitness component to train and test.

Coordination: the ability of the body's muscular and nervous systems to work together to produce smooth and accurate movements at the correct place and time.

Coordination is required in all sports and is often the defining factor in differentiating between athletes who may otherwise have an equal level of skill. 

If you have tried to learn any new skill you would have had to contend with coordination difficulties. Coordination is an extremely difficult fitness component to train and test

It is required in hand/eye and striking games and in timing the body's performance to an outside time source, such as to music in a gymnastics routine. 

Cardio-Respiratory Endurance

Cardio-respiratory endurance, also known as:

Aerobic capacity

Aerobic power

Aerobic endurance

Aerobic means"with oxygen"and refers to the ability of the heart, lungs and blood vessels to deliver oxygen to the muscles and remove waste products (CO2). 

This is one way the body can provide energy to the working muscles.


Any activity that is sustained and uses the whole body at a sub maximal level is relying on this fitness component.

When your body is at rest, the energy to keep the body working is supplied by this system.

When your body has been working very hard, the recovery mechanisms involve the aerobic system.


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