What does it take to get the A+ grade?  Whether studying in a classroom or performing in the sports arena, the answer is the same.  Attending class and practice is only the start.  In fact, simply studying in class is probably not enough for an A+ these days.  Similarly, simply attending training is unlikely to be enough to make it in performance sport.  England Fly Half Danny Cipriani has worked with sprint coach Margot Wells for many years.  Here we look at the extra work being put in by the very best athletes.


Taking performance to the next step

Across the majority of sports, the standard of performance is increasing.  Rule changes, along with improvements in technology, fitness and skill have all contributed to rising standards.  Every year we also hear of academic standards increasing.  To make it to the top of sport and academics is getting tougher.  When we look at the preparation of athletes, training programmes are also advancing.  Even our amateur and recreational athletes can be training for multiple hours per day.  The saying ‘we are what we repeatedly do’ rings true.  If you want to perform at higher level then you’ve got to put the extra work in.  Of course, athletes need to train ‘smart’ and efficiently.  However, this often means extra sessions outside of club / standard training.


Take it from the professionals

Over the past 5 years we have seen an increase in the amount of sessions being performed by elite athletes.  During the off season when many professional footballers are on holiday NK Fitness work with the lads signed to Elan Sports Management.  Sessions focus on movement technique, speed and agility so that players return to pre-season training looking sharp and able to impress.  The margins in elite teams sports are small.  Standing out during pre-season training is one way of being noticed and getting a nod to start.  So if you’re looking to make the step up in performance, you may want to ask whether you’re doing everything possible to achieve it.