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What Is Skill-Related Fitness?

By J.M. Densing
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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The term skill-related fitness refers to a person's abilities in areas that are likely to improve performance in sports or certain work related activities. There are six areas, or components, of skill-related fitness including power, speed, reaction time, agility, balance, and coordination. These areas of fitness may have no direct effect on a person's health, but they tend to increase athletic aptitude, which may in turn enhance health. They are also useful for a multitude of other daily activities.

The power component of skill-related fitness is a combination of strength and speed. Power refers to the amount of strength a person is able to use during a movement, together with the speed of the motion. An example is the force and speed used to hit a baseball. Speed is also considered a separate skill-related component of fitness, referring simply to how fast a person is able to move. Speed can be how fast a person moves the entire body, such as running, or just a body part as in kicking a ball.

The component of skill-related fitness called reaction time is the amount of time it takes for a person to respond to a stimulus. The stimulus is often sight, sound, or touch. When measuring reaction time, the amount of time from presenting the stimulus to the first muscle movement afterward is recorded. An example is the elapsed time from the sound of a race starting gun to the runner starting to run.

The next three components, sometimes called the ABCs of skill-related fitness, are agility, balance, and coordination; they are all closely related. Agility is the ability to quickly change direction while in motion, and balance is the ability to maintain a position of the body while moving or still. Coordination is using the senses and muscles together to produce an appropriate movement in response to the input received. Examples of these skills can be found in American football, i.e. catching a pass and running towards the end zone with the ball while remaining upright and avoiding the opposing team's players.

The components of skill-related fitness may not have a direct effect on improving health, but often make a person more proficient in health-related fitness activities as well. For instance, power may enhance a person's endurance for cardiovascular activities with proven health benefits. They also tend to enhance a person's performance in sports and other general activities of daily living. Examples include the benefits of coordination and agility when playing basketball or the importance of reaction time in avoiding a potential accident while driving.

Skill-Related Fitness Components

If you want to get better at sports, focusing on skill-related fitness components is a great strategy. You can improve your speed, for example, by performing exercises that specifically benefit your overall speed. Lunges can achieve this, for example, by strengthening the muscles in your legs and abdominal core. This, in turn, can make it easier to perform at a faster speed.

Similarly, you can improve your agility with exercises like lateral plyometric jumps. You can perform a lateral plyometric jump by bending your knees, shifting your weight back and forth between your heels and toes, and jumping up and to the side. You should squat deeply as you land in order to absorb the shock. This is a great way to train your agility.

Finally, you can boost your coordination with a balloon or ball toss. This is a remarkably simple exercise. You just need to jump in the air while jumping a ball or balloon and jump to bump it again. You can use your head, hands, or any other body part — just don’t let the ball or balloon fall down to the ground!

Explain the Role That Heredity Plays in Skill Related Fitness

The aforementioned exercises can certainly help you improve certain skill-related fitness components, but it’s an undeniable fact that some people are seemingly born with better athletic skills. Some people simply possess a predisposition for physical performance, and in many cases, this is the result of a hereditary advantage.

Hereditary traits play a major role in skill related fitness. If a person’s parents were athletically gifted, it’s likely that they will be, too. This is true of all skill related fitness components, but some research suggests that hereditary is particularly impactful when it comes to a person’s reaction time and speed. This is true because some physical traits provide an athletic advantage — and physical traits are typically inherited.

Some examples of this include the size and fibers of a person’s muscular makeup. These factors have a major impact on a person’s overall power and speed, and some people simply come from families with strong genes. Other athletic factors that are often determined by heredity include a person’s general lung capacity, anaerobic threshold, and endurance — all of which have an impact on their skill related fitness components.

What Is Coordination in Skill Related Fitness?

Of all the skill related fitness components, coordination is one of the most important. Coordination refers to a person’s ability to use all of their body parts in conjunction to move in a smooth and efficient manner. Juggling offers a great example of this. Although it’s not an athletically strenuous activity, it requires a great deal of coordination from its practitioner, as the juggler must constantly move each hand and arm in perfect time in order to keep the juggled objects in the air.

In the context of fitness, you can improve your coordination with exercises like playing catch, jumping rope, or engaging in target practice via throwing or kicking.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By jonrss — On May 09, 2012

Skill related physical fitness is one of the hottest new areas of sports training. The idea has been around for a long time, but ambitious trainers and sports scientists have found new ways for athletes to cultivate the specific skills that they will need in a game.

I got to spend some time in the weight room of a professional baseball team. most of the lifts and moves the guys were doing was stuff I had never seen before. It was not your typical bench presses and squats. Everything these guys did was to get better at a specific thing. They trained smart.

By Ivan83 — On May 09, 2012
The combine that prospective NFL players go through before the draft is essentially a test of skill related fitness. Players are tested to find out their speed, vertical leap, strength and a number of other skills that are supposed to represent that player's ability to play in a real football game.

For many players, the score that they receive during the combine will relate directly to their place in the draft. The better they do, the higher they draft, which can mean millions of extra dollars in salary.

By summing — On May 08, 2012

When I read this headline the first thing I thought of was the shuttle runs we used to do in high school basketball. You would start at one end of the court, run to the nearest foul line, run back, run to the half court, run back, run to the opposite foul line and back and then sprint the whole court and back. You were supposed to go as fast as you possibly could. We would usually begin and end every practice with a few shuttle runs.

The reason that shuttle runs are such a hallmark of basketball training is that they recreate many of the movements you have to make on the court. basketball is all about switching direction without losing speed. Think of how many times the players run back and forth across the court. The shuttle run cultivates this kind of burst speed while also strengthening the joints in the knees and ankles that you need to do these kinds of quick movements.

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