5 Reasons Why You’re Underperforming

Athletic Performance

In this article I share with you my take on what 5 steps lead someone to great athletic performance, whichever type of sport or activity. Most people will be doing at least two-three of the following, but to truly reach your potential then all five are a must-have in your training programme or you'll simply underperform.

#1 - Corrective Exercise

Often overlooked or sometimes completely ignored, corrective exercise is THE most important section in any athletes' conditioning programme. None of you would take medicine without first having a diagnosis of the problem, right? Then don't wander aimlessly into a conditioning programme without first having an assessment/diagnosis/needs analysis - whatever you want to call it - because the chances are very high of picking up an unnecessary injury such as:

What to do - go see a sports physiotherapist or sports therapist who can offer you a comprehensive assessment of your current physical state. They'll be able to prescribe a corrective exercise programme so that when you start training your chance of breaking a body part is greatly reduced.

#2 - Physical Preparation (commonly known as a warm-up)

I don't know many people who don't want to perform at their best during every training session or competition. So why is it that most people just don't prepare their bodies beforehand? You can forget the pre-workout lotion or potion, if you neglect this part of your training regime you can forget performing well - it isn't going to happen!

What to do - read this article then make sure you do it before your next session!

#3 - Fundamental Movement Quality

The development fundamental movement skills (quality of movement before quantity) is the main focus of what I do as a Strength & Conditioning coach. All of my clients, novice and elite, share common movement patterns that need to be developed. I coach my clients to master the following primary movements: squat, hinge, pull (vertical and horizontal), push (vertical and horizontal), lunge and carry, reach, lift, land, stop and start. The primary goal of any fitness professional is to establish technical competency in their clients BEFORE any progression on to more complex skills - ask yourself, is your trainer/coach doing this?

What to do - read this article then ask your trainer/coach about it.

#4 - Movement Efficiency

A common, and seemingly logical, assumption made by many is to focus their training on increasing oxygen consumption (VO2), endurance capacity and speed. I’m not suggesting that these factors aren’t important or that you shouldn’t train to improve them. Rather, the greatest weakness in people’s physical limitations is the omission of mechanical efficiency and resilience. By this I mean that what I mentioned in the above section (#3 - Fundamental Movement Quality) are poor. So when we think of human physical performance in this way, it seems logical to focus on the movement skills needed for a given task so we become more 'efficient'.

‘the swimmer needs to learn the correct stroke pattern first, being fit and strong is not enough’

Sports requiring competency in technical movement skills naturally take the participant on a journey of learning these skills. But how many of you have thought about learning how to walk, run, jump and land? Probably not many of you. However, these are complex skills which many of us are not very good at doing, and just like the finer technical aspects of a swimming stroke or tennis serve, can be learned and mastered to enhance our performance.

What to do - make sure part of your training programme covers improving the way you move so you become more 'efficient' - whether you’re a coach or participant it would seem sensible to ensure movement efficiency remains a preliminary focal point from which other physical performance characteristics can develop. Do you know how to squat? Here's 5 reasons why you can't

#5 - Recovery/Regeneration

Recovery and regeneration is a fundamental component of any conditioning programme. A comprehensive recovery and regeneration strategy enables you to optimise your training and reduce the risk of injury and illness. Consider your training programme in terms of a '24 hour programme’– recovery is invisible but it will allow you to recover and adapt.

What to do - eat well (we all know what that means), sleep well and stay hydrated...simple! If you want help with recovery strategies read this article.


This is my take on how to achieve great athletic performance and to stop underperforming in your chosen sport. Challenge your trainer/coach to include any of these five points that are most likely missing from your programming and watch your PBs get smashed!

If you would like help with any of the above then please get in touch with me via email (spencer@ppcoe.co.uk), Facebook or post a comment here and I'll get back to you 🙂