The 8 Pillars of Athleticism


This article aims to inspire young collegiate and advanced high school students – not forgetting their sponsoring parents – who aspire to develop and excel in sport. This process begins at an early age as athleticism tends to peak in the late teens and early twenties. The starting point is understanding and buying into a code of sporting ethics that we refer to as the 8 pillars of athleticism. Inspiring athletic performance starts with a full assessment of the strengths and deficiencies of each wannabe athlete.

Defining Physical Fitness

Physical fitness depends on and draws from a range of skills and abilities, but to be athletic involves moving to a new level in body, mind and outlook. Some may say they do not possess specific ability, but more often than not, they do, it is simply a question of development and nurturement. It is a fair comment to state that athletic ability is not determined by an on / off switch, but rather by a scale of abilities that differ in each of us. This is an appropriate point to look deeper into the 8 pillars of athleticism that, when followed and applied, determine our chances of success in sport.

Starting with Strength

Strength is really a measure of muscle tension, the more tension you create the stronger you are. Strength forms the foundation of the other seven pillars of athletics. Without this corner stone, the path to athleticism is unattainable. Increasing strength influences the other qualities directly.

Bring on the Power

Using math parlance, power is the output of force engaging velocity. Power is nothing without strength. Power is commonly mistaken for power endurance. Remember, for power to operate optimally, allow recovery or rest time between training sessions.

Speed Control

Speed or movement velocity is the ultimate quality in most sports. When the strength gained from a particular movement increases, velocity will also improve as the muscular system strives to reach the next level.

Endurance is King

Endurance wears two hats as in general and muscular. Muscle endurance is how a group of muscles responds to repeat contractions with minimal rest. Cycling flat out for long bursts would be a good example. General endurance covers cardiovascular fitness and stamina. Endurance helps us push the limits.

Balance is Crucial

You can have strength but without coordination, it means little or nothing. Balance covers coordination between muscle groups, synchronization, timing and rhythm. Balance plays a huge role in sports and daily activities.

Flexibility and Mobility

All great athletes possess tremendous flexibility and mobility, so these two qualities team together as attributes in people that go on to succeed in sport. Essentially, flexibility is the range of motion of a joint that leads to mobility.

Reactive Ability

This is the ability to absorb eccentric forces rapidly, and then shift from eccentric to concentric action quickly. Some athletes have great athletic reactive qualities that take them to the pinnacle of their sport.


Efficiency is the measure of how coordinated any action is. In other words, the higher the efficiency, the more coordinated the action and vice versa. In a sense, it is the coming together of the other qualities making up the 8 pillars of athleticism.

Activ8 Athleticism’s vision is for young athletes to master the basic athletic movement patterns, so we can develop a solid foundation for each individual. With the solid foundation in place, our goal is to graduate every athlete into our upper level Competitive and Elite curriculum.

Recent Posts
professional training coachyoung athletes