Wed | Aug 21, 2019

CSEC PE Lecture | Factors affecting performance

Published:Wednesday | December 7, 2016 | 12:00 AMJennifer Ellison-Brown
A young athlete running on a grass track in the rain.

Performances are snapshots of what is learnt combined with all the factors affecting us at the same time. Performance levels go up and down constantly, depending on how we feel, the weather and interactions with other people. Everyone competes at different levels. The higher the level, the more important these factors become. Therefore, how well you perform in an event or any sport will depend on the following factors.




Skill - the more skilful you are, the more likely you are to perform well.

Fitness - once the physical fitness components are satisfied, the performance will be better.

Physique - You will perform better at an activity that suits your Somatotype (ectomorph, mesomorph, endomorph)

Age and gender - if an activity depends on strength and speed, the performance will be better at 25 years than 40 years. However, for some activities such as golf age is less important than experience. Age and gender (whether male or female) affects your capacities. Natural physical capacities begin to deteriorate sometimes at age 25.

Body composition: Carrying extra weight (excess fat) is not good for performance.

Illness and injury - Injury and illness can ruin performance. It is best to stay away from too much activity while nursing an injury, otherwise, it will only get worse.

Diet - Diet affects health, which in turn will affect your fitness. What and when you eat before an event will also affect your performance.

Drugs - Some drugs improve performance in short term but have long-term damaging effects. Athletes can be banned for using performance-enhancing drugs. Socially accepted drugs such as alcohol and cigarettes impair performance.




Personality - Some sports suit some personalities (introvert, extrovert). Everybody has their own distinctive character formed as a result of complexes unique to them and their personal history. Your performance will be better in a sport thats fit your personality.

Motivation - This involves a sense of purpose, commitment and determination which comes from whithin (intrinsic). Every performer needs this to do well. Sometimes the motivation comes from without (extrinsic) and must be valued by the performer for it to have an effect.

Arousal - There must be a general mental preparation to action, which is focused and sustained at the optimum point at which the performance is at its very best ('psyched up'). However, it is important to remain in control and not to pass the optimum level (psyche out) where performance declines under pressure (stress, worry, self-doubt, anxiety, etc.).

Stress - Any stressful situation ( injury, family issues etc... ) or reasons other than participation in the activity is likely to impair performance.




Weather - If the weather is hotter, colder, windier or more humid than you are accustomed you won't perform to the best of your ability. Changes in weather may lead to change in tactics.

Altitude - At high altitudes, the air is thinner, so less oxygen is taken in with each breath. If the body is not adapted to this condition, you are likely to become breathless and dizzy. However, whereas long-distance events are difficult to perform at high altitudes, performance in sprinting, jumping and throwing events are enhanced.

Playing surface and equipment - performance can be affected by equipment used and surface performed on. The need for special equipment can prevent some people from taking part, thus restricting their opportunities. Equipment changes as technology influences the design and materials used for increasing durability and performance, e.g. boots are lighter and more flexible than before, Running shoes provide more support and protection in the ability to absorb and disperse shock.

If you are used to performing on one type of surface, there can be a dramatic change in performance levels if you have to adapt suddenly to another.

The body and mind affect each other, and the environment affects both. Therefore, combined, will tremendously impact performance. If they are all at their best, optimum performance will be achieved.