High-Performance Sports Conditioning
Bill Foran (editor)
Human Kinetics, 2001
High-Performance Sports Conditioning by Bill Foran (editor) was on of the first books aimed at providing a comprehensive insight into functional training. Recognizing that traditional sports conditioning provided limited contributions to athletes’ abilities to excel in sports, Foran assembled a panel of scientists and practitioners to ‘present the present and future of sports conditioning: functional training’.
This book was divided into two parts; 1) developing the sports performance foundation; and 2) developing a sports performance training program.
The first part covered all variables of sports conditioning. Chapters one to three addressed general precursors to any performance conditioning program: establishing a solid fitness base, baseline fitness testing, and performance flexibility. The latter chapters addressed conventional variables of sports conditioning: muscular strength and endurance, power, quickness, balance and core stability, agility and coordination, acceleration and speed, and aerobic capacity. Each chapter was written by a ‘specialist’ in the field and, through their experience and research, provides both a theoretical and practical viewpoint to each concept.
Part 2 of this text advanced beyond the above principles of sports conditioning and addresses arguably the most important concept of sports conditioning – periodization. In this section, specific sports were evaluated and, sport-specific skills and periodization methods were provided. A single chapter (written by Tudor Bompa) was devoted entirely to the theoretical principles of periodization and provided readers with a thorough foundation upon which future training programs may be designed. Finally, the last chapter of this book addressed the link and transition between post-rehabilitation conditioning and performance training. This chapter provided the conditioning specialist with a general knowledge base that could be utilized when guiding athletes in their return to athletic competition.
Despite Foran’s attempt to provide a comprehensive, yet novel reference for the field of sports conditioning, this book found itself lost between theory and practice. Lacking in-depth scientific principles, High-Performance Sports Conditioning failed to provide both the foundation upon which exercise science is grounded, and the battery of training techniques necessary for exercise prescription to be developed. Further, while references were listed at the end of this text, many chapters seem to have been written based on anecdotal evidence and personal experience. Finally, while the inclusion of multiple "experts” as chapter authors provided a variety of ideas, a disconnect in theory and consistency seemed evident. Overall, this book would still be a useful resource for personal trainers or health practitioners interested in the sporting realm. However, for conditioning specialists working with higher-level athletes, this book failed to be the ultimate resource.