Our reaction time can be defined as the time the body takes to respond to a given stimulus. In sport an athlete’s ability to respond quickly is critical to success in the game. There are two elements, the simple reaction time which is biological and defined by an individual’s nerve connections and signal pathways. It’s not possible to change this’ hard wired’ time however an athlete can improve their ‘choice’ reaction time through better technique practice. This metric is broadly the time it takes a sportsperson to make a choice to define an action.
There are a number of sports that rely on our brain and bodies ability to adapt quickly. To succeed in these disciplines at an elite level the professionals will need to illustrate a quick ability to find an advantage when given a distinct stimuli. Some of the sports which require the quickest reaction times include the following.
Boxing – A champion will need to constantly adapt to their opponents movements and strategy in the ring. As a high impact anaerobic sport this is challenging over ten gruelling three minute rounds.
Motor Sports – Lewis Hamilton the Formula 1 world champion needs to be highly tuned and reactive to the road and his competitors. The ability to adapt at over 200 miles per hour requires a strong level of situational awareness that is difficult to replicate in training.
Football – As a dynamic team sport footballers need to have a heightened sense of threat and the potential to exploit the opposition. It is estimated that a goalkeeper has only 0.3 seconds to react to a penalty kick.
Racket Sports – It’s generally appreciated that elite tennis players are amongst the aerobically fittest athletes. Their ability to dominate is also a reflection of the ability to anticipate a serve at around 120 mph and think ahead on their next move. This is accordingly a dual challenge for the mind and body to work both cohesively and independently.
Over the last 12 months we have all had to react rapidly to the changing variety of restrictions enforced on small businesses. How have you personally adapted? Take inspiration from our sports stars by using their preparation as fuel in 2021.
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