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The Key to Becoming Better at Your Sport

If you play sport, regardless of the level, you undoubtedly want to be the best that you can be. As with anyone who enjoys and partakes in sport, being competitive doesn’t simply come out in games or matches, it’s also there during training and practice as you seek to improve. This desire leads many people to seek out ways to improve their game, be it through training drills or the use of specialist equipment. But, one of the very best ways to improve at your sport is to improve as an athlete; for which the base training is aerobic training.

Seen as a foundation of fitness, doing aerobic training such as running builds a healthier, more efficient body which will, in turn, be able to allow you to perform to your peak levels for longer in competitive play as well as train harder to get the specific gains that you seek. You don’t need to go as far as to train for a 10km run, and moderation and consistency will be key to getting the most out of aerobic training, but adding some running to your weekly or daily routine will help you to improve immensely.

It doesn’t particularly matter which sport you’re partaking in – provided that it’s an active sport – as improving your aerobic performance will greatly help your endurance. With greater endurance comes longer spells of peak performance; a sentiment that many of today’s top athletes use to the maximum. Even in sports that don’t seem inherently cardio-driven, you can bet that the sportspeople competing incorporate aerobic training into their routine – usually in the form of going for a run.

A huge part of the most popular sport in the world

tony kroos
IMAGE SOURCE: RMadrid Babe, via Twitter

There’s no doubt about it; soccer is the most popular sport in the world. There are millions of people actively involved in playing football around the world, which includes the huge batch of professional players who grace the pitches of the top and second-tier divisions around the world. It’s very easy to see that professionals these days are very finely tuned athletic machines who have utilised aerobic training throughout their careers. However, it may come as a surprise just how much running is done in a game of football.

According to the records of the UEFA Champions League, Real Madrid and Germany central midfielder Toni Kroos covered 120,479m over 12 games, which includes his team’s win in the final. This averages out to Kroos covering 10.04km per game in the tournament – let alone during the domestic or cup campaigns. It’s because of the never-ending engine of players like Kroos why, as of May 28, Germany is at +450 to win the 2018 World Cup with the online sports bookie Betway. But he’s not Real’s only star to cover huge distances, with Cristiano Ronaldo averaging 9.3km per game, Casemrio covering 9.3km per game, and Sergio Ramos eating up 9.9km per game from defense.

The elite-level players travel huge distances during each game to ensure that they’re involved throughout the game, regardless of the situation. This allows them to be the very best at what they do, and perform to the highest caliber for the whole match. It’s one of the base reasons behind players like Kroos, Casemiro, Ronaldo, and Ramos being able to play for one of the biggest clubs in the world.

Perhaps seemingly unimportant to the uninitiated

muhammad ali

IMAGE SOURCE: Muhammad Ali, via Twitter

To an outsider of the sport, boxing simply appears to be two humans trading punches. But, with the sport being so pure, boxers have always sought to find an edge anyway that they can. A huge element of boxing is aerobic performance. Firing high-power punches for three minutes at a time is hard enough; throw in the fact that they need to be mobile, fend off high-powered punches from the opposition, and absorb punches, then you can see where the need for impeccable aerobic performance and huge amounts of stamina comes into play.

The vast majority of top-level boxers over the many storied decades of the sport have used running – known as roadwork – as a key part of their training. Muhammad Ali, the legendary 56-5-0 three-time heavyweight champion of the world, who was notoriously lackluster in the gym, would run three to five miles four times a week, according to Live Strong.

The benefits of running hold firm among elite-level boxers even to this day. Unified world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua is, from head to toe of his 6’6’’, 17-stone frame, an incredibly muscular athlete. But, it’s not just muscles and power that has made him into this world-conquering boxer at 21-0-0. Speaking to the Telegraph before his 15th career fight, Joshua explained how integral running and cardio work is to his everyday life, which includes doing 900m in three minutes, resting for a minute, and going again – to simulate the demands of a boxing match.

Regardless of the sport, as long as it involves a moderate to high level of activity, enhancing your aerobic performance through regular running will help you to improve. It will make you into a better athlete and allow you to improve at a better rate in the other areas of the sport.

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