Lesson 15: Basic Principles of Sports Physiology (Part 6 of 7)


1. Adaptation

2. Endurance

3. Strength

4. Flexibility

5. Speed

6. Coordination

Coordination is the overall working together of the CNS and skeletal musculature within the framework of a particular motion sequence (cf. Hollmann/Hettinger, 2000)

In simple terms, it’s the ability to select the right muscle at the right time with the right intensity to achieve a desired outcome.

Coordinative skills are complex elements in the human experience of handling motions, by providing the requisite functions necessary for the execution and control of movements (cf. Bös/Brehm, 2006). Coordinative skill enables humans to control their motor functions in predictable and unpredictable situations with certainty and efficiency, while simultaneously being a means to quickly learning athletic movements. Coordinative skills can refer to either overall motor skills (“agility“) or to fine motor skills (“dexterity”). Another term frequently used in conjunction with the concept of coordination is “technique”. This term is used when the coordinative demand is with reference to a sports-specific sequence of movements.

Distinct elements of coordination are categorized as follows:

  • Hand-eye coordination
  • Differentiation 
  • Balance
  • Orientation 
  • Rhythm
  • Reaction time
  • Adjustment to change

The ability to control, adapt and learn new motor tasks are at the top of the coordination hierarchy (vgl. Weineck, 2000).

Coordinative capabilities must be differentiated from skills. Skills refer to established, in part automatic, concrete patterns of movements; whereas coordinative capabilities refer to established, but more generalized, complete series of movement patterns which form the basis for different performance activities (cf. Hirtz, 1981).

The overall importance of coordinative capabilities lies in the ability to master situations which require a high degree of speed and precise movements. In this sense, they are also invaluable skills for the prevention of accidents and the maintenance of independent living.