What is athleticism? The term athleticism encompasses all the attributes that make up a successful sports person. It is different from fitness - many people can be fit, for example having good endurance, speed, power, strength, but they may not necessarily be athletic. In addition to the basic physical components of fitness are other sporting attributes such as body control, decision making and reaction time, which as a whole makes a person more 'athletic' and subsequently a successful sports person.
An early attempt to measure athleticism was the Cozens' General Athletic Ability Test (1936). General athletic ability was assessed using a weighted battery consisting of the following individual tests: baseball throw for distance, football punt for distance, bar snap for distance, standing broad jump, dodging or maze run, 300-yard run (originally a 440-yard run), and dips. These tests cover a range of fitness components, including coordination and some sport-specific skills, though we would nowadays expect a more robust analysis of each of the components of fitness.
There have been attempts to classify overall fitness into a single unit, a test of overall fitness. There are hundreds of individual fitness tests, but no universal method of combining the results of these these tests into a single meaningful measurement. We have discussed this singular fitness index, but in terms of athleticism, there are other factors in addition to just fitness, such as tactics and how the athlete copes under pressure. We have also attempted to classify these factors of success.
Which Sports Are Most Athletic?
In an interesting exercise by 'Page 2' on ESPN, they decided to once-and-for-all determine which of the world's sports is the most demanding. They analyzed 60 sports and asked experts in their field to rank them (see the full ranking list) based on the ten skills listed below that they determined make up athleticism. From this ranking list, we were able to determine which sports were rated highest for each of these individual components of athleticism.
- Endurance — which sports are rated highest in terms of endurance.
- Strength — highest ranking strength sports.
- Power — highest ranking sports for power.
- Speed — highest ranking sports for speed.
- Agility — highest ranking sports for agility
- Flexibility — highest ranking sports in terms of flexibility
- Hand-Eye Coordination — sports requiring good hand-eye coordination.
- Nerve — the sports ranked highest for 'the fear factor'
- Durability — sports whose athletes need to constantly withstand physical punishment
- Analytic Aptitude — top sports needing the ability to evaluate and react to strategic situations
Reference: Frederick W. Cozens, Achievement Scales in Physical Education Activities for
College Men (Philadelphia: Lea and Febiger, 1936), p. 114.
- Another list of the important factors for success in sports
- About the Components of Fitness
- How To Become Better In Different Sports
- Who is the Greatest Athlete of All Time?
- What is the Fittest Sport?
- Sport Specific Fitness
- Sport Specific Fitness Testing
Commenting is closed on this page, though you can read some previous comments below which may answer some of your questions.
- It would be interesting to show all the data - including the scores for each component of athleticism for each sport. Intuitively, it's hard to understand how badminton is as athletic as Nordic skiing. :-) This is a great topic to get uninformed posts and user involvement ... let's just try to get people more informed. Bozo (2013)
- I think badminton requires much more fast twitch movements than a lot of things so i'm not surprised here. Don Bozo (2013)
- What about foot eye coordination ? Have u tried controlling a ball with ur feet ? .. not easy eh? Setg (2013)