1.3 The Importance of Fascia in Speed & Sports Performance Training

The study of fascia in the past few years has provided the movement sciences with a much deeper understanding of the relationship between the musculoskeletal system, sports performance training and injury mitigation. Fascia is a specialized system within the body that has an appearance similar to a spider’s web. This web is collagen-comprised connective tissue that lies beneath the skin which stabilizes, attaches, encompasses and unites muscles and organs. But fascia is more than an internal collagenous structure, it has nerves which make it almost as sensitive as skin. Like our ligaments and tendons, fascia is a fibrous connective tissue that is made up of mostly collagen and some elastin fibers along with ground substance, a viscous transparent fluid similar to raw egg white. What differentiates fascia from ligaments and tendons is that it completely surrounds muscles and other structures in the body, whereas ligaments connect bones to other bones and tendons connect muscles to bone.

It is quite common that a sports performance coach is familiar with ligament and tendon health. While Parisi coaches do not serve as clinicians, the frequency of sprains (overstretching or tear of a ligament) and strains (overstretching or tear of a muscle) among athletes requires Parisi coaches to often modify training with regressions. This knowledge allows us to help an athlete experience a healthy return to play strategy. In light of the frequency in which Parisi speed and sports performance coaches train young athletes with common injuries, it is highly relevant that they understand the role of fascia in all movement based programs.

Fascia training emphasizes the importance of multi-planar movement including varying speeds and angles of movement. Because fascia is responsible for 30% of our explosive power and has 10 x more proprioceptors than muscle, Parisi speed and sports performance coaches must have a fundamental understanding how fascia plays a role in speed development.