How does a high performance sports center work in Spain?

Spain currently has four facilities considered as high performance sports centers. Sant Cugat del Vallés in Barcelona, the Blume Residence in Madrid, Sierra Nevada in Granada and the CAR next to the University of León make up these spaces where some of the best Spanish athletes are trained.

What is a high performance sports center?

A CAR, or high performance center in Spain, is a sports facility equipped with state-of-the-art technology, which also has sufficient equipment for elite athletes to compete at their maximum capacity.

In these spaces, individual athletes train daily or periodically, but also teams, selections and combined teams. The CARs also have all the necessary staff in terms of nutrition, technical, management, logistics, medical, etc. The objective of these facilities is to put all the available tools at the service of athletes, so that those with the greatest potential can reach a high level of performance.

At the same time, these complexes combine training, study and rest areas in the same place. They are multidisciplinary centers financed by public money, by the State. Between 2020 and 2021, almost 30 million euros were earmarked for their maintenance, development and management.

How these high performance centers operate

The four high performance sports centers in Spain are public law entities with their own legal entity. All of them are state-owned except the one in Sant Cugat del Vallés, in Barcelona, which depends on the Generalitat de Catalunya and is attached to the Secretaría General de l’Esport, which has a financing agreement with the Centro Superior de Deportes (CSD).

The other CARs depend on the CSD which, in turn, is attached to the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport. In each of them there are different facilities and services adapted to numerous sports disciplines.

Each CAR has an independent offer: those of Madrid, Sierra Nevada and Sant Cugat have an accommodation service in residences; and in Madrid and Barcelona there is also an institute of higher education which can be accessed by students of professional training in the field of sports.

The CAR of Sierra Nevada offers the opportunity to train at an altitude of more than 2,300 meters, which is especially interesting for endurance disciplines such as cycling or athletics. In León, for their part, athletes enjoy an agreement to use the sports facilities of the city’s University, located next to the center.

How to access a high performance sports center

Training in a high performance center requires a high level of discipline, perseverance and dedication to the sport. As the athletes improve their level, obtaining better results, the technicians of each federation propose to some chosen ones to become part of the network of athletes integrated in the CARs.

Day-to-day life in these facilities is based on sports. The routine of activities involves training sessions of about five hours on average and a similar amount of time for studies. The remaining time, in addition to rest, is used to search for techniques to improve physical performance and adapt new technologies.

The requirements to enter a high performance center are to accredit a sufficient level of qualification by the sports federations or in centers of technification recognized by the CSD. Athletes with good records in championships in Spain, Europe, World Championships or Olympic Games in a period of time prior to the application for admission will also get their place.

The CARs are not limited exclusively to Spanish athletes, as they can train people from other countries, as well as national teams and foreign clubs.

Training in SLAM to reach the CAR

The high performance centers are public facilities that depend on the CSD. They are spaces that allow athletes to access an ecosystem that contributes to the continuous improvement of their performance. However, this scenario is not only achieved from the public sphere.

At SLAM we are strong advocates of a comprehensive training to build great golf players, athletes, soccer players and many other disciplines. Our methodology is very similar to that developed in the CAR, as we seek to improve sports without neglecting the work aspect.

In the end, the professional life of an elite athlete is limited to two decades at the most, and that in the best of cases. In SLAM, you will find an unbeatable scenario to continue developing as an athlete and a springboard to reach the CARs.

The idea of the high performance sports center has been established since its beginnings after the Barcelona Olympic Games in 1992. In these decades, our country has acquired a status of great sports power worldwide, and this achievement is very much determined by the powerful investment made both from the public sector and from the private initiative.