How a high performance sports center works 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 together with the University of León make up these spaces where some of the best Spanish sportsmen and women 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, cutting-edge technology and with sufficient equipment for elite athletes to compete at their maximum capacity.

Individual athletes, but also teams, selections and combined teams train in these spaces on a daily or periodic basis. The CARs also have all the necessary staff in terms of nutrition, technical, management, logistics, medical, etc. The aim of these facilities is to provide all the tools available to 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 centres funded 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 work

The four high performance sports centers in Spain are public law entities with their own legal status. They are all state-owned except for 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 funding 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 in 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 vocational training in the field of sport.

The CAR in Sierra Nevada offers the opportunity to train at an altitude of more than 2,300 meters, which is particularly interesting for endurance disciplines such as cycling and athletics. In León, on the other hand, sportsmen and women benefit from 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 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 sport. 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 centre are to accredit a sufficient level of qualification by the sports federations or in technification centres recognised by the CSD. Athletes with good results in Spanish, European, World or Olympic championships 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 people from other countries, as well as national teams and foreign clubs, can train there.

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 comprehensive training to build great golf players, athletes, footballers and many other disciplines. Our methodology is very similar to that developed in the CARs, as we seek to improve sporting performance without neglecting the work aspect.

In the end, the professional life of an elite athlete is limited to a maximum of two decades, in the best case scenario. 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 the status of a major world sporting power, and this achievement is very much determined by the powerful investment made by both the public sector and the private sector.