The central nervous system (CNS) consists of the brain and spinal cord and acts as a control system for the body. The brain is a highly complex organ with many functions, but in terms of sports performance, the cerebellum and diencephalon regions are very important. Understanding their role indicates just how integral the CNS is to sports performance:
The cerebellum is the second largest part of the brain. It is involved in coordinating muscles to allow precise movements and the control of balance and posture;
The diencephalon contains two important structures called the thalamus and the hypothalamus. The former acts as a relay station for incoming sensory nerve impulses, sending them on to the relevant areas of the brain for processing. It is therefore responsible for letting your brain know what’s happening outside of your body. The hypothalamus plays a vital role in keeping conditions inside your body constant. It does this, for example, by regulating your body temperature, thirst and hunger, and by controlling the release of hormones from the nearby pituitary gland.