Today’s sports are all about creating competitive advantages. That can be from increasing speed, recovery, reducing the risk of injuries, and even sport specific training. Let’s be honest, now more than ever our athletes have more demands on them from practices, tournaments, and even sport specific coaches or skill work. With this increase in time on the field there’s also a higher risk with injuries.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Overuse injuries are responsible for nearly half of all sports injuries
So what can we do about this issue to keep our athletes both healthy and on the field?
Here are 3 ways we can help prevent overuse injuries and help our athletes recover faster.
- Proper Warm-ups: Considering a well-planned warm-up has the potential to not only prepare athletes physically and mentally but also possess the ability to reduce the likelihood of injury and improve performance. For an example of a detailed dynamic warm-up check the end of this article. In more recent years a proper dynamic warmup can now help your athletes in the four following ways:
- Mental readiness
- Physical readiness
- Injury prevention
- Performance enhancement
- Nutrition & Sleep Protocols: One of the biggest factors leading to injuries in sports today, especially non-contact injuries (ACL tears, Meniscus, etc), can be traced back to fatigue. That could be specific fatigue from the game/practice itself or also cumulative over the previous days/weeks. Either way, here are some of the best ways to help an athlete to avoid fatigue, reduce injury risk, and recover/perform at optimal levels on or between games:
- Proper Nutrition – both between competitions/practices, but also outside of the sport. Avoid fast foods and convenience foods while on the road and try to eat 3-4 real meals with snacks. What do we mean by real food?? Vegetables, Fruits, Meats, Nuts/Seeds. Basically if it comes from nature, it’s good for us. Another common issue we see is athletes not eating enough before, during, or after games/practices. Athletes need a high amount of healthy calories between and during play so make sure they are eating enough.
- Sleep – What happens to your cell phone battery if you forgot to plug it in each night? It drains and eventually can shut down. The same happens to our bodies after a long day of practices and training, and if we don’t get enough of our battery charged we could be at higher risk for fatigue leading to injury.
How can we fix this as coaches? One way could be to implement a survey for your athletes to fill out on a daily basis before or after practices/tournaments. This could basically serve as a readiness form for your coaches to evaluate if athletes are taking care of what they need to off the field, not just on it.
- Proper Performance Training: One of the most effective options when it comes to injury reduction and recovery is proper off-season and in-season training. As athletes grow and games/practices become more competitive things like agility, speed, power, and strength become a necessity. Let’s face it, the more our athletes are asked to run, throw, and jump the more power, speed, and strength are necessary factors to build. Proper training can help athletes:
- Increase Speed both linearly and multi-directional
- Increase strength, power, and explosiveness
- Improve mobility and flexibility helping the body to become more resilient
- Increase recovery and levels of conditioning/endurance
- And many more….
These 3 tips can be easily implemented with your athletes and will result in a reduction of injury risk and improved recovery. We at Absolute Performance Training are dedicated to seeing all athletes in WNY improve not only on but off the field of play. If you or your athletes have questions or would like more information on our programs please Click HERE
Want more info on overuse injuries and how to prevent them? Check out this article by the Mayo Clinic
DYNAMIC Warm-Up Sample Below
Here is and Advanced Warm-up Circuit you can do anywhere:
- Jump rope: 2-3 minutes (optional)
- Jumping jacks: 20 reps
- Seal Jacks: 20 reps
- Crossover Jacks: 20 reps
- Bodyweight Squats: 20 reps
- Reverse Lunges: 5 reps each leg
- Quadruped Hip Fire Hydrants: 10 reps each side
- Quadruped Hip Circles (Forward and Backwards): 5 reps each
- Quadruped Hip Scorpions: 10 reps ea side
- Hip rotations: 10 reps each leg
- Forward leg swings: 10 reps each leg.
- Side leg swings: 10 reps each leg
- Push-ups into Backwards Inchworm Walks: 5-10 Reps in place
- Spider-man steps: 5 each leg
- A- Marches: 10 yards
- A-Skips: 10 yards
- A-Run: 10 yards
- Broad Jumps (Stick landing): 10 yards