As performance coaches, one big part of our job is making sure our athletes are fit to play their chosen sport – including injury prevention and return to sport in collaboration with the athlete’s physio team. Injury prevention isn’t exclusive to young athletes; as we age, it is important that we maintain strength, joint mobility and proprioception to best protect and prepare our bodies for daily activities.
Common injuries we see are knee injuries, particularly in sports such as rugby league and netball. Many of these result from either contact with another player or change of direction exceeding the capabilities of the structures of the knee – such as the ACL, meniscus or other ligaments and tendons. Age related changes such as arthritis are also some of the things we work with on a daily basis.
When managing these athletes, a large part of our role is to strengthen the structures that support the knee joint (such as the quadriceps, hamstrings and glute muscles) as well as assess the balance, gait and movement mechanics of each individual. For example, for an athlete returning from an ACL recon, we will look at progressing them from strengthening and range of motion exercises to working to more dynamic movements such as squatting with their bodyweight and under load, then to running, jumping and changes of direction.
When considering injury prevention, we are looking at preparing the body for the expected demands of the activity you are performing – this is an important part of training across all age groups and activities. Some of the main points we consider are:
What activity are you performing?
How often are you performing the activity?
What is the most effective way to perform this activity?
How can we make this activity the most effective for you and your body?
Every athlete’s needs are different and your training should reflect this, no matter what life stage you are in. If you want to find out how we can help you perform and move more effectively (no matter what the activity), give the team a call and book in for an individual assessment.