Injury prevention for an athlete is key and should be one of the most important things a coach or personal trainer should focuses on. Many coaches work on the conditioning side of training for their athletes, however most do not understand proper training protocol. Over the years, I have heard a variety of mottos from various coaches of different sports. Some coaches will say things like, “We will not stop running until someone pukes today”. The problem with this thought process is any moron can overtrain or run an athlete into the ground. It does not mean that this type of conditioning is going benefit the athlete in any way. Another motto I have heard is , “Well this is how we trained for this sport when I played”. The problem is that from a training protocol standpoint, we have access to so much more information. The things that were utilized years ago are outdated and there are new and better ways to condition an athlete without injuring them .
One of the first things that should be done to prevent injuries, is to look at the current exercise activity that the athlete performs throughout the week. If an athlete is spending 4 hours in the gym and then has 2 hour practices during the week, they might be overtraining. A good coach or personal trainer evaluates each athlete daily. They should have a conversation about what they ate that day, how they feel, how much sleep they may have gotten, and if there are any nagging injuries that are bothering them. If you don’t assess these things daily, you will end up with a team of injured individuals midway through the season.
After looking at the athlete’s activity level, the trainer or coach should be talking about their athletes needs for calories daily. How much they should be consuming to sustain their training protocol is vitally important. Unfortunately, most coaches and athletes only concern themselves with what type of training they are doing, however if you are not talking about calories and energy expenditure you are missing the boat. It is like worrying about your car’s engine and never concerning yourself with if you have any fuel to run the car.
Once the conversation has been had about fuel, the next area of focus should be recovery. Is your child doing too much and it is impairing their performance. Many parents will sign their child up for high school programs, travel programs, personal training, and speed and agility training. Most will not consider talking about, how many days off does your athlete get per week. Many high level athletes require at least 2 days off to recover from vigorous training routines. An athlete should be monitored daily to make adjustments to training protocol if needed. Depending on what problems or injuries they may be having, you may have to back off of activity for a day or two.
The last area that should be focused on are various tools for recovery. These can consist but are not limited to foam roller, stretching, massage, various handheld massage items, ice, heat, and supplementation. Each of these modalities serve a purpose in an athlete’s training regimen and should be utilized accordingly. There is so much information nowadays to help prevent injuries in athletes that while you cannot completely mitigate any risk, you can certainly minimize the risk of injury. Train smarter not harder. If you have or know of an athlete or team with a ton of injuries, please contact Xcellerated Speed Training, we can help.