We’ve all heard it, preventing injuries is better than cure. So what is the magic formula to preventing injuries? Is it strength, flexibility, balance, proprioception, endurance, co-ordination, fitness or a combination of all of these?
Everyone is built differently with some people naturally big, strong and athletically gifted while others are unco-ordinated, relatively weak and relatively unathletic. Whilst individual programs can be made to address deficiencies, it is very difficult to ‘bullet proof’ everyone. So what is my advice… train and prepare like you want to play.
Without getting too technical, an honest appraisal of where you are currently at physically and where you need to be to play at the level you desire, is the first step to preventing injuries. Then a gradual progression of the necessary attributes that you need over a training block (usually several weeks/months) will help prepare your body, muscles and joints for the demands of the sport that you want to play. For example, if it’s been 20 years since you have played competitive sport and you have been relatively inactive since, you can’t expect to go out and play a game of competitive tennis or netball at full speed and get away with it too often. Our bodies adapt to the stimulus that we apply to it and if we haven’t asked our body to do much lately, it is difficult to cope with full on activity out of the blue. A carefully planned approach to your training will go a long way to adequately prepare your body for what you want it to do.
There will always be times when individual variations apply. A person with a dodgy knee might need some extra strength work in the surrounding muscles of that leg. Someone with a recurring unstable ankle might need some extra balance and strength work as well as taping or bracing to help. An extremely tight individual might need some specific stretches to give them the required range of movement. Ideally a combination of identifying the individual’s issues, correcting these issues and training smartly to prepare yourself will go a long way to keeping you injury free.
Adelaide Crows Sports Medicine Clinic Physiotherapists are well placed to help you prepare for your next sporting event to limit your risk of injury.