With community sport postponed for an additional 6 weeks, it is time to maximise injury prevention whilst keeping skills sharp.  Understandably, the recent news is incredibly frustrating for local sport and children. Our physiotherapist Laura Scott identifies the best way to train over the next 6 weeks to get back to sport as quickly and as safely on it’s return. This period can allow a great opportunity to train sport specific skills, improve fitness and reduce the likelihood of injury.

With teams only given a short-time last month to prepare for game day, their ability to safe manage players’ load was in jeopardy. Often, it’s thought that we need to make up for lost time and push ourselves harder than we did before, but this is not the case.

The German Soccer League was the first competition to recommence competition following COVID-19. Unfortunately, a shortened “pre-season” of only three weeks lead to a dramatic increase in injury rates, with the number of players injured increasing three-fold compared to previous years. This has been a similar case in the AFL with an increase in the number of soft-tissue injuries including players such as Trent Cotchin, Nat Fyfe and many more.

Why is load so important?

Returning to sport is a matter of managing our load. Load is key to injury prevention as sudden increases in load and inconsistent training can dramatically increase our risk of injury as the body and tissue structures struggle to adjust. The principles of load management are to maximise performance whilst also reducing risk of injury. Evidence tends to support a simple 10% rule when it comes to load management whereby players should aim for smaller increases/decreases in load rather than larger fluctuations. For example, if you went for a 10km run this week, next week you could safely run 11 km without increasing the risk of injury. However, if you went from training 1 x weekly for football or netball then the next week you wanted to train 2 x weekly, theoretically that is a 150% increase in load.

With community sport delayed once again, the opportunity to train and progressively manage load independently is given. Whist players may have kept up their fitness going for runs/bike rides, sports specific skills such as change of speed, direction, jumping/landing, tackling, kicking, throwing are just as important to maintain.

What can I do whilst I’m at home?

During this period, if players are able to train and build match-day skills, once training re-commences teams are able to train with match simulation to prepare for game day.

Whilst this second lock down isn’t ideal, it provides teams and players with the opportunity to focus on game day preparation from home.

It’s important to remember that all clubs are in the same position at the moment. Challenge yourselves to now step up. Encouraging players to independently train sport specific skills in turn means that when you return to training, time can be safely dedicated to match simulation, set plays and team drills.

For further injury prevention methods head to our previous post on some cues for safe landing and change of direction exercises.

How to structure your warm up?

Warm-up drills are just as important to perform at home as they are at training sessions

The purpose behind a warm-up is to raise body temperature and naturally increase blood supply to muscles. Furthermore, warm-ups are designed to take the body through all necessary movements required by the sport. Programs such as Netball Australia’s KNEE program, AFL’s prep to play, and Fifa 11+ all replicate movements required by the sport.

At Malvern East Physiotherapy we have constructed a program drawing upon the same foundations required by sport. Check out our previous blog which goes through the exact components of our program.

To learn more about the best way to train over the next 6 weeks, contact our physiotherapy team today or book online. Our physiotherapists are able to assist your mini pre-season using our on-site rehabilitation gym.