PREPARING TO RETURN TO SPORTS

  With the return of competitive sports at all levels (youth, collegiate, and professional) all right around the corner, it’s not as easy as you think to “pick back up where you left off”.  At the end of the day, nothing simulates playing your sport like playing your sport does.  There’s just a different set of demands during competition vs practice.  Physical preparation for most athletes at this point needs to be treated like a plane taking off, a gradual process.  


     There are a handful of factors that need to be considered by athletes & parents as an athlete starts his/her process of training and preparing for sport again. In terms of training, vertical jumping, sprinting times, strength levels, and overall cardiorespiratory & anaerobic endurance aren’t going to be as high as they were 4-6 months ago for most athletes.  There is going to be an overall de-conditioning that needs to be overcome.  


     Additionally, if you are a youth or collegiate athlete, now is the time to commit to a complete, physical-preparation program.  AMAJORpoint of emphasis needs to be put on getting your body ready for when sports officially start back up.  As parents & athletes, we need to ask ourselves,“what is my end-game?”  AKA, what am I actually preparing for? Am I registered for a showcase in less than 4-weeks, but I haven’t thrown off the mound in several weeks?  There needs to be a longer-term plan in mind to avoid mismanagement of your athlete’s physical body.  Don’t be window shopper when it comes to college camps, showcases, or tournaments….at the end of the day they’re all businesses as well and they want your money!  Be smart and strategic.  Know what your shopping for and give your athlete time to prepare for it!


     “THE BEST ABILITY IS DURABILITY”.  The risk of getting injured is another factor that needs to be accounted for.  I always say, “If your athlete isn’t on the field to showcase his or her skills (due to injury) then we’re behind the 8-ball”. 


     Here are some statistics from international professional sports leagues that have started up since the global pandemic.  They come from the Korean Baseball League and Germany’s Bundesliga soccer league.  Both leagues spent around 50-70 days prior to starting back up, which is going to be significantly less time than what the United States is looking at.  In the KBO, hamstrings were reported as the most affected area of the body along with other lower-body injuries (Daniel Kim, KBO-MLB insider).  This can most likely be attributed to the player’s not being ready for the high joint velocities and eccentric stresses produced with game sprinting.


      On the other hand, Dr. Joel Mason of trackademicblog.com reported that the Bundesliga an increase of 0.88 injuries per game within the first week post-lockdown compared to 0.27 injuries per game pre-lockdown….226% increase in injuries from the previous season in only one week.  If you’ve noticed the NHL, NBA, and MLB have all provided a 2-4 week period for re-acclimation through a spring training or “pre-season camp”.  This is to help get those athletes acclimated to the stressors for when their seasons due in fact start back up. 


     In order to continue to provide athletes with the best athletic performance training in Central Jersey, TNL will be starting the 2020 Summer Training Block on June 22nd.  Whether your athlete has or hasn’t been training throughout this quarantine, TNL has your solution!  


     Every athlete should have a physical-preparation program designed for THEIR NEEDS as an athlete: injury history & risk reduction, speed & agility drills, mobility work, strength & power training, and recovery protocols.


Connor

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