Injury Prevention First
I am looking after a talented young man at the moment who sat and watched his high school basketball team from the sidelines because of a stress reaction in his back for the last half of the season. They eventually placed third in their comp. Commendable considering the number of injuries they had but he must have gone through the 'what ifs' in his head a hundred times. It is true that muscle strains as well as joint and ligament strains make up over 60% of all sporting injuries and if left unchecked can at times lead to stress responses and even stress fractures over time. In fact overuse injuries account for nearly half of all adolescent sporting injuries.* So for this young man when did it start to go wrong? In reality things had probably been unraveling for a while.
If you are worried about sporting injuries don't be...Instead think about preventing them first and foremost. It is true that your best way to prevent injury is in the pre season. Think about it, most sport seasons in school or university only go for around 10 to 14 weeks. If you have a significant injury in that time your influence on the team can be severely hampered. So what to do? The first thing is to get strong and when I say that I don't necessarily mean being able to lift 100 kilos! I mean make sure your core strength is up to scratch. Looking after a lot of up and coming as well as professional athletes, it always astounds me how technique and strength in doing simple exercises can be quite poor. This is evident at times even when an athlete has been working hard in the gym and appears outwardly quite strong. One of the major issues we see is weak and inhibited gluteal strength as well as abdominal strength and also inner range quads. Usually this is due to a combination of factors including body structure, technique and poor habits often from an early age. If left unchecked throughout a pre season these silent problems can lead to both acute as well as chronic injuries from muscle strains to ankle sprains and even more severe issues like stress fractures and ACL tears.