This has perplexed me for years… Athletes often suffer minor injuries throughout the season. Aggressive play can often result in a sprained ankle, pulled muscle or shoulder injury, and upon injuring themselves the players (or parents) often decide to take 2-6 weeks off to let the injury heal. Let me try to understand this… a player gets injured and can’t practice… so the thought process is to let all their hard work go to waste as they sit around for a month letting it heal? Why? Why do we need to take time off? What could we possibly be doing during this time?
Let’s say it’s an ankle injury… So we can’t do agility drills, so what?!?! Let’s focus on the other leg. Let’s keep the core strong. Let’s focus on upper body strength. Let’s condition on the Arc Trainer (if they can put weight on it). We may not be able to practice, but let’s do something…anything to keep going and keep progressing.
Here is an example: A high school senior suffered an ankle injury and was put in a boot for 4 weeks, but she had just committed to play soccer at a Big 12 University. She can’t afford to take 4-6 weeks off, so what does she do… Here is a short video of a portion of her workout Thursday night (if you got this through email and can’t see the video, go to our blog at: ttp://www.soccerfitacademy.com/?p=1341
I see this happen all the time. Athletes will be told by a physician to take some time off. This doesn’t mean time COMPLETELY OFF. We have spent years assembling the right type of equipment, testing out various protocols, and progressing athletes back to the field as they recover from injuries. Another example is a young girl who tore her ACL in a soccer game a few months ago. She is still in rehab, but comes in 2x per week to train with one of our teams. When the team is doing agility work, she jumps on the Cybex Arc Trainer and does her strength endurance or conditioning work (with no stress on the knee) to build a strong fitness base and strengthen the muscles above the knee. As soon as her team goes into the strengthening portion of the workout, she is right back in the mix, doing all the core and upper body work (even throwing medicine balls, doing box step up work, balance and isolated hamstring and glute work.
This has many positive effects, but the number one effect is improved motivation. Injuries take a toll on the player. If they feel they are still a part of their team, training, conditioning and improving. They will reap the psychological benefits as well as the physical benefits. So the take home point of this post is to look at an injury as a time to focus your attention on other areas of your game that may have been neglected for some time, and to improve every day. Working with the team, being a part of the group and be ready to go as soon as you are cleared to participate!