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Injury Prevention

Why is pre-season so important?

Players, coaches and sports scientists all talk about  the pains of pre season – and why it matters…

For most players the word “Pre-season” is not something we like at all.

But, we need it because we need to prepare well for a long season.

Most players enthusiasm says one thing and shaking their head says another: The truth. Athletes hate pre-season.

They understand its purpose, though. This is their chance to lay down solid fitness foundations for a 20-week slog.

But, how important is the summer grind in catapulting a team towards success?


Ask any player, at any level, what springs to mind when they think of pre-season and they’ll say the same thing: running. And lots of it.

This is true, but the days of gruelling cross-country treks are over. They’ve been ditched along with pre-match fry-ups and half-time cigarettes.

In the modern era, players AT ALL LEVELS are hooked up with GPS systems and heart-rate monitors that pump out live data for evaluation. There’s nowhere to hide.

This has helped training evolve. Sessions are now carefully designed to replicate the demands of the sport.

Players focus on high-intensity interval training – in layman’s terms – workouts that challenge them to perform short, sharp explosive actions like sprinting, jumping and shooting, over and over again.

For the players this kind of work enables them to do their job with the same level of efficiency at the end of a game, as they do at the start.

Once the season is underway it is more difficult for coaches to push the players physically – there are too many games to play and recover from as well as other commitments – so it has to be done during summer and it has to be meticulously planned so players are in prime condition come round 1.

Pre-season is a great opportunity to overload the players with double sessions / week to give them a superior base of fitness.

We generally only have six weeks to get  into shape – each individual is different so they need specific training plans and diets that progress at the right pace.

Running that extra yard during a game could be the difference between winning and losing.

Those players who are up for the challenge don’t want to miss a minute. They need to be out there showing the coach their name should be first on the team sheet.

Getting injured is not an option, but when players push their bodies to the limit, this is an unfortunate consequence.

Standing on the touchline fighting fires with ice and strapping is the team’s battlefield medic – the physio!!

If you keep picking up injuries during pre-season and are missing sessions your not going to be fit when the season starts.

A poor pre-season could see a team make a slow start because they won’t be up to speed fitness wise. Also, it could potentially lead to more injuries because the players haven’t conditioned their bodies properly.

This concern sets the agenda for the physios and sports scientists. They must help the players build robust bodies to reduce their risk of injury.

Preseason is a great opportunity to work closely with the players to spend time ironing out any niggles, work on their weaknesses and educate them about their bodies.

There’s no doubt that forging match-winning fitness is the main objective of pre-season – without it key components such as tactics, team spirit and technical skill are all rendered redundant.


Importance of Nutrition in Managing Weight:

Many people believe that restricting food intake alone will help them lose weight. But in fact, being too restrictive with food can cause people to binge and gain weight over time. Simple tricks for successful long term weight management lie in:

  1. Small manageable changes. Set a goal like cutting back on portions. If you know you eat too much food and drink too many sugary or alcoholic drinks, cut the portion down to half the size you are used to. When you can handle the first change, add another.
  2. Feeding your metabolism.  Help your metabolism work as fast as it can by eating smaller meals more frequently.  A consistent stream of energy will prevent your body from going into starvation mode which can trigger sugar cravings and binge eating. Try halving your meals and eat every 3-4hrs.
  3. Drinking more water. Mindless eating like when bored or when watching T.V, can contribute significantly to your daily energy intake. These bad habits once established are hard to break.  Try using water as an alternative in these situations. Water can help fill you up, keep you hydrated and curb away active appetites.
  4. Making the most of incidental activity.  Take the stairs at work, walk to the next bus stop, get off the couch during ads, or play around on a fit ball instead of lying on the couch at home while watching t.v.  Everything counts.
  5. Maintaining regular exercise.  In addition to incidental activities it is important to incorporate moderate intense exercise most days. Build up to ~1hr 6 days a week. This doesn’t have to be done all in one block. Break it up over the day to suit your schedule.

If you need help to lose or maintain your weight contact Jenn Madz (APD, AccSD) to help find the recipe for your lifestyle.

Rozelle Physiotherapy