With pre season fast approaching for many winter sports, it is important to know how to be best prepared so that you are able to complete a full pre-season and avoid injury.
Having worked with both the North Adelaide Football Club (SANFL) and community level footy clubs, I have been lucky to learn what areas should be addressed in the lead up to pre-season. As we all lead busy lives the key is to spend your time on the areas that are going to give you the best results.
So what are the top 5 things to do for a successful pre season?
1. Address any injuries before pre-season starts
This is vital! Make sure you have any niggles or injuries checked by your Physiotherapist. Heading into pre-season with even a slight issue may put you at risk of further injury and time away from sport. At worst, this issue could significantly disrupt your pre-season training and in turn effect your performance for the season ahead.
Often physiotherapists offer pre-season screens that will help you identify any areas that need to be addressed to ensure that you are feeling and performing at your best. At myPhysioSA, we utilise the latest research methods to screen our athletes and provided injury prevention programs specific to your sport. Whether you are an elite athlete or a weekend warrior, we want to make sure you are feeling confident heading into the season.
2. Gradually increase your activity
It’s important that you start to return to some light exercise (e.g. slow jogging), so that when you return to pre-season training your body is not shocked by the higher training loads. Our bodies do not respond well to large spikes in training loads, instead preferring a gradual increase in how much we are doing. By gradually increasing your activity in the lead up to pre-season, your body will be in better shape to be able te with the demands of your sport. Having adequate rest between training days is also important to ensure your body has enough recovery time.
Effectively managing your training loads will help in improving your body’s capacity and lower your risk of soft tissue and overuse type injuries, which are very common at this stage of pre-season. The aim is to complete a full pre-season, so remember to gradually increase how much you are doing and give yourself enough recovery time!
3. Resistance training – get strong for your sport
Resistance training is important to help increase strength and prevent injuries (on and off the field) by building your body’s ability to handle the demands of your sport. Resistance training can help improve muscle and bone strength, improve stability and prevent muscular fatigue and overuse injuries.
A great starting point is to target the main muscle groups required for your sport. For example, if you play AFL, soccer or hockey you will need to have strong leg muscles. If you are a fast bowler in cricket, you will need to have a strong core and shoulder muscles. Your physiotherapist can help design a program specific to your needs so that you are able to work at your best for longer and keep you on track for the season.
4. Gain fitness specific to your sport
This is a really important point that can be often missed. When you start getting back into training it is important that you make the type of training specific to what is required in your sport. For example, if your sport requires endurance, it would not be beneficial to just do sprint training. If your sport requires quick changes of direction and speed, incorporating agility drills into your training will be beneficial. The more specific your training is, the better your body will be able to perform!
5. Check your equipment
Make sure all of your equipment is in good condition and does not need updating. Running shoes being the big one here… If you have been running in the same shoes for a year then it may be time to get a new pair. Running shoes have a lifespan, which is measured in the amount of running you have completed in them. After this, the support and cushioning the shoe provides may wear out. So look after your feet and body and make sure your equipment is in good shape.
These 5 tips will help you be in the best position to hit the ground running when your pre-season starts.
For any further information chat to one of our Sports Physios if you require any further information!