The key points that differentiate sports massage from other specialties are timing of treatment, and the specific physical challenges of the sport.
Throughout the season, as well as during training, pre-game, postgame, during competition and between games.
Techniques are fast-paced to stimulate blood flow, flush the system and reduce resistance. Overall, facilitating the players' warm-up, and help them maintain focus and remain upbeat. During competition, Andrea / Therapist works primarily as an adviser, answering questions, helping to diagnose injuries and suggesting follow-up treatment. Postgame techniques are geared toward relaxation and getting the circulation back to your normal rhythm.
For maintenance between games, Swedish massage is used with a deep transverse friction. It is the maintenance massage that can best provide the structural changes needed to prevent injuries and enhance athletic performance. Optimally, a maintenance program of sports massage can work with the athletes' schedules to delay or accelerate their periods of peak performance to correspond to the team's schedule of competition.
Before matches it is used to help loosen up muscles as part of a stretching and limbering routine to help prevent any cramps or strains occurring during the match or event. It has the added benefit of helping the athlete relax and focus their mind in preparation for the match which can require levels of concentration as intense as the levels of fitness required.
Of course, having the therapist there on the sidelines of a match is necessary for when an athlete does eventually strain a muscle or a tendon during play. Again, after the match or event, therapeutic sports massage can help muscles in the cooling down phase after intense activity and help the muscles in their natural healing process by moving blood through the area to allow for new muscle cells to form.
Injury prevention practices – post game recovery sessions
Post-game recovery should last approximately 45 minutes. This involves not only physical recovery but also the mental rest that is necessary.
Methods listed below have proven to be very beneficial in the recovery process.
- Once off the field, a cold hydrotherapy whirlpool session is done for about 10 to 12 minutes.
- Each athlete spends fifteen to twenty minutes on an exercise bike. This is done to reduce the onset of delayed muscle soreness by helping eliminate lactic acid faster.
Using their home bathtub for cold therapy can be just as effective as the upscale tubs found in sports facilities. A final consideration is proper hydration practices, which is important at all levels of play and cannot be overstated. It may be the most important aspect of recovery for young athletes. Without proper hydration athletes will fatigue more quickly thus opening themselves up to potential injury.
If you or your team require any assistance with massages please feel free to get in contact with Andrea and we would love to discus your needs and requirements.