Injury Prevention for Athletes
Injuries for young athletes continue to be on the rise. If you haven’t experienced one yourself, you probably have a friend or a teammate who’s out for the rest of the season. You’re probably aware that sports injuries are typically caused by:
- Poor form or technique
- Wrong equipment
- Lack of adequate warm up or stretching
Fortunately, the majority of sports injuries are avoidable. So, here are six ways to help you and your teammates prevent future injuries:
Create a Sabbath
God tells us to keep the Sabbath holy for a reason. Our bodies and minds need a break. Take at least one full day a week off of practice AND training. If your coach insists on you spending at least an hour at the gym every day, politely refuse and explain how you’ll practice some other “strength training” through spiritual or mental exercises (going to church or youth group, studying the Bible or doing your school work).
Eat Healthy, Drink Plenty of Fluids and Get Lots of Rest
Being healthy is ingrained in your training as an athlete because it is critical. If you aren’t feeding your body what it needs, then you’re increasing the potential for injury. Your body needs nutrients and rest to replenish. Establishing a solid foundation of healthy habits must come before indulging in treats and life’s pleasures. If you’re a serious athlete, then you’ll find a way to eat (end enjoy) those fruits and veggies. You’ll make sure you take a water break throughout practice and games. You’ll go to bed early enough to gain the sleep you need.
Practice Injury Prevention
If your team doesn’t already have special injury prevention tactics, then ask your coach if she’ll help you implement them into your training regimen. If she’s not interested, find a way to add them on your own and invite your teammates to join you. Some of the best injury prevention activities are yoga or stretching, swimming, meditation or massage.
Expand Your Sports Interest
Overuse is one of the most common ways young athletes injure themselves. Doing the same activity and motion over and over again wears on your body. On the off season, or when you don’t have a game or practice during the week (besides on your Sports Sabbath) practice another sport. Help your sister with her volley, play some hoops with your brother or go to a Zumba class with your mom.
Focus on the Whole Body
Current athletic training typically follows a traditional method of upper and lower body lifting or sprinting then lifting exercises. Unfortunately, these methods often neglect the core, which weakens the most important part of the body. Core stability (focusing on hips, stomach and BACK) should be implemented into athletic training. It’s easy to power through a workout using momentum and strength from large muscles. Be mindful of the small muscles too. It takes a lot of work and focus to pinpoint the small muscles that are typically overcompensated by larger muscles.
Evolve Your Training
Change your routine regularly based on your changing body and ability. Don’t become complacent or bored with your routine. Find a balance between your strengths and weaknesses. Work to build your weaknesses, even if you don’t need it for your sport. It will help you create a more balanced body. Always wear proper gear. Your equipment needs to change and grow with your body.
An injury at a young age can cause life-long issues and may not be fully treated due to your developing body. Take the time to care for your body, don’t overdo it. Especially when you want to push yourself to the limit as an athlete. Your effort, sportsmanship and hard work make you a good athlete, not your ability to win. It’s too common for an athlete to strive for the scholarship, champion game or winning goal – and find herself flat on her back, never able to play again. Rather than straining yourself too much now, build a strong, healthy body which will allow you to remain active your entire life. Having a full life of active living will gain you so much more than a moment in the spotlight.