A guest-post from Steve Fudge
Originally posted on: mcmillanspeed.com
1. Management of stress. People get hurt because of their system is unable to cope with the level of stress that they are getting exposed to. People never get hurt by accident. Even when something seems accidental, my belief is that the body is smart and finds way to protect itself from overload.
2. Be aware that stress is multi-dimensional. Don’t get trapped into thinking that training stress is the only type of stress. I always talk to my athletes about the bath tub with several taps coming into it. Each tap represents a different stressor in your life: training; relationships; money; car issues; travelling etc etc. So the bath tub will over flow if all the taps are on. It is the same with the body. It doesn’t distinguish between stressors. So be very aware of the whole picture around your athlete.
3. Your athletes will only get hurt because you expose then to inappropriate training loads. If they have a lot of stress going in their life, adjust the training load. If there mechanics are poor, then adjust the training load (until there mechanics improve of course). If they have banged up tissue, adjust the training load. If their joint system isn’t functioning right on that day, adjust the training load. If they have had a long-haul flight two days before, adjust the training load. It doesn’t mean less training. It means using the training options you have in front of you to make sure they survive that particular training day. You have to accept that certain changes are long-term in nature (mechanical, tissue, joint changes) so in the short-term you have to be very smart in the training loads you expose your athletes to whilst you work on resolving the longer term issues.
4. Injuries don’t happen in isolation. As appealing as the ‘black swan’ idea is; in my experience it doesn’t really fit the process of injury occurrence. I read once that significant injuries can be like a light bulb going out. With a light bulb you will always get signs that the light bulb is about to go out. Small flickers happen before the light eventually blows. It is the same with injuries. There are a thousand different signals that the body is not coping. Colds, cramps, ground contact quality changes etc etc. You just have to observant enough to read the signs. You also have to be emotionally removed to allow yourself to accept the signs. Conformational bias and denial can lead to you building a picture you want to see. Don’t be that guy.
5. Healthy joint function is very important in protecting the tissue from overload. In my experience if the joint system is not perfect then the soft tissue will have to take up the slack. This is bad news. This situation reminds me of the butterfly effect or of chaos theory. Small fractions away from optimal joint movement can lead to massive demands placed on the soft tissue.
6. Work constantly on the quality and capacity of your joint system and soft tissue. This is your insurance policy. We are in the business of producing the largest possible forces in the shortest possible times. This is hard and stressful task. Overload will and needs to happen. But conditioned tissue and joints will be able to deal with things much more efficiently than banged up tissue and poor functioning joints.
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