In my eleven seasons as Head Physiotherapist at Claremont Football Club I have been witness to a number of pre-season programs and along the way I find it very interesting how the ideas and strategies employed at the elite and sub-elite level filter through to amateur clubs. In the clinic we are privy to see a number of patients who come off the summer slog of sinking beers only to be blown up at day one at their local footy club.
With this in mind I thought my first blog would be aimed at those weekend warriors preparing to commit to the hard slog in 2015.
- Preparation and Planning is Key – good pre-season programs aren’t devised on the run. Whilst they have the need for flexibility, most of the S&C coaches have an idea about the levels of workload that they want the group to be achieving along the way and plan a periodised and graduated program weeks ahead of time. The days of creating a program on the fly are well and truly passed us.
- Load Management – The most common tale that presents to Physiotherapy clinics at this time of year is of a young man or woman who has spent the summer toiling in the outfield at their local cricket club or sunning themselves on the beaches down south without even a hint of a roll of the legs and rocking up to day one pre-season for 6x1km time trials. This is a recipe for disaster! Starting with light and controlled sessions and gradually building up will not only create a fit athlete, but one who is injury free. Having weeks which are lighter in load along the way can allow the team to freshen up and consistently perform at their peak.
- Musculoskeletal Screening – one of the tools commonly used at AFL and WAFL clubs is pre-season screening of players to find out areas where injury may be a risk and also to improve performance. These standardised tools have become commonplace and are useful in tailoring individual programs to people and can provide an appropriate re-assessment tool through the course of the pre and regular seasons.
- Performance Testing – the only way to accurately determine how a pre-season program is performing is objective testing. Devise a couple of simple tests to monitor the strength, fitness and endurance of your athletes and repeat them periodically across the pre-season. If nothing else it creates a drive to continually better yourself.
- Recovery – the most important trait in professional athletes is their ability to recover and train the muscles again. Suffering from DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) or tightness following a session impedes your ability to train again. Recovery, whether it a be a trip to the beach, a walk in the pool or a good stretching session is extremely important in getting the most out of a pre-season program.
Good luck to all the Weekend Warriors preparing for the tough winter sporting months and remember if you need a hand with your pre-season program, for a Physiotherapy guided musculoskeletal screen or to stop those niggling injury woes give us a call on (08) 9384 3269 or book online.