As a coach, whether in the Little League or Major League, I bet your focus is on having your team hitting the ball harder, running faster or throwing further, along with improving the overall performance of each player. However, proper training – both mentally and physically – is most paramount for paramount results. Focused and consistent training is specific and progressive towards enhanced performance. Yet, intense training is often not pain-free. There are really only two strategies to help players deal with injuries: don’t make a given injury worse or work to avoid injuries altogether (the latter, easier said than done).
- Pain-free training
There is a common training cliché – no pain no gain. This couldn’t be further from the truth. When a player is injured or hurt, it won’t always be beneficial for them to train through the pain, especially if the injury brings acute pain. If a player is injured, continued training could be delaying their healing process or even damaging their tissues if not done properly. This will, in turn, hurt their performance and will have adverse effects on the team. Players should learn to train and work out around the injured area while following smart PT therapies for the impacted zone.
- Handle old injuries carefully
Players who had been injured previously have a higher chance of getting injured again in the same area. Many players are not aware of this and that is why they get injured when doing a particular movement, heal and then revert to the same movement without changing their routine. Work the injured area slowly, starting with low-intensity exercises. Ensure of following proper techniques while training or working out. In spite of being careful, it doesn’t mean that you should neglect these injury sites. Lack of training will make them weak and even more prone to injury.
- Conditioning workouts
Put simply, the lower the conditioning levels of your players, the faster they will get fatigued. The faster they are fatigued, the faster their technique will whither. And when technique goes array, it often leads to injury. As such, improve on the players’ conditioning levels as it will help fight fatigue and thus steer clear of injury risk.
Sleep also works towards or against natural healing. Studies have shown that teens and adults need to clock in at least 7 hours every night if they are to reduce the risk of injury. When your players get 7 to 9 hours, it will also improve on their baseball performance at multiple levels, including injury risk.
Train hard, but train smart. Follow proper technique, take special care of your previously-injured areas, and remember to get your Zs.