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We have noticed a problem here at GP and it’s likely a problem many others in the sports performance industry have also observed. The problem I am speaking of is rooted in the disunity that exists among specialists involved in the preparation, rehabilitation, and regeneration of athletes. From experience, I’m specifically speaking to the working relationship amongst coaches and physical medicine professionals, such as chiropractors and physiotherapists.
There are coaches who specialize in the physical preparation of athletes while others specialize in technical sport skill development. In the physical medicine world, there are professionals specializing across a broad range of rehabilitative, orthopedic, neuromuscular, manual therapy, and manipulative therapy services. The disunity seems to stem from a lack of communication and understanding as to why specific approaches or services are being provided by specialists involved with an athlete. We have heard similar stories from a number of our new athletes when they speak of previous experiences.
Commonly, the story sounds a little something like this:
Athlete X is being trained by Coach A for physical preparation purposes while also receiving private, sport skill development lessons from Coach B. Keep in mind that Athlete X underwent surgery at the end of their competitive season to repair an injury and has been seeing Therapist C for rehabilitative care. In addition to post-surgical rehabilitation, they also visit Therapist D for chiropractic and manual therapy services such as Active Release, Graston, or massage services.
Now while this may appear to be all well and good, the problem exists in that each individual specialist often has little to no understanding in regards to either the specific work loads or therapeutic interventions being made by the others, resulting in a collective degree of stress placed on the athlete far greater than any specialist is aware of because nobody is on the same page. All the while, Athlete X is either failing to progress in their rehabilitation, consistently dealing with the same nagging aches and pains, or is having inconsistent training sessions.
More In Common Than We Realize
Physical preparation of athletes, sport skill development, and rehabilitative/manual therapy share a common bond and that is the restoration or optimization of movement.
In athletics, the improvement of both sport skills and physical abilities is without question directly related to the systematic planning and organization of developmental protocols. Often these developmental protocols aim to improve qualities such as strength, speed, skill, stamina, suppleness (flexibility), and postural control as they relate to an athlete’s sport(s) of participation.
In the world of physical medicine (manual therapy, chiropractic, rehabilitation), protocols are utilized to promote the restoration, regeneration and recovery of the body’s nervous system and tissues, improve postural balance and control, and aid in the reduction of repetitive injury patterns.
Clearly, efficient movement and postural control should be of importance to coaches, therapists, and athletes alike. Efficient movement mechanics and their respective postures are dependent upon the balance and control of the body’s movement system. The movement system consists of over 200 bones, around 600 muscles, and a seemingly endless network of fascia and connective tissue. This system is monitored and controlled by a sophisticated network of proprioceptors or sensors, which serve as our brain’s guide for learning, establishing, and maintaining correct posture and movement.
Postural Training Considerations
Correct posture, as it relates to dynamic sport skill execution, is essential to athletic success. Posture is not just a static concept, associated only with sitting or standing. Posture is dynamic and must be thought of accordingly. Poor dynamic postural control will influence the development of biomotor abilities such as flexibility, coordination, strength, speed, and any combination of the previously mentioned.
Considering poor dynamic postural control is a recurring theme among many of our clients and athletes, the training and teaching philosophy at GP allows us to focus on postural improvements. This is accomplished through activities and drills that enhance the ability to hold correct postures and positions, promoting the directional strength needed for ideal force application by reducing muscular imbalances and biomechanical weaknesses. We introduce developmental posture drills in our training programs, since athletes who learn ideal postures during simple motor tasks will lay the foundation for more rapid mastery of increasingly complex motor skills while providing the long-term benefit of reduced risk of repetitive injury.
These developmental posture drills are limited only by knowledge of kinesiological principles as they relate to sport dynamics and one’s imagination. As dynamic postural control improves, the result is more advanced movement skills. Similar to any other biomotor ability, when planning for postural control drills in the training schedule, the volume, intensity, frequency, and work to rest ratios will be influenced by factors such as training age, time of the season, medical/injury history considerations, and skill/ability parameters.
Coaches and therapists would mutually benefit to be on the same page since the goal of any physical preparatory program, including the integration of rehabilitative or regenerative protocols when required, is nothing more than movement preparation based upon the evaluation of sport requirements. GP’s approach to physical preparation accounts for an inclusive approach when addressing proper movement. Our inclusive approach accounts for what is seen by the “eye” of the coach or therapist and allows us to adapt developmental protocols as needed. We do our best to account for all stressors each athlete is exposed to during a training week as well as over the course of a training cycle. We want to know when and how often they are working with other sport skill instructors and physical medicine professionals. We make our specific considerations for each athlete’s training not just based on their needs, but also on other factors such as outside workloads from practice, competition, skill development, and additional forms of therapy. If needed, we will consult with the other professionals involved in order to keep the athlete’s best interest in mind.
At GP, as physical medicine professionals and performance coaches, we are able to stay on the same page and promote a more seamless transition for our athletes as they progress through specific phases of training and/or therapy. Similar to other high-performance training centers, GP’s approach places a primary importance on feedback and communication between coach, therapist, and athlete to ensure quality and consistency in our services.
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