Typically, adult athletes rush to the court, field, or arena after a long day of work or after finally putting the kids to bed. And what entices us to do it? The thrill of the game, a little competition, physical fitness, and a fun break from the normal day to day activities. It’s intramural night and the last thing that you want to do is run suicides, do fast feet or work on your handling. Rather, we want to jump right into the game. BUT when we jump right into the game without doing the ‘work’ first, injuries can occur.
Too often we see injuries with our downtown Toronto office clientele that occur because the one hour of physical activity a week is that Thursday 10 pm basketball game. We think we can just pick up the sport we love just like we could back in our university days. But things have changed: we aren’t in the same shape we used to be in when we took it for granted. We aren’t as strong, flexible or fast and so when we go from desk to the field our mind is usually ahead of our bodies. We lunge for that ball and feel that pop in our knee because our knee caved in or our foot planted but the rest of our body kept moving. The benefit of practices and drills is not just to perform better, but also to make sure our bodies are ready for the game and stay injury-free.
Sport-specific training prescribing exercises are specific to one’s sport and are used to prepare bodies for the movements and demands of a given activity. It might involve karaoke or grapevines for the soccer player, shuttle runs for the rugby player, hopping on one foot with a ball in the hand for basketball, or strapping a theraband to a tennis racket or golf club for the tennis player and golfer. These exercises might seem silly but going from injury back to sport once the pain is gone just isn’t realistic if you wish to prevent this injury from occurring again. Often individuals think once the pain is gone and they’ve done their stretches and isolated strengthening they can go right back into their sport, however, sport-specific training is the intermediate step. Ideally, even after sport-specific training, the adult athlete would ease back into a sport in a more controlled practice setting.
If adults still practiced for their intramural night, they would be in better shape, they would work on skills in a more controlled fashion, and be much less likely to get injured which would lead to playing better too.