MLB Spring training is upon us. All of the spring sport athletes will ramp up their workouts to prep for the upcoming season. All of the HS and college athletes will be doing the same. Keep this in mind: the body is the most vulnerable during rapid increases in activity and demand.
Coaches want to practice really hard as the season begins. Right after try-outs, they want 100% effort daily for multiple hours. They are tired of kids at other sports, at try-outs, and at outside distractions. They finally have their team, it is in season, and they are doing what they love the best.
Then why do I see a big increase in patient visits right after the beginning of pre-season practices? An increase in activity means more joint pain, tendonitis, sprains, strains, delayed onset muscle soreness, and other repetition based injuries. Coaches may want to resist the urge to hit the ground running. If you lose practice time to nagging injuries, you won’t be helping your team get better.
There are always off season conditioning sessions but these are never intense as real practices with competition, uniforms, position battles, and lights. This is just as practice is never as intense as a game, no matter what you do.
Gradual increases in intensity is therefore prudent. This goes for warm ups, drills, scrimmaging, and conditioning. Do more mental reps early. There is a reason the NFL now limits two-a-days. Take the hint. Consult with a sports physical therapist who can help with injury prevention and appropriate ramping of activity. This is part of a cohesive coaching unit to help your team. This goes for athletes, parents, and coaches.
Do not spend your pre-season treating shin splints and shoulder tendonitis. Call me today!!!
Kash Eagleton, DPT, SCS
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Board Certified Sports Physical Therapy Specialist