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If you’re a sports or fitness coach who wants to be confident handling existing injury problems in your sessions without having to become an injury specialist or therapist, then you need to keep reading.

Tip #1 – Therapists Are Not The Top Of The Food Chain

Coaches have been led to believe that therapists and medical professionals are “above” them because they know more about injuries than we do but the reality is that they are the beginning of the end of the process.

Pain doesn’t happen by chance but the system makes us waits for the pain before taking action and our society is fuelled by the attitude that it’s someone else’s job to fix that pain for us.

Both public and private healthcare services are overwhelmed by people who are relying on someone else to “fix” their pain

“51% of people surveyed with MSK [musculoskeletal] conditions feel like they cannot do anything themselves to lessen the impact of their condition on their lives”

Versus Arthritis (2021)

… but that’s too late.

Sports and fitness coaches are in a unique position when it comes to sports injuries. We are the only people who can see problems before they become pain.

And while a small percentage of coaches WANT to learn about injuries in more detail – most don’t… but they do want to help the people in their sessions with their existing problems

77% of people surveyed with MSK conditions said they wanted practical tips and support about activity and pain management so they can be more physically active

Versus Arthritis (2021)

We all know that being more physically active helps with pain management and mental health – but the vast majority of coaches don’t have any interest in learning about injury problems.

That’s why our most powerful contributions to injury management as coaches doesn’t come from learning more about injuries themselves – it comes from intervention BEFORE the pain comes (and other ways that I’ll get to in a minute)

So, if we think of coaches contribution BEFORE the pain and therapists AFTER it’s easy to see how we can complement each other.

And it’s easy to see how both sides of the same problem are equally as valuable.

Tip #2 – We Are Similar, But So Very Different

I’ve been around the block when it comes to injuries – I’ve seen all sides over the last 20 years.

I’ve had injuries myself (including long-term pain), I’ve coached people with injury problems as a specialist trainer and I’ve treated people on the table with injury problems as a soft-tissue therapist.

If there’s one thing that I know for sure from all that experience, it’s that coaches and therapists are both naturally very caring groups of people. They both just want to help.

And it’s really important to remember that we’re on the same side!

But somehow, whether it was intentional or not, coaches can be made to feel like they’re not good enough when it comes to injuries.

This stems from the comparison of academic learning that both groups have done, but if we always judge coaches ability/credibility by their knowledge of injury and anatomy, the majority of coaches won’t come across very well.

But there’s a HUGE opportunity for coaches to shine when it comes to dealing with the GENERALITY of joint movement.

With the exception of collision injuries (whether with the ground, someone or something else), the majority of sporting injuries (itis’ and syndromes, pulls and strains) come about from a restriction of joint movement somewhere in the body.

Therapists and specialist coaches will dive into the specifics of the site of the pain, but that’s not the average coach’s job.

Instead we can focus on improving the joint movement through the rest of the body, which is both non-painful and helpful in reducing the strain on the painful area

Again, if therapists and specialist coaches focus on the SPECIFICS of joint movement and the average coach focuses on the GENERAL we can see how each job is complementary, supportive and valuable

Tip #3 – Every Coach Can Help

You don’t even need to be a qualified coach to be able to help!

The world is full of super generous, helpful and valuable assistant coaches – the majority of whom give their time freely to help out with sports clubs, events and community organisations

And these are sometimes the people who are in the best position to spot potential issues while the coach is busy dealing with the whole group.

It is widely recognised that emotional and physical stress are the leading risk factors for injury (along with previous injury) and the human body has some cool little quirks that are tell tale signs for this stress

As coaches, we don’t need to know whether the cause of the stress is emotional of physical, we just need to be able to identify the signs, like standing with arms crossed over the chest, knuckle cracking, fiddling with a ring or necklace.

Nobody needs a degree in anatomy to be able to spot those!

And the coolest thing of all is that these signs are there whether your people have pain or not!

So, here are the main points I’d like you to take away from this injury hacking article:

  1. If you think that you can’t get involved with helping the people in your sessions with their existing injury problems, you’re getting in your own way – and doing a complete disservice to the people you say you want to help.
  2. Your contribution in the ways I’ve outlined in this article are valuable with people who have existing pain AND preventing injuries for everyone else
  3. Stop comparing yourself to what the medical professionals and specialist trainers can do to help, and start acknowledging that your difference is your brilliance!

The big idea here is that you CAN be confident handing existing injury problems without having to become an injury specialist or therapist.

Now, if you’re a sports or fitness coach who is serious about wanting to put this whole process on steroids, I’d like to invite you to discover the huge opportunities that lie ahead for you at so you can be confident coaching people with existing injury fast… without having to become an injury specialist or therapist!

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