For many decades, it’s been conventional practice that the INJURY takes centre stage.
The complexities of the language and treatment protocols are enough to strike fear into the heart of anyone suffering, or coaching someone who is suffering.
Does that sound a bit dramatic? Good.
Let’s say you’re a runner who’s been managing your nagging knee pain for a few months before you go to see a medical professional about it. They diagnose you with IT Band Syndrome.
Until you had a name for that pain, you were happy to deal with it yourself, trusting that you knew when you’d done too much and how to move to avoid the pain.
But now there’s a name.
You have a “syndrome”.
Now you don’t know if what you’ve been doing was “right” or not, so because you’re scared of making the problem worse, you wait until a health or medical professional tells you what to do about it.
It’s this lack of understanding that’s been called a “barrier to entry” – i.e. the subject is made to seem so complex that it stops people getting involved.
By giving your pain a title, you’re immediately made to think that you don’t know enough and it makes you rely on the professional in the medical/health industry to fix it for you.
Exactly the same can be said for coaches.
Let’s imagine that you’re the coach of the runner who’s been suffering with knee pain. You’ve been adapting their training plan to avoid the pain, changing their regime to include any exercise that helps them keep the fitness gains while not irritating the pain.
As a coach, it’s not your responsibility to “fix” the pain – and nor should it be (unless you’re a specialist instructor who’s certified to get more involved). All you can do is simply avoid the pain and if you get any recommendations from the medical/health professional involved, you can implement those.
Other than that, there’s nothing you can do, otherwise you risk hurting the athlete more, and being sued. And again, you’re relying on someone else to “fix” your athlete before you can carry on with your job.
It’s a whole bunch of waiting, disjointed communication and frustration on everyone’s part.
The athlete just wants to get back to training, the coach wants to be able to put their plans into action to help the athlete achieve their goals, and the therapist wants to be able to do more to speed the process up to get the athlete back to training as soon as possible – but they’re limited to seeing the athlete once a week if they’re lucky.
Having been involved at every stage of this process at various times (and for many years) in my life, I know that this process is far from ideal.
That’s why I’m determined to change it.
Movement is the lynchpin that holds these three inputs together and when the MOVEMENT is put at the forefront, the gaps in the process disappear.
With a specific plan to follow, you as an athlete can be doing something constructive in between therapy appointments – which helps you to feel useful, valued and included in the process. You’ll learn the nuances of where your body feels restricted which guides the therapist, reducing the time it would take for them to discover that for themselves. You’ll also be keeping your joints open and moving in a way that helps their treatment to last longer which reduces how much they have to repeat at the start of a session.
In addition to that, you’ll also be strengthening the muscles in a way that prevents the issue from returning in the future.
(Did you know that tight Hip Flexors are a significant contributor to IT Band Syndrome? Get access to my FREE Hip Flexors 5 Ways Video and much more below…)
As a coach, having the skills to build your sessions around keeping joints open and moving, while at the same time delivering the requirements of your sport gives your athletes the opportunity to reduce the amount of muscle tightness in their bodies in every single session.
Since it’s muscle tightness that causes pain in the first place, having this opportunity to move in different ways helps ALL your athletes to avoid injury, and can even help those already struggling, without you having to know ANYTHING about their particular issue.
Knowing that their coach has injury prevention skills gives both the injured athlete and their therapist confidence to include training back into their rehab plan as the training is more likely to complement the treatment than hinder it, helping the coach to feel included, valued and helpful in the process.
(Develop those skills with the SMARTT® Coach Certification course)
Many therapists are very good at the hands on side of their treatment, but can sometimes struggle to translate what they’re feeling on the table into movement. This missing knowledge can be a source of frustration for coaches and athletes as this restricts their participation in the process. It’s also quite frustrating as a therapist if you can’t access certain muscles due to depth or sub-conscious resistance from the patient. Movement is the one thing that can access EVERYWHERE on the body and is completely non-invasive.
Having the skills to translate detailed anatomy knowledge into movement is a simple and effective way to fast track treatment, engage patients in their own treatment and by-pass sticking points quickly.
These skills also improve communication between all parties involved.
(Recommended Resource: SMARTT® Therapy courses coming soon)
If we put MOVEMENT at the forefront of our practice, we develop a much more inclusive, cohesive process, with each person involved equally, actively helping the others, regardless of their level of knowledge.
If we put INJURY at the forefront we create a disjointed, frustrating process that relies on ONE person having all the answers.
As the saying goes, “two heads are better than one”