Training with Injuries: Build your network and your relationships

To be honest i’m sure what I want to write here.

I want to tell you that injuries are opportunities to train other areas…..

I want to tell you that there’s always something you can do in terms of training when you have an injury…..

Something that can make you a better athlete (or coach)…..

Truth is, these statements are all true and I believe wholeheartedly in them, I advocate these principles with my athletes and clients and 100% encourage you to do the same…..

But there is a deeper issue to be aware of.

Injuries are tough psychologically……very tough!

I’ve just had a minor elbow injury (golfers elbow/medial elbow pain) and it was really debilitating as I couldn’t get much done without aggravating the injury. Now using the principles above I could certainly adapt my training around the injury. I did some sprinting, some lower body, bodyweight stuff and I did make an attempt to get some work done. But it was tough mentally as I wanted to lift and keep my muscle mass high (as high as it usually is anyway) which is always a problem for me.

So 3 weeks later and I’ve lost about 3kg in total. This is not a good thing for me. Yes i’m reasonably lean but I know I’m going to have to really graft to get that 3-4 kg back on when I recover. Very annoying.

So I’ve had 3 weeks of being very normal in terms of activity levels, 3 weeks of being fed up, 3 weeks of moderate detraining, and also 3 weeks to think about my training from next week (and get frustrated).

So how can we make things easier for our athletes when their injured? Or how can we do things better as coaches/athletes ourselves?

I love the phrase ‘injuries are opportunities to train other areas’ ( I think it was Bill Knowles who came up with this).

But I think when it comes to coaching our athletes we need to follow another principle:

‘Injuries are times to build relationships’.

By this I mean that our athletes need us to keep them motivated EVEN more than normal during these times. Our service needs to be EVEN better than normal, we cannot just forget about them or leave it to the medical staff.

As little as a text every other day is a start.

How about a phone call and a core training circuit to do with us the next day?

These things make a difference when it comes to motivation and preventing de-training, BIG TIME.

Make the effort to make things happen.

My personal strategy?

As a coach this is where I think enlisting the help of another coach is key. Get someone to write you a programme up that you can follow with some reinforcement and make some gains. Thats what i’m going to do.

Coaches make things happen faster, with better quality development, that’s what we do.

Enlist the help of your network.

Enough Rambling,

Get training and get better….




  1. Ed Drysdale October 3, 2012 at 11:48 am


    I Can empathize completely. I ruptured a tendon in my finger at work, which required surgery. So no combat sports and heavy resistance for 16 weeks. No running 8 weeks. Can’t do anything with the hand except my specific physio for 6 weeks. This is reinforced by me wearing an extra big plaster cast designed to stop me using my hand. It works.
    So what do I do. I’ve tried to keep my sessions at the same times but modified them. Strength session I’ve tried to do heavy leg pressing, thinking it may preserve some strength and produce testosterone and gh. I can still single leg pistol squat with weighted vest and chains for increased resistance. Ham raises and1 lrdl.
    Aerobic and anerobic work has been done on a stationary bike. I’ve been able to do my core work without to much change. Neck and calve work has been afforded extra attention which is good. My skill sessions now revolve around watching instructionals at exactly the same time my team mates are training. I supplement this with drilling movements I can. The injurie has given me the time to go back to doing a bit more striking training ie foot work, head movement, left hand and kicking.

    It certainly helps not being forgotten about by your coaches and training partners. I’ve found this injurie tough going, as I’ve felt really good in myself but so restricted.

    When I was faced with 16 weeks off I was gutted and this was made worse when after 10 weeks post surgery I ‘re ruptured my tendon tripping up some steps. 16 weeks is now 26weeks. Although extremely upset I have a modified training schedule already written that I can follow.

    I hope that this sits alongside what you are saying mate and like you said you can nearly always do something. For health enjoyment and so you don’t lose all fitness.

    Cheers Ed

  2. Brendan Chaplin October 4, 2012 at 7:17 am

    Top man Ed Yep I know all about your previous injuries don’t I! They are tough times, and like you say you do need people to keep you going with greater focus at times!
    Thanks for the comment mate 🙂