Reducing injuries through good programming
Reducing injuries through programming
This blog was originally an email sent out to technical coaches with a goal to initiate the thought process for planning ahead as part of the physical-technical-tactical crossover. It started off quite short and sweet and ended up as a fair sized rant! I composed it on my iphone sitting in bed thinking about a few things but it was intended to be understandable and take into consideration multiple sports from development through to high performance.
Be great to get your feedback on it so please do let me know your thoughts be they good/bad/indifferent 🙂
From my point of view as an s&c coach the best way to reduce injuries is through effective planning. It’s easy for me to say as this is a big part of my education process but it doesn’t matter how fit, strong, flexible etc our athletes are, if they are competing when they’re tired it’s an injury waiting to happen! Yes it’s impossible to be fresh all the time especially when you train hard, but there are some steps that can be taken to optimise the preparation.
With that being said here are some key points when it comes to reducing injuries through planning:
– The best way to get injured is by competing in a fatigued state, the body fails! : nuff said!
– To combat this recovery around games is key especially with multiple games per week, so stress mobility work, foam rolling etc, but the main form of recovery is rest, nutrition and sleep so stress this first and foremost! late finishes and early starts don’t mix well.
– NEVER increase volume and intensity together PLAN to get to a specific point of readiness progressively. E..g peak fitness by 1st October therefore hard training competed by 15th September (2 week lag time).
– What is volume? What is intensity? Speed/power/skill based activities are intensity based activities, volume based is more brainless e.g. slower longer work with no/minimal thought process. Limiting the duration is the best way to control volume.
Skill based with an endurance component e.g skill based games with shuttle runs/burpees etc is highly intensive and done for longer durations is extremely fatiguing. This type of session should be done in heavy and very heavy weeks and not in light or medium weeks.
– If you want players to be sharp then plan to taper them off for at least a week before you want them to be sharp! A taper does not mean resting though. On the contrary you can work the players as hard as they have been working, not any harder, just take out the volume. It is research proven that maintaining the same intensity whilst significantly (50%) dropping the volume (duration) of the activities. Just cut out the fluff in the taper period!
– Longer seasons with loads of games the endurance sessions just need to be short and intense to get that quality OR for pure aerobic development can be longer but very low intensity eg 3-4/10 difficulty. Anything in the middle can lead to burnout and/or injuries. This will maintain fitness. Physical training doesn’t have to hurt to make you better.
– Is it better to have a really fit squad with a few Injuries caused by hard intense training who are on the edge at all times or a healthy squad with no injuries who may be as a level not quite as high? This is a genuine question, at the Giants it was the former but clearly it depends on your squad numbers, competition level in the league etc, your philosophy as a coach.
-From a physiological perspective there seems to be a lag time of 2-3 weeks for most athletes before the adaptations/injuries occur therefore work needs to be done in advance of when they need it. There is absolutely no point trying to get fitter a week or 10 days before a competition. Do this work further out then taper off and work quality. For me in the gym this will be power and speed stuff with some reps of heavy strength.
– Overload progressively- use a 3-5:1 model with a significant deload in volume in the 4th or 6th week which will be duration predominantly, not intensity. The uni terms fit into 2x 6 weekly blocks(5:1) just about but for those of you who get back early to train it may be better to work in 4 weekly blocks. It is a fundamental in s&c to have deload weeks or phases. Sometimes it’s not always needed and it’s easy to not do it at times as you think the athletes are fine. But injuries will happen if not.
The weeks building up to the deload Ideally need to be progressively overloaded. So we use a medium-heavy-very heavy-light format. This should be an overall loading including technical, endurance, strength.
– Consider the overall programme not just the technical programme eg weights and endurance work. As I mentioned the loading in the weights room/agility etc as well as the technical side.
– Regular meetings with support staff (weekly/fortnightly pre arranged meeting) to work through the specifics of the programme. Is this realistic? Yes this is extra work but it’s worth it.
– Can a year 1 trainee be expected to undergo the same programme as a year 3,4 or 5 trainee? This happens too much. They want to do it to get into the team but really have no foundations to work from. First year should be learning to train or highly skilled players should go on a lower volume programme if they will feature in most/all games.
– I would recommend that you consider measuring the volume load of your programme and put it into the 3:1 format with a deload week.
Here’s how you can do it (apologies for the Maths it’s an s&c thing we like to come across as intelligent!:)
Use an RPE (rate of perceived exertion) scale for your sessions. 1=extremely easy, 5= average, 10=very very hard.
Grade the components of your programme on this scale eg basic skill work 4/10, hard endurance work 8.5/10, really tough skill/endurance sessions 9.5/10, strength work is generally 7-8/10.
Multiply the RPE by the duration to give an overall training impulse (TRIMP) figure. Use this to control the loading in the 3:1 format eg heavy might be 4000 units per week light might be 1000.
Get players feedback on the RPE, eg of you planned it at 4/10 but they say 7/10 this massively affects the loading plan.
Deload weeks should be half or less of the very heavy week.
That’s all for now time for some sleep!
What do you guys think?
Do these points get considered in your programmes? If not why not? What else do you take into account with your programmes?