For something that has been so eagerly anticipated, the prospect of returning to play ball has been a bit of a let down. I’ve men on to me that are scared out of their minds that as soon as they get back on the pitch their hamstrings are going to tear off the bone such is the conversation around the increased risk of injury.
That conversation has rightly been had, and a glance across the water at the amount of soft tissue injuries in the opening round of Premier League games highlights that this is a real concern. If professionals are pulling up what hope do amateurs have, right?
Well, a lot of that depends on if you’re actually listening to what you’re being told to do.
If you follow the protocols, phase yourself back into high intensity training sessions then you’ll likely not be too far removed from where you’d be physically at the start of any season.
It’s the worry that players will go from zero to 100 overnight – and if that was the case then there’d be lots of potential injury trouble – but if managed sensibly there’s no reason to think we can’t get everyone back out and enjoying their football again.
The risk isn’t going to be over training or the games taking too much out of them, it’s going to be that they’re under recovered.
There’s been a lack of care with nutrition – ie. how players are fuelling themselves pre-training/game (primarily with carbs) and refuelling post session (carbs to refill the fuel stores and protein to help repair the muscles).
The lack of structure through lockdown may have impacted on sleep routines, which is going to be hugely important to optimise how well we recover after each session.
It is the same with hydration, with the increase in energy output through training and games there’ll be a bigger need for more fluids throughout the day which in turn will impact on energy levels, recovery speed and a whole plethora of associated health benefits.
The long and short of it is this, if managed properly behind the scenes – getting your diet, sleep and hydration up to par – and that’s complemented by sensible phasing of training intensity by the player and management – not going from very little training to a massive amount overnight, then you should be fine.
There’ll be an eagerness to get back to conditioned games and high pressure drills as soon as possible, and that will come, just don’t take a short cut to get there or you could be jeopardizing your chances of playing in what could be one of the most enjoyable periods of constant games you’ll ever have!
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