Being a member of a team is a rewarding and positive experience. You learn comradery, respect, and how to work together for the greater good of something, something you could not accomplish on your own. Even if you are in a single player sport, you are still a part of a team, from your coaches, support staff, and fans, everyone involved works together to make things happen. This is even true behind the scenes, when everyone else has gone home. Your team of strength and conditioning coaches, physical therapists, and athletic trainers are working together to prepare you, to help you perform, and to help you recover.
These healthcare professionals may seem to work independently of each other, but in reality, the best teams collaborate and work together to share their knowledge and to better serve you and the sports performance and fitness training industry. If you have never experienced working with this part of a team, you are missing out.
Who makes up this part of the team?
Strength and conditioning coaches.
These coaches are the bread and butter to your training and performance. They establish the strength and conditioning program for both the on and off seasons. Goals are created and plans are made to get you there.
Through their detailed planning, you just show up and put the work in. And in doing so, you can rest assured knowing that these knowledgeable coaches are working to help improve your athletic performance, reduce your risk of injury, and to improve your fitness and skill levels. They are there behind the curtain, programming and planning. But they are also there in the gym, or wherever you are training, to ensure you are moving properly, dosing the weight and intensity accurately, and are staying safe and healthy.
Physical therapists are considered movement specialists. They are well trained and highly knowledgeable in the movement mechanics of the body. Physical therapists can work with you for injury prevention or for injury rehabilitation. Not only can they take the time to teach you better ways of moving, but they can also work to help improve your range of motion and strength in areas of your body that may be lacking compared to the other side.
Through a thorough evaluation, they can identify these areas of impairments and help you specifically improve these before they become a bigger issue, causing pain, or putting you at an increased risk of injury.
Athletic trainers are out there with you, on the field or in the gym. They are there for the day to day activities, helping you to stay healthy. These trainers can help with management of injuries, especially with corrective exercise and use of prophylactic equipment, such as braces or tape. On the field they can screen acute injuries, and begin treatment immediately with modalities such as ice, compression, elevation, etc.
Athletic trainers are also great communicators with the team, family, coaches, and other members of the health care team since they are with the athletes on a daily basis.
These 3 different members of the healthcare team are individually and uniquely important. But if you can get all three to work together, your training and performance outcomes can skyrocket.
At Elite Performance Training Systems we utilize all three of these members of the healthcare team to help our athletes grow, succeed, and stay healthy. Together, they can work to help you move to the best of your ability, to optimize your recovery, to keep your whole body strong, mobile, and balanced, and to take stress off of your plate.
Strength and conditioning coaches prepare you, train you, and hone your skills. Physical therapists can step in to make sure individual muscle groups are strong, stable, and moving well. Athletic trainers can help you acutely recover from an injury and keep you healthy and feeling good day to day.
If a strength and conditioning coach notices a lift or exercise that is looking off, they can communicate with the Physical Therapist to find out what can be taught, strengthened, or mobilized to move and work better. The athletic trainer can then work day to day to perform modalities to this area to help it heal properly and then use techniques to brace or protect the area as needed.
This is just one example of how these 3 professions can work together as a team for you and the sports performance and fitness training industry.
Haff, G., & Triplett, N. T. (2016). Essentials of strength training and conditioning. Fourth edition. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.