09 Nov 5 Best Tips to Prevent Injuries
Niels van der Linden is Head of Sports Science at JOHAN. Being responsible for the sports scientific development of JOHAN software modules intented for trainers, he is the one who can guide you to a team with high availability of all players.
Today he shares his 5 best tips to prevent injuries.
Tip 1: Know how your players feel
Within professional sports teams it has become common practice to measure the response of players on the training and match load by exertion and recovery questionnaires.
This is an easy, yet very important part of the prevention of injuries. Players fill in these questionnaires through the JOHAN web app (in a few months we will launch a dedicated mobile app for this, see image on the right) by rating their response with ten-point scales.
Exertion is measured directly after the exercise. The ten-point scale ranges from, for example, ‘very easy training’ till ‘very hard training’. Recovery is measured each morning for appetite, sleep quality, fatigue, muscle soreness and mental stress.
Each morning (before the training or a match) you should check the responses of all your players in the team and act upon outliers in the data. A personal talk with appropriate follow-up actions is vital for proper injury prevention.
Tip 2: Always train in the ‘sweet spot’
We believe that it is very important to make sure your training load has a sustainable growth over time. A too steep increase or decrease in the training load leads to a higher injury risk. This theory, also known as ‘acute versus chronic overload’, has been developed by Tim Gabbett and states that:
The acute load (past week) versus chronic load (past 4 weeks) needs to stay within 80% and 130% (also known as the ‘sweet spot’).
So how to put this theorem into practical use?
First step: measure the training load.The training load can be easily quantified by our JOHAN motion trackers. We use the following parameters:
- Total distance
- Sprint distance
- Number of sprints
- Number of accelerations
- Number of decelerations
Each of these parameters has a different influence on your player’s body. How this works will be explained in a later article.
Second step: act when one of these parameters falls out of the ‘sweet spot’ of training load.
For instance: a player is exceeding his allowed sprint meters in a week. Then the training load in the subsequent days should be adapted.
Weekly goals module to monitor the sweet spot for all players
Tip 3: Be ready for the match
To be ready for the match players need to become fit and fresh. This can be achieved by putting the hardest training session 3 days in advance of a match
The trainings in between the hardest training session and match should decrease in size (lower volume, shorter time). However the intensity should remain on match level.
How do we define match intensity? We take the 5 parameters from above and average them over time and include the most intensive minute in a match.
Tip 4: Vary in training exercises over the weeks
It is very important that your players are prepared for every type of load during a match. Therefore, it is also critical that your training contains with varying loads. We have experienced that monotony in combination with hard training sessions leads to a higher chance of injuries. For this reason it is important to vary in:
- Training duration and intensity
- Training exercises
And don’t forget the mental aspect of the players. So, be creative. Take your players to a rugby session once in a while, mix up the defenders with the attackers, let them do a swimming race or a running training on the beach. Besides the practical part (the prevention of injuries), your players will stay stimulated and motivated.
Tip 5: Pay attention to previous injuries
Last but certainly not least is the injury history of your players. A recurrence of a certain injury is a large risk factor, therefore it is important to be aware of this.
A few tips:
- Be aware of the injury history of all of your players
- Adjust training exercises accordingly (consult your fysio or sport scientist)
- Train weak points separately (fitness, yoga, etc.)
- Extra care of your teams with fysiotherapists
- Prevention materials (tape, etc.)