As athletes return to training for their sports, one of the key factors that will help them succeed is starting with the basics. For most people, activity levels for the past few months have been relatively lower and less sport-specific, which can lead to deconditioning. For youth athletes, it is possible that they went through a growth spurt, and so need some time to adjust and build back their comfort level with skills they had already mastered.
What does this look like practically?
- Limit the number and duration of training sessions per week initially.
- Build up training time gradually week-to-week. Either add half an hour to each session from the previous week OR add an additional session to the week.
- Start at a basic skill level. Get comfortable just being back on the field or ice and start at a skill level below where you left off.
- Gradually ramp up conditioning. Intense conditioning right from the start could lead to injury, so do not jump straight into fitness testing.
This is an unprecedented situation we are dealing with, which requires a whole new approach. Take the opportunity to work on skills you have not had a chance to and simply enjoy being back to your sport.
Jenna Janadi is a certified Athletic Trainer at Compete Sports Performance and Rehab in Orange County, CA.