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How to manage Increased Injury Risk due to Lockdowns

2020 was not the year we expected it to be, and unfortunately for many of us in North America, the UK and many other countries around the world, the start of 2021 isn’t shaping up to be much better. Some of us are still locked down, teaching our athletes from a computer screen and doing everything we can to keep the love for our sport alive… and let me tell you - you are all CRUSHING IT! The passion for our sport still stands strong and we can be sure the athletes are going to want to get back into it in full swing as soon as they are able. Today, being that day for some here in Ontario, Canada!

This is exactly what we need to be prepared for. The athletes ARE going to want to jump right back in, but their bodies will not be ready.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t take long to decondition the body which is why an increased number of injuries are not uncommon after breaks. If the athletes are not conditioning appropriately outside of practice, they are going to lose their strength along with their muscle memory.

At a cellular level, the body can start to decondition in as little as 8 days. Noticeable & measurable changes in strength and power will occur in 2-4 weeks. Deconditioning also occurs in ligaments, tendons and bone, further increasing the risk of injury.

After many conversations with gyms owners from all over the world, who were either in lockdown for 8 months, or have had various stages of lockdowns - the common thread was that athletes who trained appropriately at home, using Cheer District or otherwise, came back with skills either close to what they left with, or had even increased their skills. Those that did not train appropriately lost many skills and a significant amount of their power output. If deconditioning can begin in as little as 8 days, imagine what can happen in 8 months.

Dr. Scott designed all the workouts within the Cheer District app which are built to help athletes increase their performance and reduce their risk of injury. That said, you are absolutely able to make your own programs, however, it is important you have a strong understanding of the type of conditioning and training the athletes should be doing based on the physiology of our sport. If you have questions about specific athletes, don’t hesitate to reach out to us personally, we’d be happy to help you.

We also recommend you spend some extra time with the athletes who have lost skills. Start them back at the basics and work them up to the skills they have seem to have lost. When doing this, it is important you are keeping the athletes fatigue levels low in order to help groove their motor patterns properly, this will help with getting their skills back more quickly.

Combining appropriate conditioning with foundational skill building, will be the optimal strategy for getting your athletes back to where they started pre-lock down.

If you are looking for resources for skill drills, our friend Corey Rickett of Spring CDT & Coach at Cheer Sport Sharks has some great drills on his social! (@sharkcoco)

Starting back with the fundamentals isn’t a negative. It will give athletes the ability to not only build up their muscles, but it will help them get back to grooving the appropriate motor patterns. Additionally, it will have the benefit of building the athletes confidence back up. If we jump too quickly back into the skills we were doing before lockdown and the athlete doesn’t have the same confidence, the risk of the athlete developing a mental block is heightened. If you are experiencing increased levels of mental blocks, stay tuned for our video coming soon with Jeff Benson of Mind Body Cheer.

We’re all in this together. Let’s set ourselves up for success!

Send us an email if you need additional information or support!

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