Physical preparation is very important to enhance the well-being of an athlete and to ensure that it keeps the players fit and injury free during a long season of sport. Physical preparation involves ensuring the body is prepared for an activity that it is to be involved in. Proper physical preparation is a major aspect in the prevention of sports injuries. There are many ways that a coach of a sports team can utilise physical preparation to enhance the wellbeing of the players.
The preparation techniques include; conducting pre-screening, promoting particular skills and techniques that are required, developing physical fitness and following sufficient warm-up, stretching and cool-down procedures. Pre-screening is the first step to physical preparation for a sport or some sort of physical activity. It is an important preventative measure that is to be done before beginning an exercise. Pre-screening is done so that the coach/head person can determine the athlete’s current fitness level, goals and also to become familiar with the athlete’s medical history.
This source of physical preparation is usually completed prior to joining a team sport e. g. Basketball, soccer, cricket, boxing and so on. It is also completed when joining a fitness club/organisation such as; a gym, aerobics, water aerobics, zumba and so on. Pre-screening allows exercise programs to be modified to the needs of the individual and with pre-screening being done, the coach will be able to know whats going on with each player because he will know the individuals medical history, health status, previous experience in physical activity and what their aiming to achieve.
It will help the coach to know where the players’ weakness and strengths are, and what areas they’re struggling with. The next physical preparation method is skill and technique. Many sports injuries occur due to poor skill or technique. To ensure that athletes remain fit and active with no injury, the coach of the sports club needs to encourage appropriate skill and correct technique. The coach is responsible to ensure that the players they’re in charge of are capable with the basic skills of the game, especially those relevant to self-protection. Poor skill and technique could cause major injuries to an individual, e.
g. a soccer player who is constantly running/jogging across the field and doesn’t wear appropriate footwear; it will cause them to have stress fractures in the foot. If the coach encourages the players to wear appropriate footwear and safety equipment, along with learning the basic competent skills, then it will keep players injury-free during the long season. With this technique, the coach needs to be aware of other certain conditions and situations that may be hard to avoid and will need to modify the game location or other aspects affecting it such as wet conditions and slippery surfaces.
The coach has a very important role to play in ensuring the safe movement of the athlete through the different stages of learning a skill. Another main important aspect of physical preparation is being physically active. The coach and players can work together and prevent injuries by placing special importance on developing the physical components specific to their activities. For example, a netballer needs to work on their speed, agility, coordination and strength in the legs. To develop their physical fitness level, the coach needs to do intense training sessions with the players to build their physical component skills.
Coaches also have other things to be looking out for such as individuals who need specific physical preparation for various reasons which include; a previous injury, a medical condition, a disability, an identified personal playing weakness. Coaches and trainers need to be aware of these individual needs, and must provide for these differences in their physical preparation programs. For e. g. if a tennis player has a tennis elbow, you will have to work around them to not make it worse. One other physical preparation technique that is highly significant is ‘Warm-up, stretching and cool-down’.
A warm-up prior to starting any physical activity prepares and heats your body up for physical training or competition. The coach should ensure that the warm-up routine focuses on the muscles and movements relevant to the activity. Also the coach should ensure that the warm-up period should last between 20 and 35 minutes. It is very important to encourage a warm-up routine before a physical activity to prevent injuries. This is done by increasing body and muscle temperature, stretch ligaments and muscles to allow greater flexibility.
After a basic warm-up, the coach must make sure of a stretching routine for 10-15 minutes. If stretching is done properly, it will outcome in increased length of muscle, reduce muscle tension, increase blood circulation and improve joint movement. When stretching, the coach should encourage both the two types of stretching which are static and PNF stretching to get the best results. Then the final 10-15 minutes of the warm-up, the coach should involve more intense exercises such as sharp sprints, agility movements, modified games and skill/technique drills.
For e. g. in soccer, it would be appropriate to do a dribbling activity. Finally, a cool-down routine is critical in physical preparation. Reason for this being, a cool-down is to help the body to change from the intense activity back to a normal state. A coach should ensure that a cool-down routine is followed after any physical activity because it will reduce muscle soreness and tightness and that will allow the athlete to recover more quickly. The coach should make the cool-down routine run for 2 minutes of jogging followed by 3-5 minutes of walking.
A coach needs to obey and follow all the areas of physical preparation to keep his players injury-free for long seasons and thoroughly prepared to perform to their best of their ability. To get the best outcome possible, the coach will have to encourage each of these areas and to do it properly. All the above aspects are all as important as each other. You can’t do some and ignore the others, to be physically prepared and hope for no un-necessary injuries, you have to perform all the components required of physical preparation; otherwise you will develop injuries that could have been prevented.