No one wants to be injured. But the longer you compete the greater the chances you'll sustain an injury.
Below are some things you should be doing while you're out.
1) Your Rehab
You'd think this is a given but a lot of Athletes struggle to even do this part. Especially if it's to be done at home.
Just get it done.
As a side note, most of your rehab should be exercises.
Sure, a rub might feel good (and it may have it's place), and those fancy machines might feel like they're doing something but if the majority of your rehab isn't moving, training and exercising it's time to find a new rehab team.
2) Train everything else
Injured limb? It means you have 3 working limbs - train those. Can't train strength? Smash endurance. Have you tried Blood Flow Restriction? If not, chat to your rehab team.
The goal with my Athletes is to come back better conditioned than before.
Possible solutions for work capacity: bikes (stationary, road or Assault), rowers, prowlers, running, circuits, etc.
Possible solutions for strength: machines, dumbbells, body weight exercises, safety bars, elastic bands.
Doesn't matter what it is, just get it done.
3) Attack your Weakness
Depending on your sport and your injuries, this might be the perfect time to make a few improvements.
Analyse your game, get feedback from your Coach and put a plan into practice to return a better Competitor.
Can you work on changing the technical set up in your start? Or get super accurate in your throwing or kicking? Perhaps it's time to see a psychologist, not because you're weak, rather to make the mental aspect your strength!
4) Attend Training
Just because you're injured doesn't mean you shouldn't be going to training.
In fact, for your mental well-being it's probably essential you attend.
But don't just attend 'passively' (that'll just make you annoyed and probably angry). Ask your Coach for definite jobs, a project even.
Perhaps you could take the stats, or run messages, or film training?
At worst, designate yourself the Director of Human Hydration and keep everyone's water bottles filled up.
Be there on the competition days too.
5) Video (Know your Sport)
Whether it's on YouTube, your Parent's phone or your Coach's video analysis watching yourself or the elite of your sport can help with increasing your understanding or inspiring your performance of your sport.
It can also be done with minimal exertion, so good for those initial few weeks of rehab.
6) Coaching Qualification
This can help you in three main ways.
Firstly, it's a good way to get to know and understand your sport better. You might get to understand the WHY behind the WHAT of your training program.
Secondly, it can help prepare you for life after sport. Too many Athletes only think about this at the end of their career when it's too late.
Thirdly, it might be a fantastic way to get paid doing what you love.
7) Mentor a Junior
Remember when you were just starting out and one of the older kids helped you with some encouragement and a handy tip? Well, now is your opportunity to help someone else.
Start off by just watching them train. Build your relationship with them first. Then offer some advice.
If you really want to make a difference go and watch them compete. And give the some feedback at the next training session.
8) Raise money for your Club
Whether it's on competition days or training days, once the duties your Coach gives you are over, spend time in the canteen or offer to sell raffle tickets.
At the bare minimum, it'll remind you to thank all the volunteers for their work that is critical, yet often goes unnoticed.
9) Reflect & Prevent
Sometimes sustaining an injury can be bad luck. Sometimes it can have a definite cause.
Now's the time to find which one it is and prevent it from happening again.
Remember, you're not looking to 'point fingers'; you are looking to learn.
Some possible reasons:
- Sudden increase in training - Always try to build your training slowly and progressively.
- You're getting older - Late 20s? It's probably time to decrease the quantity (and possibly increase the quality) of your training.
- Previous injury - The repercussions hang around a lot longer than the pain of the injury (maybe even for years).
- Fitness v Fatigue - Your training might be great but your recovery (or time off) isn't. Fix it.
Sit down with your Team and have the discussion.
You'll be better for it.
No one wants to get injured but it can create some opportunities that can benefit you in the long run.