When working with sports teams, you meet a mixture of people working within the management and administration of the club/county. As it is still firmly an amateur organisation, the clubs and counties still rely heavily on the volunteerism that has built the foundation of the GAA, and please God may this never change! These people have a mixture of skills and experiences that make the GAA so unique to our country and culture. Everyone has different backgrounds that make trying to mesh an amateur ethos and drive with the professional demands needed to compete at inter-county and club levels easier. And yes, not only are inter-county setups extremely professional, a lot of clubs are following closely. Managers and coaches are extremely ambitious nowadays and want to create the most professional setups in the country.
And so often Physiotherapists, Strength and Conditioning Coaches and other related professionals are greeted with a mixed reaction within different setups, depending on people’s past experiences. Some are lauded as essential and necessary for continued success on the pitch, while some are greeted with a mixture of suspicion at our role within the team. We have all been in that situation, when you meet a coach or manager who doesn’t understand what your skillset involves, what you can do to help a team succeed. Physiotherapists are seen as giving out “rubs” and S & C professionals are seen as “doing the gym”. And while these may have been our role historically, we have moved on well from this! We have greater skillsets than this and we can heavily influence both the welfare and performance of the athletes we come in contact with.
And so like any profession I believe we should justify our roles within these groups:
  • Are we addressing intrinsic/extrinsic factors that may influence injury risk?
  • Are we putting in injury prevention programmes that have been proven to reduce rate of injuries?
  • Do we use the most up to date methods of preparing our players for their performance demands?
  • Are we continually up-skilling and increasing our knowledge?
  • Are we educating the people who make the important decisions on best practices?
These are all questions that we should be continually asking ourselves when working in these environments. So how do we justify our role first and foremost? What is the one thing every coach and manager puts the most weight on when making decisions? What can they not ignore. They are all striving for the same thing.
Success.
And while talent is important.
We know that team success is heavily influenced by player availability.
In this study by Hagglund et al. (2013) they looked at the injury incidence and injury burden on performance measures in soccer. What made this study unique is that the clubs that participated included the likes of Barcelona, Manchester Utd etc. So massive clubs at the elite level! And over an 11 year period they found that a team that had both decreased injury rates and injury severity compared with the preceding season had a statistically better chance of improved team performance, based on final league standing and league points per match. This is massively important!
The study concluded that the “association between injuries and performance is probably one of the most important messages to convey to management and coaching staff, as well as to other stakeholders in clubs, in order to continue to improve medical services for the players and to increase efforts to prevent injuries”.
Therefore, while we can’t prevent every injury, there is no magic bullet! We can use the best of our knowledge and our understanding of the science out there, how to put in programmes to help reduce the injury risk.
Read the data out there. Collect your own data. React to the data if needed.
Put into place some high quality injury reduction programmes.
Work as a team within the medical and performance department.
Help each other. Don’t let egos clash.
You should have a common goal. Work together to make it happen.
Thomas Divilly
Chartered Physiotherapist, MISCP, CSCS

Paralympic Football World Cup 2015

Back in June, SPI Physiotherapist Thomas Divilly travelled to England for two weeks to assist the Irish Paralympic Football Team at the Cerebral Palsy Football World Cup

Here’s a short piece on his experience during the tournament with the team.

‘I had the privilege of working as the Physiotherapist to the Irish Paralympic Football Team as they competed in the Cerebral Palsy Football World Cup in St. George’s Park, home of the England FA. There was a huge prize on offer for the guys. Qualification for the Paralympic Game in Rio 2016. And boy did they deliver!

The George's Park Dressing Room
The St. George’s Park Dressing Room

It was a hugely successful campaign as the team finished 6th overall.  Defeating Portugal, Australia and Argentina en route to a qualification spot. I was personally able to help keeping the guys fit and healthy throughout the tournament. We  finished the competition with a strong and healthy squad, just as we had started.

The George's Park Gym Facility.
The George’s Park Gym Facility.

Key components to achieving a fit and healthy squad throughout the two weeks of intense competition was implementing a good recovery system. This was achieved through proper nutrition & hydration, mobility work and pool sessions to keep the players in top condition.

I’m already looking forward to seeing the guys learn from this invaluable experience and push on to bigger and better things!’

Thomas


Group Training

Group training is perfect if you want to share the cost of your training, fix injuries and offload some degree of fat.

Remember the difference between us and the rest is that all our sessions are supervised by Chartered Physiotherapists, meaning we can fix and avoid injuries whilst kicking butt and getting you fit.

Check out our video below to get a feel of the SPI difference.

 

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