After months at home away from sports, athletes can start to look forward to returning to doing what they love again! As states begin to reopen, sports practices and games are beginning to resume. Many athletes may find themselves excited to return to sports but are they physically ready to jump right back in? These are some considerations for athletes, parents and coaches as they return to sports after this break.
Depending on your sport, you may have been able to continue to practice during quarantine to some extent. On the other hand, some sports require specific equipment and adequate space to practice and train (i.e. gymnastics and swimming.) Due to these requirements, these athletes could not practice as easily during this time. Many teams and gyms provided their athletes with home workouts to maintain strength and conditioning during quarantine. However, this may not be enough for each individual athlete. Without consistent training, tissues may become weakened leading to injuries and more time away from the sport. A strategic approach will help athletes avoid injury, reduce frustration, and effectively and efficiently return the athlete back to training at their previous level.
Just 2-4 weeks off from training can lead to a state of “de-training” in terms of fitness and strength loss. There is an increased risk of acute injuries if the athlete tries to progress too quickly, as well as an increased risk of developing overuse injuries if a gradual increase in training load is not regulated. One benefit to an athlete that may have experienced some pain during their sport was forced rest time. If there were specific movements that were previously painful, athletes should return slowly to those skills to prevent further irritation or injury.
It is normal to feel anxiety, frustration, or stress with a return to practice. Not everyone will feel the same during this time or respond the same. Make sure you speak up to your teammates, your parents and your coaches about how you’re feeling mentally and physically. Your body may feel different during this time after a break from practice. Make sure you set goals for yourself that are realistic, stay positive and have patience, you’ll be back in the swing of things in no time!
If you’re experiencing pain when returning to your sport, reach out to an Athletico clinician to have your pain or injury assessed for free. Assessments are available both in-clinic and virtually through our Telehealth platform.
The Athletico blog is an educational resource written by Athletico employees. Athletico bloggers are licensed professionals who abide by the code of ethics outlined by their respective professional associations. The content published in blog posts represents the opinion of the individual author based on their expertise and experience. The content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied on for making personal health decisions.