Updated: Mar 4, 2020
I am sure that you will agree with me when I say that being a Sports Therapist at any level requires a large commitment of time and effort.
Being a Sports Therapist in elite sport is hard.
Even though it can be particularly difficult at times, it doesn't have to be that hard if you utilise the following three steps to improve your success as a practitioner.
In this blog I am going to talk you through the three steps that I found the most useful when working in high performance environments and still use today when consulting with teams and players.
If you want to find out more then read on...
Imagine that you could take (some of) the stress out of these highly pressurised environments and continue to enjoy the role you have within your medical department. You would be able to work with players under less pressure and have more time on your hands to deal with the most important aspects of your job.
Right now you are probably operating without these measures.
Sometimes in sport there is a misunderstanding about what is required, the players who are available, how long a player will be out for or when you are due to leave for a fixture. Communication meetings with all key staff present are vital to ensure that the smooth running of a team or club. The meetings seem to be most effective once per week in my experience, however twice per week does allow you an additional opportunity to iron-out and discuss all the relevant forthcoming aspects and any deal with issues that may have been raised. The timing of these meetings should be protected, even in busy periods (they are probably more valuable during this time!).
Whether it is communication with a coach, a player, the medical team or the manager, so much information can be lost in poor communication. I can remember times when I didn't 'close the loop' while communicating with colleagues and players. It was a lesson that I learnt quickly... I would inform a player of what he was meant to do, then talk to the coach; but I would then be so busy with another task that I would inadvertently forget to tell the strength and conditioning coach that the player wouldn't be attending their session, or the driver that the player may be 15 minutes late as they would need to do some further rehabilitation, or the canteen that they would need to save some food as the player was receiving treatment. Closing the loop is a way of ensuring that you have taken a holistic view to player welfare while ensuring that all parties were informed of the changes in the players schedule.
Saving the best until last...
Time is so valuable in the elite sports environment, with one of the hardest aspects being the maintenance of continuous professional development. I used to have a niggle in the back of my mind that I wanted to do more reading, find out more about injuries, keep up to date with the latest in treatment and rehabilitation... but time just wasn't on my side. It was also difficult to get time off to attend conferences, which always seemed to fall upon an important date or on a match day.
Soon I discovered Medbridge Educational an online CPD resource where I could engage with online courses at a time which suited me (you can pause videos and restart them when you log back in). This was a game changer for me; for the price of a conference I was able to get year-round education that was convenient!
The three aspects that we have discussed (communication meetings, closing the loop and online CPD) undoubtedly contributed to my success in the elite sports environment, it would be great if you could implement the solutions to improve your practice!
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Please comment below with your problems and/or solutions...
Yours in sport,