When it comes to “injury prevention,” I find myself having the same conversation over and over again with team coaches.
Here’s how it goes:
Coach: “Our team wants to train with you.”
Me: “Awesome, I’m excited to get started.”
Coach: “So what do you do for injury prevention?”
…as much as I want to say things like “I breathe” “I exist” “my mother birthed me” or “I walk into work every day,” I don’t.
I reply, “it’s a paramount staple of my program.”
In the youth sports community, however, it seems everyone is under the impression that “injury prevention” is some mystical, stand-alone program that resides in Hogwarts or something.
They believe it involves BOSU balls, balance drills, and mini bands and is done separately from everything else. And then boom. Their players are on their way to having bionic knees and ankles.
Alas, this couldn’t be more far from the truth.
Funny enough, when coaches ask me what I do for injury prevention I chuckle. And I just replay in my head all of the crazy things I do with my athletes to make them resilient beasts. And chuckle again.
To that end, “injury prevention” is a fancy catchphrase for “strength training.”
That’s really all it is.
When athletes come into our facility at Jay Dyer Strength and Conditioning, they’re immediately under an “injury prevention” program.
Here’s what happens:
1. We do a dynamic warm-up that involves stretching and movement prep. #InjuryPrevention
2. We do a run, whether this is teaching sprinting mechanics or change of direction. #InjuryPrevention
3. We do a meathead lift that makes them more resilient. #InjuryPrevention
4. We tell everyone to go to Chipotle for optimal muscle recovery and protein synthesis. #InjuryPrevention
5. And we tell everyone to go home and Netflix and chill while doing diaphragmatic breathing. #InjuryPrevention
Here’s the thing people: injury prevention is a comprehensive, multi-faceted program with more than just hyped-up-Instagram balance drills that make you “oooooh” and “ahhhhh.”
Truthfully, if athletes would only be performing balance drills, I’m not so sure they’d be able to withstand the demands of the game and forces placed upon them.
In addition to balance drills, there must be maximal strength happening, like this:
There must also be force absorption happening:
There must be core stability and ability to resist force happening:
There must be training-in-all-planes-of-motion happening:
There must be upper body training happening:
There must be cognitive load happening:
There must be unilateral eccentric load happening:
Okay, okay, I’m sorry…I must be butter because I’m on a roll.
I’ll stop now.
To summarize, “injury prevention” is everything. And I mean EVERYTHING.
If it were just a bunch of balance and jumping drills for 3 sets of 10 reps, we’d be doing our athletes a disservice. So don’t be lazy. And get outta here with the 3 sets of 10 reps. Do you even #InjuryPrevent, bro?
With that said, I repeat: injury prevention is everything.
Yeah. You heard me. INJURY PREVENTION IS EVERYTHING:
It’s total body strength.
It’s ability to withstand force.
It’s ability to absorb force.
It’s core and hip activation.
It’s proper warm-up.
It’s eccentric load.
It’s unilateral eccentric load.
It’s stress management.
Holy fuck. I need to stop. We’ll be here for HOURS, yo.
So if you’re with a qualified strength and conditioning coach, “injury prevention” is just part of the program.
Again, we exist. We breathe. We go into work.