Updated: Nov 20, 2020
One of the issues that we tackle in HPP parents workshops is how to support your child to avoid illness and injury. We look at various tools and strategies to keep track of young athletes' health and well-being and encourage them to keep a well-being and training diary to look for any patterns or obvious causes of repeated illness and injury.
Many injuries can be put down to something very specific, like poor technique, the wrong equipment or physically over-stretching oneself. But young athletes, in fact people in general are born with a set of physical attributes, or develop them as they grow, which may include elements that are a little bit flawed. For example, very tight hamstrings or glutes that don't work effectively. These weaknesses can leave your young athlete susceptible to injury in these areas.
So, as a parent what is the best way to tackle this? Your child's school or sports club may already be employing a method of screening for young athletes to identify weaknesses and tackle them in training, so ask your child's coach if this service is available. If not, it's a good idea to invest in a 'Sport MOT' for your child. Many physiotherapists and strength and conditioning coaches offer this service, and although you will probably have to pay for it, it may well save you money in the long run as injury can be an expensive business, so being proactive and avoiding it is preferable.
If you are in the Berkshire / Oxfordshire / Buckinghamshire area, local company Bespoke Conditioning can help. Based in Henley on Thames, they offer screening to identify any strengths, weaknesses, potential injury indicators and movement patterns. This screening comes with no obligation to sign up for frequent sessions, but they can then design a dedicated and personalised programme to achieve the most sustainable and effective adaptations over time.
Ian Brown, a co-founder of the company, is the current Head of Strength & Conditioning for England Independent Schools RFC and has previously worked with the likes of Wasps Academy. In addition to this, he currently works in a number of local schools as well as on a 1-on-1 level with athletes of all levels and all ages
If you are not local to this area, just search online in your area for 'athlete physical screening' which will throw up a load of results. You are looking for a qualified S + C coach, like Ian, with a degree in Strength and Conditioning Science, or a qualified physiotherapist.
Getting this done early in your young athlete's sporting journey is likely to save, money, time, pain and heartache in the long run.