How many of you have worked with an athlete all the way up to when you think they are ready to return only to hear them say they don't feel as quick, as prepared, or as ready as you think they are? Or worse, how many of you have returned an athlete back to sport only to see them again because they get injured? It's the worst. And yet you did all the right things. You read the research, you cleared all the joints, and you put them through "functional" hop testing, etc. So what did you miss?!
The problem with most of the return to sport testing is that they are pre-planned. Sports are anything but planned. Every movement is reactive. So we need to train our athletes for this before returning them to sport. For example, a soccer player often has to react to a defender coming at them. This can be easily trained in a small space in a clinic. Another example is using verbal commands when having your athletes train agility. Granted, you will not be able to recreate the full speed of the game but their bodies will begin to develop the motor planning. Furthermore, the athletes will develop the confidence to perform these movements in their respective sports. So next time you get that athlete to the terminal phase of rehabilitation, consider implementing reactive training.
Want more examples of reactive training? Check out our premium page for specific return to sport evaluations, testing, and training for specific positions.
Need help with return to sport testing? Later this month we are releasing a podcast on specific return to sport rehabilitation and testing. Example tests, exercises, and more!