The season is getting towards championship times, which means athletes will be popping some outstanding marks as they begin to rest, the weather warms and the competition heats up. It also means that nagging injuries start to become more than nagging and limiting to training and competition. It is the most frustrating part of coaching, but it is also a part of coaching. The best coaches are the ones who are able to keep these athletes competing. Writing training plans for the injured athlete as a coach, is as much and even more challenging than writing training back when the athlete was healthy.
In my opinion training for the injured athlete, has to be boiled down to several areas:
- Prioritize the most essential part of the event. Speed and approach accuracy go a long way in jumping far for a long or triple jumper with knee tendonitis. Jumping in practice may not be possible, but sprinting and approach work can be.
- Lessen the density of intense training.
- Become a master of alternative work that continues to feed the athletes system only in different ways. Injury doesn’t have to and should mean time off.
- Don’t get greedy. Arriving at the start line is better than not arriving.
As a coach you should:
- Keep the athlete involved with the team as much as possible
- Learn from feedback, what types of activity sets the athlete’s injury back.