As a coach and club owner, having a good relationship with a physical therapist is not just good for the health of the gymnasts, it is good for the health of my business.
Why is this important to the coach?
Healthy athletes = more reps in the gym.
I have always felt that the key to high level gymnastics is getting enough reps in of skills. A gymnast who is missing reps because of injury will not be as successful as the gymnast who is getting in more reps.
Healthy athletes = better competitor
A healthy athlete who is NOT worried about landings or take offs that hurt will be a better competitor because it allows them to focus on other things like straight legs, straight arms etc.
Healthy athletes = consistent workouts
When you look at workouts it is not really what happened on Monday, what matters is what happens in a month of Mondays.
Healthy athletes = easier motivation in the gym
Let’s face it, the kids with injuries in the gym is not going to be all that motivated to take a lot of turns (that hurt).
Why is this important to the club owner
Healthy athletes = Less lost revenue
You hardly make any money on team anyway. If kids are then working out less hours because they are hurt and then pay less in tuition you are losing money.
Healthy athletes = make team more marketable
If you have a healthy looking team at competitions and practices, kids will want to be part of that and parents will want their kids to be part of it.
Healthy athletes = Outside growth
I have had many parents from other gyms call me and want their daughter to try out because they were tired of her being hurt at her current gym.
Healthy athletes = Bragging rights over other sports
I love it when coaches from other sports encourage their athletes to do gymnastics in the off season to keep them strong AND healthy.
Healthy athletes = Less problem parents
How it works in my gym
PT comes in two or three times per week (only because they are a parent of an athlete). One time per week is what we were doing before.
On the days when I know they will be there I leave a list of gymnasts to see/ evaluate.
The PT consults with conditioning and rehab exercises by GROUP. Our PT noticed that our Level 5s had a lot of asymmetrical core strength. So we were able to change some of the conditioning exercises to deal with it. They also consult with conditioning and rehab exercises for individuals.
Triage- Every once and a while there is a gymnasts who crashes while the PT is in the gym. You never want that to happen but it is always good to have a more qualified person there to handle it.
Nuts and bolts
Each event has specific exercises related to that event.
On Vault we have exercises for ankle, knees and wrists.
On Bars we have exercises for wrists, elbows and shoulder.
On Beam we have exercises flexibility and ankles.
On Floor we have exercises for core strength and back.
Exercises are posted and changed about every 3-4 weeks. ATTITUDE towards the exercises is as important as the exercises themselves. We explain WHY and the WHAT of each exercise.
These stations are part of their warm up or part of a circuit. This gives them something to do instead of hanging out talking!