For most types of massage, the therapist will have a specific aim in mind. Sports Massage focuses primarily on the individual needs of the athlete. More and more people are taking part in sports, obstacle based training and rigorous training activities, combined with the increasing competitiveness and intensity of physical activity. This is increasing the need for Sports Massage. This method of therapy is fast becoming more recognised as a necessity to assist recovery and enhance performance.
Sports Massage does have some aims common with other regular forms of therapy and it is imperative that the Sports Massage therapist has a higher understanding of Anatomy and Physiology, especially Muscular and Skeletal systems. When we understand these systems and the effect activity places on them, we can appreciate how Sports Massage benefits an elite athlete, weekend warrior, labour intensive employee or any person whom engages in rigorous physical activity and therefore it becomes an integral part of the individual’s training and recovery regimen.
Athletes looking to improve physical performance, reduce the risk of injury and increase their competitive edge, do so by adopting a regular treatment schedule to enhance their:
◦ Sport Specific Skill-set
◦ Strength & Conditioning
◦ Peak Physical Endurance
◦ Physiological Development
◦ Psychological Mindset
◦ Mobilisation & Flexibility
◦ Speed, Balance & Agility
How an individual will develop and utilise these qualities will depend on multiple factors such as level of competition, their particular sport (contact or non-contact sport) and often the role they play in any team sport. That said, no matter what sport or activity you take part in, your training’s primary aim is to increase intensity of the activity and subject the body to gradual and controlled overuse. This overuse can often create imbalances in soft tissues. If ignored and allowed worsen, they will not only hinder your rate of development, but can, in many cases, impede performance and ultimately lead to more problematic muscular conditions that can be serious. If you are unable to perform at your best you will become more susceptible to other, more traumatic, forms of injury. For example, a player involved in a contact sport who is “carrying” an injury may not have their usual level of agility. The result might be that they may suffer an extrinsic injury because of not being fully prepared for the contact suffered from an unexpected tackle.