Walking on eggshells and creating fragile athletes

What I am seeing today is an ever-widening gap between how the athletes prepare for the game in contrast to the actual game demands. This gap is creating fragile athletes more prone to injury than ever before. Due to artificial restraints placed on training load imposed by a negative medical model that emphasis what the athlete can’t do as opposed to what they must do to prepare. In the attempt to “protect” the athlete we have severely restricted training load instead of systematically overloading the athlete to prepare for actual game demands. I was taught many years ago that one of the purposes of training was to make the game easy, in essence to slow it down by imposing stress in practice that was beyond what was imposed in the game. In other words, don’t try to duplicate game demands, distort them!

We need to rethink our approach, because it is apparent the current approach of walking on eggshells in practice is not reducing injuries. We need to be informed by science, practice sound pedagogy and impose training loads that are realistic to develop robust, resilient athletes who thrive in competition. You will NEVER be able to perform above your level of training but that is what we are currently expecting out athletes to do week after week. There must be progressive overload that exceeds game demands in small doses. We can never forget you play the way you practice. Let’s recognize that being risk averse in unrealistic. To perform at the elite level demands playing on the edge.

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