We are in the final stretch of the JO Competition season now and this is the most crucial part of the season.
This year, we lost 3 level 10 gymnasts because of serious leg injuries and illness even before the season started.
We started with a total of 13 healthy gymnasts, but at the end of the season we have only 2 gymnasts left, who are healthy enough to train hard without taping or icing and some type of rehabilitation.
This yearâ€™s rate of injuries was definitely off the norm so we have examined why this has happened this year and carefully looked at the situation.
The most areas of injuries were from 2 main areas: legs (ankles & knees) and the lower back.
Also, many of the injuries were chronic type injuries, so they could train, but working with some aches and pains. Some injuries require the support of athletic tape or supporter during the training and constant rehabilitation work.
Some girls need to cut back the repetition of routines and correction turns due to pain, so they are somewhat lacking consistency.
As we traced back their injuries we realized that most of the injuries were caused by technical errors and some were coming from a lack of physical preparation. In other words, all injuries were possibly preventable.
Some of the lower back injuries came from repeated rebounding somersaults that were done from a tilted body position and also the tilted landing.
We also have a few very flexible gymnasts who have a weak core and a natural sway in the lower back. They tended to overuse the lower back arch to execute many skills that caused constant pressure on their lower back area.
Many other problems were caused by poor technical execution, particularly in the basic skills. For example, a weak round off back handspring often caused a short landing for double backs as well as on multiple twisting somersaults.
Repeated short landings and tilted landings caused great stress on the ankle as well as the knee joints.
We can trace back most of the injury and find that it was related to a deficiency in technique on basics which we neglected to fix in the pre-season.
All those gymnasts who had to deal with an injury need to realize that correcting the basic technique will help for preventing some of the injuries.
However, the most important aspect here is the desire of each gymnast to fix her own problem. Unless this desire to improve comes from each gymnast, the effectiveness of the program will never be realized.
When we are all finished with the competition season, we need to evaluate the season with the whole team and these problems need to be discussed and pointed out to them.
It might be a good idea to have each gymnast write out their problem areas and ask them how they intend to solve each problem.
The main focus here is making them realize their problems and have them come up with their own solutions. Also, have them commit themselves to fix their own problem areas.
Have fun coaching!