All female athletes can minimize their risk for injury by training to play sports. You want to play the piano – you take lessons or you become self taught. You prepare to play this instrument. You want to snow ski – you get on skis and just go down the mountain effortlessly. No way!!
But, all over the world, female athletes just play their sports because the adults who are volunteer coaches have not learned about the differences appearing at adolescence that cause female athletes to be injured at a much higher rate than same-age males. Injury will happen to someone else – not me is the mantra.
Quite simply, every female athlete’s challenges place them at risk for injury. Safely increasing power, speed, agility, and quickness helps every female athlete become the best athlete each can be while minimizing their risk for injury. Learning proper nutrition for daily energy is required for all females as the messages these young women receive generally imply that only thin is good and unhealthy eating behaviors need to be addressed.
Safe and age-appropriate exercise featuring a foundation training program for lower body stabilization is required for all females; no matter their sport. Balance, neuromuscular control, and proprioception is needed; I call this BNP Training. There is no “one size fits all” training program for female athletes as every female athlete’s assessment will highlight her strengths and weaknesses to be addressed while participating in a training program.
The following list is what a female athlete needs to do:
Before starting an exercise program – see your physician and be cleared to play.
Be assessed before participating in a training program by a qualified trainer.
Foundation integrated training program: Warm-up, stretching, strength, cardio with interval training, and a cool-down.
Do not play your sport; preseason is for making gains and during the season you must maintain those gains.
Commit to 2-3 times per week for 9 or 13 weeks for the best results.
Core training is part of the foundation training. The kinetic chain from ankle to knee to hips is a critical part of the training. Plyometric training is advanced training featuring jump training and should not begin until the female athlete stabilizes her lower body (and for overhead athletes – rotator cuff program).
Nutrition for daily energy will teach the female athlete about eating seven (7) colors of food daily and that proper rest – 8-9 hours per night is very important. Time management skills must be learned so each female athlete can make time for her studies, social, religious, and family obligations while practicing and playing their sport.
Not playing for up to six (6) weeks may not be popular with coaches, but every female (and male) athlete will benefit from resting their body and their mind. Two-thirds (2/3) of all injuries are due to fatigue and occur in the last one-third (1/3) of practice and competition.
Bottom line: a safe and age-appropriate training program will allow the female athlete to play at their highest level every day, especially in the first five minutes and last five minutes of practices and games. Most important is that a trained athlete – if injured – will return to play more quickly than an untrained athlete.
About the Author: Female athletes and ACL injury do not have to happen with safe and age-appropriate training by a qualified trainer. Lower body stabilization needs to be the foundation program for every female athlete. Since 1995, I have developed the BNP Training Program to provide safe and integrated training while helping every female athlete increase her power, speed, agility, and quickness and minimizing her risk for injury.Sharing is Caring!