Anyone who is raising a young athlete knows the constant pressure put on them to train harder and perform at increasingly higher standards. Practices run longer, times need to be faster, and teams travel more. For some families, the process feels less like a student athlete and more like professional training. Some teens feel that sports are their only ticket to college, which creates additional pressure to perform. The intensity of sports, even when not overtly competitive, can lead to injury. Between hits, falls, impacts, and straining, young athletes in football, gymnastics, running, and cheerleading are especially prone to injury, but any activity with repetitive motions—from throwing or serving a ball to swimming, can affect the physical health of the young athlete. This is where sports massage can become an integral part of the young athlete’s training and recovery regimen.
Many high-performance athletes rely on sports massage to help prepare the body for events and as a means to rehabilitate the body afterward. Sports massage is more than a relaxation massage; sports massage therapists target specific muscle groups and tissues with an expert touch to maintain optimal body condition. Sports massage works to decrease muscle tension, targeting specific muscles and tendons to relieve strain or stress. A massage therapist trained in sports massage understands how particular sports affect the body differently and can tailor treatment accordingly.
Teen athletes require additional consideration during treatment. Teen athletes’ bodies are still growing and developing, and as their bones and muscles are getting longer, the muscles will often feel sore or even painful—before the rigors and strain of athletic training. Not only does sports massage reduce pain, but it also improves muscle flexibility and range of motion. This helps the growing body and also improves overall physical condition as well as athletic performance.
We often think of children as having more resilient bodies, and that they heal easily. But the ongoing impact of sports and the intensity with which young athletes are compelled to perform means that their bodies are often being worked—proportionally—the same as college and professional athletes.
It is important for young athletes to maintain the health of their developing bodies not just for the interim but also for longevity. Many people will trace the aches and ailments of adulthood to injuries they experienced from sports and other athletic activities when they were young. The body can experience wear and tear from any type of athletic activity, but the teen athlete naturally will have greater exposure and risk of a significant, long-term injury.
Sometimes, young people are not fully aware of certain aches or are unable to articulate the source of a particular ache or strain. Sports massage therapists are able to target inflamed or tense muscles and tissues, restoring injured tissue and mobility, especially in the high-risk areas of the lower back, rotator cuffs, and knees—places especially felt with age.
Additionally, young athletes have to juggle school and tests and all the other obligations that come from school. Sports massage, while treating the body, can actually help to relieve the tensions caused by the emotional stress of managing life as a student athlete.
At Massage Concepts, our therapists have undergone the specialized training for sports massage, with a focus on the nuances of the sports massage for the younger athlete’s body. For more information on our sports massage therapy for your young athlete or yourself, or to make an appointment for sports massage treatment or any of our full listing of services, visit us at massageconceptsdelmar.com.