About the Team
While we are here, my role is to do everything in my power to improve performance, and manage pre-existing and new injuries throughout four training sessions and four games.
Since the girls hadn't competed together, and I had never met them, I had NO idea what to expect with regard to pre-existing injuries and conditions, so I brought one of everything.
I also did research on the sport of field hockey, common injuries, and training patterns to ensure that I was prepared for anything that came my way. Although I've worked with field hockey before, I still brushed up on international rules, and what the rules are for medical staff enter the field.
Even after all this prep, I still felt totally unprepared: mentors tell me this is sometimes a good feeling to have as it keeps you on your toes, and that was true!
-Wake up early and have breakfast
Ensure the girls had proper fuel and water for the day
-Depart for the pitch and practice for two hours, 8-10
I was in charge of warm-up and cool down which filled about 40 minutes per practice
-Recovery / Snack
During this time, I was in the dressing room, guiding the girls through leg flushes, foam rolling and snacks
-Practice for another two hours, 2-4
Wash rinse repeat!
-Recovery / Snack
-Pool Recovery session
Pool recovery is pretty simple; the act of being in a pool and doing gentle movements helps to recover after strenuous activity!
-Treatment / Recovery
This is where I got busy! My list had about 4-5 girls per evening to treat and maintain before game play started
-Early to bed
See a big theme here? There were more recovery items included in the schedule then training items! That's when I realized just how important the role of the Athletic Therapist was on tour!
I was filling the roles of nutrition consultant, sport psych consultant, conditioning coach, yoga instructor, and Athletic Therapist all in one!
Mixed into this were a couple girls who had colds and GI irritation, likely from the travel, and one unfortunate case of a food allergy exposure. Athletic Therapist and Head coach are on deck to spend the night at the ER... all part of the job at the end of the day.
-Breakfast, late morning, after a bit of a sleep in
Since the girls wouldn't be competing until late in the day, this 30 minute session of low intensity dynamic movements was important to stay alert and physically prepared
Last minute treatment of injuries and dysfunctions to ensure fitness for the game
-Depart for the field 90 minutes pre game
-Pregame taping and snack
Warmup for a game is similar to practice days, but has to be well timed to ensure that the girls are peaking immediately prior to the anthems. I was in charge of the space between 35 minutes pre-game, and 17 minutes pre-game... this was difficult to manage!
Interestingly enough, this was my biggest downtime! These athletes are well prepared, and don't need much support other then the occasional stretch or question, and hydration management!
-Post Game Recovery
This included a thorough cool down, as well as either a flush, or ice tub post game while having a post game snack
As the week went on, the evening treatment sessions got longer: It was an exercise in time management and scheduling to ensure all the players were well taken care of and prepared. Many of the sessions were discussions of management during games. Mental prep is as important as physical prep!
-Early to bed!
It was busy, but so exciting to be on the sideline for such high performance games!
I'm looking forward to my next opportunity to travel with the Field Hockey girls!