Sports Performance and Physical Therapy: Two Peas in a Pod



How many times have you run that mile? How many times have you looked at your stopwatch and sighed at the missed minutes or seconds on the clock? Sports performance is an incredibly powerful driving force for athletes, and when minutes and seconds become indicators of success, making the most of every movement, every muscle, and every intentional stride, means the difference between winning and falling short. Fitness, strength, flexibility, mobility, and precision… these are but a few of the things involved in sport performance. In this post, we’re looking at the ways in which physical therapy can exponentially boost your sports performance. That’s right! It’s not all about back discs and joint pain… physical therapy can be the different between a good run, length, ski, or jump, and a great one. Let’s see how!

Maybe you’ve never considered physical therapy as a way to increase your sports performance. And why would you? In general, we see physical therapists treating the injured on the field… not the healthy, right? Well, no, not really. Behind every great athlete is an equally great physical therapist. You see, physical therapy is primarily invested in the fluidity and precision of movement – the eradication of pain is a by-product of a correction within these sectors. So, when it comes to sport performance, physical therapy offers a wealth of invaluable advice, information, and tools to streamline movement and behavior. The result? A superior gait, precise breaststroke, and enviable run down a Black Diamond slope. The bottom line? Your performance is likely to be stagnant without proper form and technique. And how do you get that? Physical therapy!


But before we get into that in more detail, sports performance is about a little bit more than that, actually. As important as it is to be precise and correct in your movement and posture, it’s also incredibly important to recover correctly. Yes, that’s right! A good warm-up and warm-down routine can make all the difference in the way you play or train – in fact, quite apart from improving your performance, if you do warm up and down well, you are much more likely to avoid injuries that could set you back for weeks or months… maybe even longer. It is so incredibly important that you remember this: you need to have proper warm up and warm down routines.

Luckily, physical therapy can help on both counts and more! Not only is it the safest and most effective way of increasing your sports performance, it is also the best way to stave off potential injuries that could set you back and lump you with unwanted downtime. Here’s how:


Exercise in a Controlled Environment


Interestingly, a big benefit of visiting a physical therapist is that you’ll be able to train and improve in a controlled environment. What this means is that your performance will increase in a precise way, that is, by ruling out differing factors in weather, environment, or time. Each session will give you the opportunity to precisely monitor your improvement, since there will be no external factors influencing it.


Ongoing Improved Awareness of Form and Correct Movement


Physical therapy looks at the movement of your body in such a way as to correct imbalances and posture abnormalities. As you work on one improvement with your physical therapist, he/she is already aware of the next step, next improvement, and next milestone. Each session sets the bar higher, and so each movement and each activity performed will become more streamlined and seamless.


Increased Awareness of Higher Level Functioning


The great thing about learning precise movement in physical therapy is that the skills translate into other areas of your life. Motor skills will improve and your cognitive ability will increase – your awareness of your body will become part-and-parcel of your competence in other tasks and hobbies. The results are truly amazing.


Tools to Constantly Improve Performance


Physical therapy offers you a lot in terms of giving you the tools to continue performing at your best at all times. Not only do you learn the correct techniques during your sessions, but you are given all of the support, advice, and routines so that you can implement them on your own out on the track, the court, or in the pool. This is incredibly important, as your own implementation allows your awareness to grow and, as a consequence, your performance to increase exponentially.


Body mechanics lie at the heart of what physical therapy can offer you in terms of sports performance. Yet, that isn’t all. If you are currently dealing with an injury that’s setting you back in your training, then physical therapy can help you, too. By treating the root cause of the problem, correcting the pattern so as to maintain pain-free training, and by giving you the tools to ensure the pain doesn’t return, physical therapy actually sets you up for long term success.


And the best part? All of the benefits of physical therapy means that you are actually in a much better position to avoid getting injured in the first place. Proper form, precise movements, and body-awareness all give rise to training that sets you apart from the rest. Unlike practically any other routine, physical therapy offers you the effectiveness of science mixed with the wisdom of repetition. In fact, for an athlete, physical therapy is the single best way of increasing one’s performance and success. Period.


If you’re interested in learning how to increase your sports performance, if you’re tired of waiting for your periods of ‘down time’ to end, or if you’re currently in pain and feel that your routine is suffering, we invite you to contact me, today. My mission is to help you be the best you can be and for you to maintain a pain free life, excellent routine, and excitement with regards to your sport for a very long time to come. Be the best you can be and reach out to find out how hands-on one on one physical therapy can you reach the next level. I look forward to hearing from you!


Dr. Jamie So

Jamie So, PT, DPT, is the owner and physical therapist of Manual Therapy Effects.


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