A sports physiotherapist tells Foreverfit how poor nutrition, training errors and high anxiety can impact a player’s performance and multiply the risk of sports injuries.

As you probably know, many factors can influence a player’s performance, and increase the risk of sports injuries, during practice and play. Aside from the right sports gear, and stretching routines, players must also ensure that their training routines, nutrition and state of mind are conducive to a great performance.

Read on, to learn about the 4 most important factors:

#1 Appropriate surface

Sporting activity generates extremely high loads, which may or may not be modulated by the surface. In particular, overuse injuries such as stress fractures, shin pain and tendinopathy may result from playing surface hardness. That’s because a hard surface such as concrete generates a greater musculoskeletal impact than a soft surface, such as grass.

#2 Appropriate training

Both a sportsperson and a sports physiotherapist must understand the different elements of training. Only then, will they stay alert to potential training errors may occur, and take active steps to prevent recurrence. To understand this better, let’s look at the different phases of training.

Each phase is unique

To begin with, you have the conditioning phase, which emphasizes developing aerobic and anaerobic fitness, strength and power. During this period, the athlete may get ‘training tired’ and will probably perform poorly, if required to compete.

Later, during the pre- competition phase of training, the emphasis switches from pure conditioning to technique work. Finally, during the competition phase, the emphasis moves to competitive performance, while maintaining basic conditioning.

#3 Psychological factors

A calm, focused state of mind is conducive to the best sports performance.  So, various states of psychological arousal -such as agitation, lack of focus, excitability or fear- can impair sporting performance, and increase the risk of injury.

For the most part, the loss of concentration impairs natural technique, which players describe as a ‘loss of rhythm.’ Obviously, this also predisposes an athlete to injury,  by giving the athlete less time to react to cues.

#4 Nutrition

Not to be overlooked, is the role of poor nutrition in facilitating injuries. Eating too little of the wrong foods, can impair glycogen repletion, causing a reliance on fat and protein stores for energy. This may result in increased protein breakdown, which, in turn, may lead to soft tissue injury.

Too little protein

One of the major nutritional mistakes is to miss out on the right amount of protein. Inadequate dietary protein intake is a common cause of muscle injury. In particular, the skeletal muscle breakdown that occurs due to intense training, can be exacerbated by inadequate dietary protein.

Too little water

Another factor to pay attention to, is hydration. Players who don’t drink enough fluids, end up compromising blood flow to working muscles and increase susceptibility to injury. Lack of hydration also influences the amount and composition of joint fluid, which helps to nourish articular cartilage.

An optimal amount of nutrients like potassium, iron, magnesium, chromium, copper and various vitamins are also essential, to decrease susceptibility to sports injuries.