We hear all the health and wellbeing massage for adults but did you know that massage is also beneficial to young athletes too?
As a mum of active kids who have played sport their whole lives I’ve taken a keen interest in sports massage for aspiring athletes. It came about when my daughter who plays representative netball complained of sore calves. When I got her up on my massage table I was horrified by her muscle tightness and soreness give she’s only 13 and then it dawned on me. With training, club games and possibly added rep training and games the young athlete works their body hard and it can be quite a lot of pressure on their growing frames. Tight muscles hinder performance and are more vulnerable to injury which is not what we want at all.
Massage can help by relieving muscle tension, lengthening muscles, assisting in recover and injury recovery, helps to prevent injury from tight and overused muscles, increases blood flow which helps to increase oxygen supply and remove excess waste. Massage has also been known to improve anxiety and sleep.
It is recommended that aspiring young athletes receive a massage at least every month to assist performance, injury prevention and recovery. It makes sense to include it into your training and recovery program but like everything else, make sure you find someone who your young athlete feels comfortable with and finds approachable. I have a Working With Children Check however I still request a parent/carer or nominated adult be present in the room because they are minors but also so the adult can hear any recovery, stretching or rest recommendations made. I’m also big on empowerment in regards to body particularly with my young female athletes. I explain that even though I’m the qualified professional it is their body and they get a say in what they find comfortable and uncomfortable and whether the pressure is too hard. I explain what I’m doing throughout the session and I encourage them to speak up and ask questions. It’s a really great conversation to have and we build better relationships through communication