With the 2018/19 rugby season now entering the ‘business end’ of the year, aching bodies and muscles can lead to a wide array of injuries. Whilst some injuries are unavoidable, there are a number of strategies that can be adopted to minimise the possibility of picking up a niggle when on the pitch.
Wear protective gear
From scrum caps to body armour, there is a whole host of kit available to wear on the pitch. Whilst headgear is not proven to prevent concussion, it can help avoid lacerations and reduce the possibility of you developing those infamous cauliflower ears. Relatively cheap, they are a popular choice amongst forwards and backs alike and should be an addition to your kit bag. Mouthguards are also vitally important and whilst there are a number of off-the-shelf ones available, it’s worth investing in ones that can be effectively moulded to the shape of your teeth.
Get your technique right
There is such a thing as a textbook tackle, and you should be making every effort to ensure that you are getting your technique right in the contact area. Avoid going in too high when making contact and if tackling around the waist, make every effort to ensure that your head is behind the attacking player rather than in front. Make sure you use your arms in the tackle area as well – leading with the shoulder or a no arms tackle are dangerous and can see you receiving a yellow or red card, potentially causing injury to you or your opposite number. Avoid bad tackle technique at all costs and play within the laws of the game.
Choose your footwear carefully
Technology has come a long way in the last decade, and rugby boots have evolved over the years. Make sure that your boots are the right fit and appropriate for the surface you are playing on. Even local rugby clubs such as Harpenden RFC now have artificial pitches which are terrific to play on but can make for a completely different surface than traditional grass pitches. A somewhat faster playing surface, you should take the time to consider what kind of studs are most appropriate, and you should always wear in a new pair of boots before playing competitively. The right footwear will minimise slippage and keep you well-grounded for the full 80-minutes, so don’t cut corners when selecting your next pair.
Look after your body
It is important to look after your body before, during and after playing. Make sure that you warm up and warm down fully, and consider having a sports massage to ensure that you maintain peak physical performance. Lots of rugby players lead a busy day job during the week, and so it’s important to be aware of the physical demands on the body during a long season. Make sure you keep fit and healthy throughout the year, thus minimising the possibility of you needing to take time out and recover from an injury.
Don’t return too soon after injury
If you are unlucky enough to pick up an injury, make sure that you follow a rehabilitation program before getting back on the pitch and avoid returning too soon. Getting stuck in too early could see you worsening your injury or even developing a brand new one. Follow the advice of a health or medical professional and don’t put the body under too much strain. It is important to be sensible when deciding whether or not to play, as the wrong decision could result in further time out or even worse, developing an injury that could stop you from playing rugby for good.
Jenkins Soft Tissue Therapy offers a number of massage therapy treatments designed to aid with the prevention of rugby and other sport-related injuries. Contact us today and find out how Jenkins Therapy can help get you match fit for all important end of the rugby season.