Unlike physical therapy, sports therapy has a specific goal in mind – to bring athletes back into shape so they can perform their best. However, an athlete’s best no longer refers solely to their physical well-being. This is where sports therapy comes in handy, above other methods.
How Sports Therapy Extends Beyond the Norm
Sports therapy covers much more than pain and injury. Though physical therapy is a large part of any athlete’s health, it’s only part of the whole. Pain can force athletes at any level to give up what they love. Physical therapy acts as the remedy before an athlete has to make such a drastic choice. Through a rehabilitation that includes pain relief, injury recovery, and improvements to flexibility and strength, athletes can extend their careers past a potentially debilitating injury.
More recently, sports therapy has become less of a recovery method and more a conscious, everyday task. The expansion of the subject has grown to include mental conditioning as well as physical. What an athlete puts into their bodies and minds has become more of a focus, leading to results that correspond directly.
Examples of today’s sports therapy are conditioning, visualization, or cross-training. Although these examples have been put to use for decades, it’s only more recently that they have become the groundwork for further advancement in the field. For instance, further exploration into the mental health of athletes has now become more mainstream and covered by a sports therapist.
Mental Health in Sports Therapy
Because sports therapy uses many areas of science to expand its horizons, there is constantly room for growth. One area that is currently gaining more recognition is mental health through sports therapy. Though sometimes sports psychologists cover this area, it falls under the branch of sports therapy as a whole.
When considering an athlete’s mental health, regardless of their competition level, it remains a large part of how they can compete. For instance, becoming discouraged in their own performance can create a chain reaction and overall dip in their abilities. It can be hard for an athlete to regain confidence after a failure, or a string of failures, which is where the therapist comes in. This is where the sports therapist steps in.
Regaining self-confidence and self-esteem is one of the few ways a sports therapist can help an athlete get back on track. They can also help an athlete set competition goals and explain the steps of how to reach these goals. A firm understanding of how to train for a specific level of achievement is integral to the sports therapists’ success, which is why the area of sports therapy itself must be so broad.
With sports therapy, issues like depression and insomnia may also combated, which in turn could improve sports performance. Overall, both education and availability are vital for sports therapy to provide more advantages to keep athletes in better shape.