Athletes must maintain a healthy habit to improve their performance and break their personal records. But what if you are misguided about certain habits and they bear the opposite effect on your performance. Here are some things that you may be doing wrong. It can either ruin your performance or make you prone to sport related injuries.
It is also likely to be misinformed about these habits if you are younger. Therefore, middle school to high school children are prone to these injuries. However, if you are an adult, learning a new sport or taking up a new hobby, remember that these simple habits can improve your overall performance.
What Causes Injuries?
The secret to a healthy athletic lifestyle, is to maintain balance. A professional athlete starts to train rigorously for a few months before the event, after which they gradually reduce their hours of practice. Different sports have different training periods prior to the event. A triathlete for example, usually starts to train three months prior to the event. The key step here is to maintain balance. If you disrupt the balance, you end up pushing yourself to an unhealthy lifestyle and your body becomes prone to injuries.
Here are some things you are probably doing wrongly during your workout sessions:
Too Much Practice
If you are pursuing a sport where you need to workout for 3-5 hours a day during season, ‘too much’ practice may have a different meaning to you. The truth is, every sport is different, every individual is different and we all have our maximum threshold. So, if you are pursuing an intense sport, you need to gradually increase your workout depending on your pace. If you go too fast, you may stress your body out. It may show in the form of:
- Hormonal Imbalance
- Hair loss
- Weight gain/loss
- Lack of energy
- Frequent illness
These are just a few symptoms of practicing too much or increasing your duration too quickly. Athletes also notice stress related injuries if they put their bodies in an intense regime without any warmup. The best thing you can do here is understand your body. Work slowly and gradually move your way up. It will reduce your chances of injuries.
Too Little Practice
This is usually a novice mistake particularly among younger participants. Let’s say it is your school sports day and you are a good runner. But instead of practicing, you run during the main event. This can put your muscles and joints at risk, which is why you should start working out at least a few months before hand before the actual event. You don’t have to do anything strenuous if your event does not require it. For instance, if you are playing for your school, you don’t have to practice for hours at a stretch. However, you should know the basic workings of the sport and practice to make sure your form is correct.
Lack of Proper Gear and Clothing
You may have the best padding and equipment for the main event, but you think it is a waste of time to take them out during practice. Many times, we practice with our old shoes so that we can wear our good pair in the final match. There is nothing wrong with saving your good pair for the match; sport shoes are meant to be comfortable right from the first day. However, the practice footwear should be just as good. Poor quality shoes can lead to foot injuries during practice.
Your socks can also effect your performance. A good sport socks is one that absorbs sweat, is non-conforming and facilitates blood flow around your feet.
Practicing In the Wrong Place
So, if your event takes place on the field, you should practice on the field, if it takes place on the track you should practice on track. Try to mimic the environment of the tournament to make sure that your final performance is not hindered. We understand that you may not have access to the ground as often. But try to increase practice in the right environment as your event approaches closer.
Know When To Stop
Studies show us the percentage of younger athletes getting injured in practice or the main event. 54% of injured young athletes have said they continued to play with an injury. It doesn’t matter if it is practice or the main event, you need to know when to stop. Playing with an injury may prolong the healing process and, in severe cases, it has ended an athlete’s career forever! So, perhaps the most important thing you need to know is when to stop.
Yes, your confidence level can make or break your performance. Nervousness can tense your muscles, increase you heart rate which may impede your performance. Our inability to trust our own judgment can often lead to miscalculations. Sometimes excitement can raise your heart beat just enough to perform well in the main event but, if that excitement does not lead to success, it can turn to helplessness. Helplessness may deter your performance further.
We understand that your confidence level may not always be under your control. We cannot help the thoughts that come to us. However, a mindful approach towards all our events can help us control our emotions so that we can perform better.
Most athletes have a good diet plan in place. We know that our intake will affect our performance. But what if, there are packaged products that are marketed towards athletes; ones that seem healthy but are actually not? There are so many products out there that are made for sports men and women but they are not as healthy as they show themselves to be.
Energy drinks, fruit juices, protein shakes and granola bars are all marketed towards athletes. If you have either of these on a daily basis or after practice, we suggest you consult your fitness instructor and check the fine prints of these products. Some of them may be harmful and can in fact deter your performance.
So, to conclude, these are some things you must keep in mind as an athlete. Your physical health, diet and mental health makes you who you are. Let’s consciously try to change the things we do wrong so that we can push ourselves to be a better athlete.