PART 4: “Understanding Your Body”
I’ve also added to my recovery regime by having a sports massage once a month with Ellen Woodley (http://www.flexback.co.uk) a Soft Tissue Therapist. This has really helped me understand my body better. Here are some words from Ellen on this ….
“With the hands-on massage, Sam starts to appreciate the importance of listening to his body – I often identify areas of tension and these can relate to areas of tension that Sam feels whilst playing. Sam feeds back any post training niggles and stretches on his days off to help injury prevention and strengthen his body going forward as he grows.
All athletes look for an edge that can help them train more effectively, perform better and overcome injuries quickly. For the young tennis player who is still growing (5 inches in 12 months!!), the bones grow faster than the soft tissue of muscles, tendons and ligaments. They are also more susceptible to bone growth plate injuries, all of which can lead to imbalances and damage to tissue.
Massage can physically benefit Sam by decreasing muscle tension and increasing oxygenated blood flow to the skin and muscle. It also promotes connective tissue healing and improves muscle elasticity. Whilst massaging Sam we discuss the muscles we are treating, their roles and how different the muscles feel. Jointly we identify areas that are uncomfortable, and tense and we work at greater depth with these areas. All this helps Sam to appreciate his body as a whole, it promotes his self-awareness, all the while improving mind-body connection, and this can improve success in and out of the competition situation by reducing stress too.
Finally, as we all know massage promotes relaxation and reduces stress – what better excuse to have a deep tissue massage then that!!!
It’s great to be involved and to help in a small way Sam’s journey back to health and competitive tennis! I love following his progress and successes.”
Sam and Ellen