Five Steps to Prepare Your Sports Medicine Team for a Major Tournament

For major sports tournaments, the sports medicine team has to be as prepared as the athletes competing in them.
There are 5 major steps to help you achieve success for your athletes and team you represent.

Step 1
Work out what the team’s goal is. Our sports med team goal was “Help Melbourne University win the Australian University Games”.
Whatever decisions we had to make guided us towards our goal. This helped filter out unnecessary work.
It’s important to keep the goal clear, concise, and to the point. And most importantly EVERY member of the sports med team should know the goal verbatim.

Step 2
Create a plan of action to achieve your goal.
We created seminars for all of our athletes to help them prepare for the games. What to expect, how to prevent injury, and what exercises were most important were some of the things we covered.
We then provided assessments for our athletes who were competing – personalized analysis of each athlete (their biomechanical strengths and weaknesses were recorded and made them aware of ways they could improve this).
We then looked at all the teams that were representing Melbourne University and divided up the teams amongst the sports medicine staff.
Each member was in charge of their own precinct.
To deliver success our plan was simple: 1. Be Remarkable 2. Go the extra mile.

Step 3
Put together the best team that can deliver steps 1 and 2.
Important characteristics for your team: they have to be the BEST at what they do. They need to be talented. And if they don’t have the experience yet then they need to have a POSITIVE and ENTHUSIASTIC attitude to learn, work and deliver success alongside their senior sports med staff.

Step 4
Execute your plan.
Day by day before and during the games, keep on track with your overall goal, weekly goals (before the games), and daily goals (during the games)
Review your targets and keep the team accountable. Speaking to everyone individually and reviewing their role/goals improves accountability. The key here is that other team members can help out if one team member is falling behind/finding their workload too much or have too many injuries to cover etc.
Once again ‘1. Be Remarkable 2. Go the extra mile.’

Step 5
Enjoy the process. Enjoy the journey. Work hard but enjoy every single moment you are out there. Your athletes are doing their very best and you will help them achieve higher accolades because you are being the best that you can be. Don’t leave anything in the tank…Push yourself, enjoy the moment and celebrate every little win along the way. Whatever happens, you have done your very best for your athletes. And that’s all that matters.

Kusal Goonewardena, Elite Athlete Sports Physiotherapist, has been the head of sports medicine at the University of Melbourne since 2008. Melbourne University has finished in the top four best sports universities in Australia every single year. This year Melbourne University won the national championship again, winning back to back in 2012 and 2013. He was in charge of 7 sports medicine staff who helped 440 athletes achieve their best.

Categories: Practitioner


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