Load management in sport means managing the training load (time, intensity and type) of an athlete. It is imperative all the time for people and athletes who engage in regular exercise.
For uninjured athletes, a key factor like periodization (a planned training calendar that shows high and low-intensity periods) is vital to improving an athlete’s performance and staying injury free.
If you watch sport, you must have heard the commentator make mention of “monitoring a player’s load or getting a player’s load right” when explaining a player’s regime – especially when the player is just getting back from a long injury lay-off.
As I write this article, a prominent sport writer, Chris Haynes tweeted this in preparation for tomorrow’s Toronto Raptors game.
Toronto star Kawhi Leonard is out Sunday at Miami due to “load management.”
Kawhi Leonard and others have sat out this season due to “load management.” This is an injury designation teams use nowadays. Remember, the team owner wants bums in seats and ultimately profit. Additionally, players want to stay healthy and make money. That’s where the problem lies.
Athletes as Commodities
Professional athletes get paid to play numerous competitive games in a short time window. If they get hurt, their source of income could fade as their market value weakens. Furthermore, once a player gets injured, improper injury management in sport could have serious consequences.
Research on Load Management
Due to research advancements in sport medicine, the importance of healing injuries properly is necessary. Rest is a big part of that process. Remember, athletes are sport properties and need to protect their brand from harm, and that includes injury! Any damage caused to their body could impede a potential contract negotiation.
See this fantastic infographic from the Chicago Tribune from 2014 about Derrick Rose’s injury chart. You will be astonished at how much an injury has an impact. Could his career have been smoother had he been “load managed”?
Disappointment for Fans
It is quite presuming that holding out the star player can be underwhelming from a fan’s enjoyment/entertainment perspective. Two years ago, the NBA changed its rules and put fines in place to deter teams from resting healthy player during the regular season games. Thus, you notice the detrimental effect on fan satisfaction from the league’s point of view.
However, these rules have not been a deterrent (see Kawhi & Lebron). A handy example of this is how just recently, numerous buses filled with Toronto fans drove for the game in Detroit to support their team only to be disappointed by the news of a “load management” time off for Leonard. A proper example of load management in sports is not welcomed by the fans.
How do you track load Management in Sport?
In tracking load management in sport, we monitor the load and the body’s reaction to load using specific tools (https://www.physio-pedia.com/Load_Management) such as muscle soreness, general health, and also, testing strength the strength of the athlete. Tracking the load management would allow training at an optimal speed.
Fandom is part of every game. The support and cheer from fans are almost as important as winning itself. So why have these managers failed to take into account the import of their critical decisions on fans? After buying tickets and team wear and probably going on a long trip for a game, a disappointing “load management” , or trying to implement the principles of load management in sport or probably a rest or night off is the last thing they deserve. As the sports industry keeps expanding into multi-billion dollar businesses we can only advise regulators, athletes and managers need to step up their games in ensuring that they don’t take the feelings and enthusiasm of these cheering crowd are continually filling up stadiums and sports halls for granted.
Otherwise, the might as well become another ubiquitous invincible capitalist sector whose only concern is to make a profit while caring about nothing else. The rules should be enforced and adhered to because, in the end, every right sports person recognizes the importance of fans and it is their responsibility not to undermine the almost-fanatical support they receive. Fans are humans too.
The overall objective of proper load management in sport is ideally constructed competition, training, and other loads to maximize performance and enhance adaptation, while also looking to reduce the risk of injury.