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Sports Massage
Pre-Event Guidelines

Sports Massage is basically applying the principles of bodywork and massage to athletes.  What makes it different is that athletes have very special needs.  Knowing the person and the sport is what will make your treatment of greater value.

This is a short, specific treatment given immediately before ( 30 minutes- 24 hours before) and event. The goal of treatment is to increase the circulation, flexibility and mental clarity of the client  to improve performance.  It does not replace the athletes warm up but complements it.  It is important to know your clients sport or activity and what muscles are used the most.  It is also necessary to assess the athlete's condition and needs prior to treatment. Factors such as temperature, nervousness, fatigue, hyperactivity are considered before giving a treatment.  If the client is cold more warming things need to be done.  If they are already warmed up, focus on flexibility.  If they are nervous some soothing strokes may be called for.

The amount and depth of treatment is the most important key to effective treatment.  Deep tissue work is contraindicated as it may cause too much of an increase in flexibility and it may interfere with the clients timing and strength.   Keep the goal in mind at all times.

  1.  Use brisk invigorating variations of sport massage strokes to specific muscles as per sport
  2. Create long lasting hyperemia
  3. Use gymnastics, stretching, PNF if athlete has used them before.
  4. Begin light and gradually increase pressure and speed
  5. Energize or calm down as needed
  6. Do Not comment on tightness at this point-it may be too negative and depressing
  7. If an athlete is unprepared or injured or tight to the point of causing an injury, bring this up with caution
  8. Consider the time remaining before and event.  If it is 30 minutes, give a really short (5-10 minute) treatment.  If it is the day before, a little longer treatment is ok.
  9. Be aware of how much a client has had massage previously to an event. It will determine how their body will react to the treatment.
  10. In endurance sports, concentrate on overall energy and flexibility.
  11. In strength related sports, concentrate on the specific muscles used.
  12. Do Not Treat Stress points/Triggerpoints:  Use only 24 hours before competition and only if the athlete is used to having such a treatment before and event.



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