I remember when I was on the swimming team having a strength and conditioning coach (S&C coach) was rare. To perform better, you just swam more.
A few years later I stopped swimming, I hurt my shoulder (rotator cuff strain). It’s hard not to see a link between my years of swimming and my injured shoulder. Swimming did not directly cause my injury but it did make me susceptible. I keep wondering if things would have been different if I had a S&C coach.
Would I have had a shoulder injury that still bothers me to this day?
I did see an Athletic Therapist for my rehab. But it has never been the same. Recently swim teams have added dedicated dry land training sessions. That doesn’t mean they’ve always hired a specialist, but they’ve realized there’s a limit to how much swimming you can do to improve performance.
I personally would have been skeptical of the need for a S&C coach. I wasn’t planning on competing, I was just swimming to maintain my health. I did not have all the knowledge I have now so I wouldn’t know why I would need one, let alone know what to look for in a good S&C coach.
Now I know it would have made a difference (as long as the S&C was good). I know that the chance of having my shoulder injury would have been low. It also seems like many other people came to this realization too.
Hiring S&C coaches became popular with teams then slowly spread to individual athletes and everything in between.
Some sports still haven’t fully embraced these specialists though. Probably for many reasons (including budget).
The goal of these specialists (in short) is to improve the athletes performance in the sport. The other goal is to reduce injuries (at least that’s our goal at OP).
We know that working toward minimizing your chance of injuries as well as improving your performance helps you more than just focusing on improving performance. Not all injuries are avoidable but some are. Many avoidable injuries means that you are compensating somewhere and lowering your performance potential.
There’s also a common misconception about personal trainers being the same as personal trainers. If you’re looking for help for a sport, then you want to search for a S&C specifically.
Luckily, we have one on staff (actually two if you count me). He’s good. Yes he’s my brother but I’d definitely hire him for my past swimmer self and hopefully avoid that shoulder injury (and knee injury).
We’re here to answer your questions if you’re interested in knowing more about how strength and conditioning can improve your performance.