I caught up with one of Speed Works lead therapists, Mark Hokan, to quiz him about working trackside in an elite environment. Here’s what he had to say:
What is the importance of trackside therapy?
Trackside therapy gives the therapist an idea of where an athletes body is at. This works on a number of levels. The previous session they have had, what training block they are in, what session they have that day or the following day etc. The main idea of track-side support is to access and give feedback to the coach.
Athletes can feel but they can’t explain. Therapists can explain but can’t see. Therefore, communication between all parties so everyone is on the same page is key. The main aim is to ensure the athlete has a smooth session no matter what it takes. This could mean receiving treatment before, during or after and always checking in with the coach. Behind the scenes there remains a constant line of communication. Something we here, at Speed Works call the ‘Support Triad’.
How often should a fit, healthy athlete receive treatment.
It’s Important not to over treat if the body is in a good place. Treat at the end of a session to calm the body down and get an idea of where they are at so you have an idea of where they will be for the next day. Report into the coach and S&C team so everyone is clear on the athlete’s fitness, which in turn can determine what session they are set too. We prefer the term, continual assessment rather than treatment.
How important is your role into making an athlete faster?
My role is as important as all the other support members at Speed Works. It’s very much a team environment. Therapy alone would make an athlete fit and healthy but not necessarily fast. It’s a group effort from all team members. No, one single area is more important than another. Everything is interlinked in what we call a Support Triad. Once this is in place, an athlete will become faster.