This week... we take a look back to share some insightful thoughts that MAT® Founder Greg Roskopf penned as a contributing author to variety of sports and physical fitness publications over the past decade. Our newest installment of Greg's articles highlights the impacts on "The Athlete's Edge". Greg wrote:
"Traditionally, sports performance training, injury care, and recovery for athletes have been provided by coaches, doctors, and physical therapists. Collectively, they have done their best in getting athletes prepared to compete again and back in the game after injuries. Nowadays with the highly competitive nature of sports, even at the younger age levels, it has become necessary to "step up" the quality and type of training, injury care, and recovery support to the next level to keep athletes "in the game".
Sports performance training has seen major advancements of late by making professional and Olympic-level athletic training available to athletes of all ages and abilities. It is now common within these training programs to see the fundamentals of sports including but not limited to: speed, explosive power, neuromuscular assessment, flexibility, stability and agility, being presented to a much younger, less experienced group of athletes. These fundamentals previously were not available to athletes until higher levels such as collegiate, Olympic, or professional programs. As such, we need to keep in mind the chance of injury still exists at all stages in training.
Contrary to what we have often heard, speed can be taught, especially in younger athletes because their bodies are still developing. In light of today's highly competitive sports environment and the fact that most coaches have little training in the areas of prevention, injury care, and recovery, specialty training from advanced coaches can help give young athletes that "edge" to keep them playing competitively longer.
Thankfully, in the world of training and recovery there has been a huge breakthrough. This breakthrough is called Muscle Activation Techniques® (MAT®). MAT® is the missing link within the exercise world. It is a technique designed to prepare the body to be more efficient in training and athletic performance.
In order to reach optimal performance capabilities, an athlete is forced to train at a high level of intensity. Because of this, there is always the potential for injury. Some athletes may be predisposed to an injury, due to muscular imbalances that place increased stress on their joints and tissues. These athletes can be an injury waiting to happen. When they train at a high level the pre-existing muscular imbalances are magnified. At the point that the body can no longer handle the internal and external stresses being placed on it, breakdown occurs in the form of injury. Take for comparison the example of driving a car with bad alignment. The faster you drive it, the faster the tires are going to wear out. The body functions in much the same way. If an athlete has muscular imbalances, the abnormal alignment results in increased stress on the joints and muscles. The harder the athlete pushes their body, the faster it is going to breakdown.
The goal of MAT® is to correct the problem before an injury occurs. An injury is just a "symptom" of a deeper issue and within the lens of MAT® we do not see the symptom as the problem. It is simply the outward expression of abnormal stress on a particular area of the body, due to muscular imbalances. Conventional therapy will typically treat the symptom and follow a generic protocol that is not individualized for each injury case. This means that the cause of the injury is not being addressed and the client is being placed in a general treatment plan. The end result is that the athlete does not heal or they go on to experience a more severe injury.
MAT® not only plays a roll in helping to prevent injuries, but can also help speed up the rehabilitation process. By balancing the muscular system, MAT® provides an improved environment for healing and this can potentially allow the athlete to return to athletics faster and with improved athletic capabilities.
As word has spread about MAT® several professional sports teams have opted to use it as an important part of their athlete’s treatment regimens. Current MAT® clients include the Denver Broncos, Denver Nuggets, and other Major League sports teams that are advocates of MAT® and the benefits listed above."