The ingredients of staying on top of your game

The ingredients of staying on top of your game

By Andile and Mandla Dladla

Being an athletic trainer and lifestyle performance coach means that the biggest sacrifice is keeping in mind that you have to support your athlete to achieve their goals, their ambitions, dreams and aspirations.

What Adam Quigley means is that as a professional athlete, if LA Galaxy are working on someone privately and whatever their goals are, he has to make sure that that context remains important to his treatment and rehab protocols or whatever it is that he is performing to support the athlete.

If for example the Galaxy are looking for an athlete to simply run a marathon, then that is fine. But if they are looking to play in a match by next week then it completely shifts the context.

“That shifts the general plan because we are then looking to tune into the physical aspect of the body,” says Quigley. “What information do we need to be fed with? What strength gains are we looking for, strength deficiencies or movement patterns are we evaluating to shift and support the athlete in?

“From an entertainer’s perspective or with an artist performer, that world at often times what we are looking for is lifestyle management, nutrition, keeping on track with sleep patterns, sufficient exercise and how do we manage a touring schedule as well as factoring in day-offs.”

A normal day for Quigley at LA Galaxy starts with meetings that leads to open minds and communication with medical, performance and coaching staff where they often discuss player availability, what they are up to, how they are feeling, their wellness scores, should they train in full or do they need to modify anything?

“When the players go out to training we then watch and analyse biomechanics carefully, watch training loads so that they get numbers on the field as well as player testing. This is basically where you have a player returning from an injury then they got a clear set of how long they will run and be part of that session while preparing them for the next level of their rehabilitation.

“You have to also monitor how the players are feeling and hands on manual therapy including some lunch to support them in their recovery programme and additional performance team meetings where we get to discuss how the day progressed so that would help us in making sure that we are on the same page with contacts for the week, on what days and if we are keeping the goal of the club and medical team at the forefront of our decision making”

His major roles which is critically important at every training session and match day is a cue care and the safety of the athletes. Any injury that occurs or any type of cardiac issue that may arise or prevented lies squarely on his shoulders.

“We make sure that players get the correct amount of hydration be it water or energy drinks like Herbalife 24 CR7 Drive which is what we prescribe and make sure that the athletes are properly fuelled when working alongside the team’s dietitian in order to get the athletes performing to their maximum.

“Another way in which the team and I work with athletes is that we are with the players daily and so we have learned all forms of tendencies and what supports an athlete in a certain performance. Do they need a performance drink, food or a warm up that really gets them loosened up and activated where they are focused and ready to roll?”

From a preparation perspective, Adam explains that the most important aspect is to get a proper pre-season.

“We always need to do research to see if that plan is the right one that the players need to be at the best of their abilities. In the off season it’s a lot of planning of looking at injury availability and seeing what was bothering people and then plan ahead to ensure we avoid same mistakes.”

Being a part of the Major Soccer League( MLS) especially in sports medicine and also as a player and coach brings with it a lot of opportunities and to prove yourself as a professional athlete as well as a business requires a lot of hard work without a break.

As athletes grow into the professional sporting world, there’s massive opportunities for marketability. The league is special for giving young players the exposure to play amongst some of the best which then assists to making them good players for the future.

What sets Quigley apart is the love he has for people and connecting, learning and hearing about an athlete’s journey of life and what makes them tick. That monumental experiences in their lives which have made them who they are. He feels if more people looked at each other in a more supportive role then we would all be successful.

“The USA women’s soccer team has achieved incredible which leaves me lost for words. They have created something especial for the past 10 years that I’ve spent with a few of them and sharing a space with the likes of Abby Wambach a few years ago.

“One of the greatest lessons from my numerous encounters with her was: ‘never relax until the job is done.’

“She is driven by the mantra: “I am going to do whatever it takes to be the very best and not just be the best but also make the people around me the best that they can be” and to me that’s the mentality of a true champion.

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