Athlete Rehab TechniquesCategoriesAthlete Development Coaches PLP Podcast

#290 – The Crucial Role of Rehabilitation in High-Performance Sport


In the dynamic world of sports, ensuring the swift and successful return of athletes from injuries is an art as much as it is a science. Jackson Dennis, Senior Strength & Conditioning Coach at Fremantle FC, sheds light on the intricacies of athlete rehabilitation. Understanding the key phrase “athlete rehab techniques” is paramount for those aspiring to excel in sports science and conditioning. This guide explores the pillars of successful rehabilitation, delving into the planning, loading strategies, the importance of functional anatomy, and the technological advancements shaping the field.

Highlights from the episode:

  • Key pillars of a successful return to play rehab program
  • How to load specific tissues in a rehab process
  • Importance of learning functional anatomy
  • How the rehab technology has evolved over the years
  • Key traits to prepare you for a rehab coach role

The Art of Planning

Successful athlete rehabilitation is not a happenstance but a result of meticulous planning. Dennis emphasizes the significance of a well-structured system and plan. Daily reviews, as highlighted by the coach, play a pivotal role in assessing progress and making necessary adjustments. It’s the continuous cycle of planning, executing the plan, and reviewing outcomes that distinguish successful rehabilitation programs.

Navigating Variations in Rehab

Not all injuries are created equal, and this truth resonates profoundly in the realm of athlete rehabilitation. Dennis stresses the importance of planning for variations in the rehab process, considering diverse injuries such as bone stress, joint issues, muscle, and muscular tendons junction. Successful rehab, as it turns out, is not a one-size-fits-all approach but a tailored strategy for each unique case.

Strategic Loading

The art of loading injured tissues strategically is a skill that sets rehabilitation specialists apart. Using the example of hamstring injuries, Dennis discusses the delicate balance of introducing isometric loads, determining the right time for a return to running, and progressing through various stages of rehab. This nuanced approach, rooted in experience, is key to optimizing tissue stimulation and fostering a successful recovery.

Functional Anatomy’s Role

Understanding functional anatomy is a cornerstone in the athlete rehabilitation process. Dennis reflects on the evolution of his knowledge over eight years at Fremantle FC, citing exposure to diverse injuries as a catalyst for growth. The ability to identify what structures are inserted into a specific area, like the navicular, informs decisions on when and how to load, ensuring a safe and effective rehabilitation journey.

Technological Advancements in AFL Reconditioning

Technology has revolutionized the landscape of AFL reconditioning. Dennis highlights the shift towards objectivity, citing tools like dual Force plates, dynamometry, and baseline data for comprehensive athlete assessment. This objective approach, a luxury in elite sports, provides valuable insights into an athlete’s condition, enabling more precise and effective rehabilitation strategies.

Aspiring in the Field:

For those aspiring to dive into the world of athlete rehabilitation, Dennis offers valuable advice. Experience, regardless of the level, is key. Whether at a sub-elite or amateur level, actively participating in the rehabilitation process exposes individuals to a myriad of cases. This hands-on experience becomes an invaluable teacher, preparing future professionals for the complexity and diversity they may encounter in the field.


Unveiling the secrets of successful athlete rehabilitation requires a combination of planning, strategic loading, anatomical knowledge, and embracing technological advancements. Jackson Dennis, drawing from his extensive experience, provides a roadmap for those aiming to excel in the intricate field of sports science and conditioning. As the sports landscape evolves, mastering athlete rehab techniques becomes not just a skill but a necessity for those dedicated to ensuring the peak performance and well-being of athletes.

People mentioned:

  • Glenn Stewart
  • Shane Lehane
  • Jason Webber
  • Dan Zaknich
  • Phill Merriman
  • Jordy Stares
  • Simon Harries
  • Jordy Stares
  • Marshall Stockden
  • Simon Harries


Listen: iTunes | Spotify

Unlocking Athletic PotentialCategoriesAthlete Development Coaches PLP Podcast

#287 – The Most Effective Methods to Monitor Load in Team Sport Athletes

In the dynamic world of sports science, the concept of “Unlocking Athletic Potential” takes center stage, reshaping how athletes’ potential is unlocked. James Hanisch, Managing Director of Asia Pacific at Hawkins Dynamic, shares profound insights into this transformative approach. As we delve into his perspectives, it becomes clear that “Unlocking Athletic Potential” is not just a technique but a philosophy that shapes athlete development.

Welcome to another episode of “Prepare Like a Pro.” In this insightful installment, our host Jack Mclean engages in a compelling conversation with James Hanisch, the Managing Director of Asia Pacific at Hawkins Dynamic. Together, they delve into the intricacies of load management in team sport athletes.

James Hanisch, a seasoned expert in sports science and technology, provides a wealth of knowledge and expertise in this episode. The central theme revolves around “The Most Effective Methods to Monitor Load in Team Sport Athletes,” addressing the challenges, solutions, and technologies that can optimize athletic performance and prevent injuries. As we explore this captivating discussion, the recurring theme of “Unlocking Athletic Potential” underscores the significance of this innovative approach in maximizing athletes’ capabilities.

Highlights from the episode:

  • How does load monitoring look like for team-based athletes when the budget is not a constraint
  • Modified RSI and urine gravity testing for load management
  • Common challenges coaches face when integrating the latest technology into load management strategies and actionable solutions
  • How sports scientists starting out can make a big impact
  • Key metrics he likes to look at for athlete development

Whether you’re a coach, athlete, or sports enthusiast, this episode provides invaluable insights into the ever-evolving world of sports science and athlete preparation. Join us as we explore the frontiers of performance optimization and safety in team sports.

Low Monitoring Unveiled

Hanisch begins by unraveling the layers of low monitoring, defining it as a holistic approach to understanding athletes’ needs. This concept becomes especially crucial when a sports scientist enters a new domain or club. The journey involves grasping key fundamentals, where Hanisch sheds light on his experiences with the Philadelphia Eagles, highlighting the owner’s commitment to progressive approaches in sports science.

Methodologies that Matter

Diving deeper into the practical application of low monitoring, Hanisch shares a comprehensive list of methodologies employed at the Eagles. From HRV and specific gravity testing to daily weigh-ins, nutrition assessments, questionnaires, force plates, and GPS tracking, the array of tools used is extensive. Notably, he introduces terms like urine specific gravity (USG) and modified reactive strength index (RSI), providing valuable metrics for assessing neuromuscular fatigue.

The Traffic Light System: A Game-Changer

A standout feature of the Hawkins Dynamic system, as highlighted by Hanisch, is the traffic light system. This simple yet effective approach uses color-coded signals to guide actions. When deviations, represented by red lights, occur, it triggers a reevaluation of the athlete’s condition. This real-time responsiveness adds a layer of precision to athlete management, ensuring that interventions align with individual needs.

Challenges in Sports Science Reporting

Transitioning to challenges faced in the field, Hanisch emphasizes the importance of streamlined reporting. He advocates for one-page reports that are not only simple but also logically structured. The flow of information, from team-level to positional and individual details, creates a comprehensive understanding. Hanisch’s practical tips extend beyond reporting, urging sports practitioners to recognize the value of their time and the impact of dedication in building a successful career.

The Power of Presence and Dedication

Drawing from his own journey, Hanisch underscores the significance of being present and dedicated. Whether in an internship or a professional role, the value of time cannot be underestimated. The willingness to go above and beyond, from asking questions to taking on additional responsibilities, leaves a lasting impression. This, Hanisch suggests, goes a long way in securing not just a job but building a reputation that opens doors in the competitive sports industry.

Metrics: Guiding Athlete Development

As the discussion unfolds, the focus shifts to key metrics in athlete development. Hanisch poses a fundamental question – what is the end goal? Defining this objective becomes pivotal in selecting metrics. The conversation spans across areas such as fatigue, performance development, progression over time, and player development. Volume, intensity, and frequency emerge as crucial factors, with the modified reactive strength index (RSI) standing out as a valuable tool for tracking neuromuscular fatigue over time.

Navigating the Testing Landscape

Hanisch’s insights into testing frequency align with the purpose behind the assessments. Whether it’s weekly, bi-weekly, or sporadic, the chosen frequency influences the selection of metrics. Practical tips for navigating this landscape include understanding the reasons behind testing. Is it to assess fatigue, track development, or support player progression? The clarity in goals directs sports scientists to choose the right metrics and testing intervals, creating a meaningful and actionable testing strategy.

Conclusion: Elevating Sports Science Practices

In conclusion, James Hanisch’s journey through the realms of low monitoring, reporting challenges, and athlete metrics offers a roadmap for elevating sports science practices. The fusion of holistic approaches, strategic reporting, and purposeful metric selection shapes a paradigm where athletes’ potential is not just monitored but meticulously nurtured. As the sports science landscape continues to evolve, embracing insights from seasoned professionals like Hanisch becomes paramount in unlocking the true potential of every athlete.

People mentioned:

  • Steven Schwer
  • Andrew Mcleod
  • Phill Knight
  • Kobe Bryant
  • Neil Craig
  • Simon Sinek
  • Jason Lake
  • Darren Burgess


Listen: iTunes | Spotify