Rest, recharge and refocus for 2020

In his last blog Jason Laird talks about winding down from Rio – and up to Tokyo

by Jason Laird

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It’s now been more than two weeks since I returned from the Olympic Games and, after enjoying a week’s break recharging the batteries, it’s now back to work as normal.

Refocusing after the Rio 2016 Olympics

For the Olympic team itself it will be a varied few months; for some athletes this was perhaps their last Olympic cycle. A few may look to retire from the sport and explore the next stage of their career. For others, this was their first taste of the Olympics and will therefore be taking a well-earned break (both physically and mentally) from the highs and lows of the realities of training, qualification and competition.

It’s always challenging to have a relatively long period of rest and then come back to the intense day-to-day training regime. I’m sure it will be a challenge for some but it will be imperative that all involved can refocus on our journey ahead over the next four years and support each other in the lead up to 2020 Games in Tokyo.

Preparations for the Tokyo 2020 Games

It sounds a long way off, to be talking about the Games in Tokyo, but our plans for 2020 had actually already begun way before we headed out to Rio. Within the British judo set up we have been well aware of the need for a crystal clear plan for the long term future development of our athletes, something that has culminated in the design of our ‘What it takes to win’ model.

This model has been designed through a working collaboration with all our British judo performance staff (the coaching/technical staff and sports science team including nutrition, physiotherapy, strength and conditioning and performance analysis). It gives us a blueprint of how best to work with our athletes in order to win at the top level in judo. On a personal level, this model allows me to refocus on my roles and responsibilities going forwards and quickly jolts me out of any potential post-Games hangover that might have set in on my return.

Proud to be a physiotherapist

As I come to the end of my blog series for the CSP discussing my experiences as a physiotherapist supporting Olympic and Paralympic athletes, I find myself reflecting on how proud I was to be involved in our record breaking Games success. Being a part of Team GB’s ‘Team behind the team’ was a pleasure throughout and I feel privileged to have been given the opportunity to help support our athletes in my role as physiotherapist. 

For those physiotherapists out there who are thinking about working in a sporting environment I would definitely recommend it. There are, of course, some sacrifices along the way (long and sometimes unsociable hours, for example) but with continued effort and perseverance, there can be, without doubt, many, many highs.

Jason Laird is lead physiotherapist at the British Judo Centre of Excellence and the English Insitute of Sport.

He is one of the physios supporting Team GB at the Rio Olympics. Follow him on Twitter @PhysioReel and read more of his reports for us from the Rio Olympics.

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