The only advice I have been given on massage is that if you want your athletes to be successful, you have to massage. I have a few questions about how to massage during different situations.

  1. Pre-practice/competition. From what I have read, this should be done with faster strokes.

  2. Recovery days. Longer more relaxing massage.

  3. Injury… be careful what you do so you don’t hurt the athlete more.

  4. Sore muscles vs tight muscles???

1: Yes. Not too deep and include a lot of shaking of the muscles (rapidly back and forth)
2: This is the time for deeper work.
3: While it is normal to work towards the heart with massage strokes, when you work around an injury, you initially work TOWARDS the injury from above as well as below (and not on!) so that you don’t stretch the knitting fibres apart.
4: Sore muscles may respond best to flushing, while tight muscles may respond better to deeper work (though not always). While there is always an optimal tone, muscles can have higher or lower tone overall at times as long as there isn’t a variability within the muscles (part tight with the rest loose). Then you need to work to even it out or risk injury.
Remember, the more often you do massage, the easier it gets to stay on top of problems, and familiarity with the athlete’s tone will guide you in assigning work.

Charlie, can you clarify what you mean by “tone of muscle”? Thanks

That’s the ratio of fibres that are “fired” vs those that are not “fired” and are therefore presently available to work. You can read a lot more about this subject in the E-books (perhaps the easiest place to start is with Speed Trap).


Thank-you for your time. The information was very useful. I have a 17 year old male who last practice ran 100m in 10.42hand time accelerating up to 50m, and then cutting the engines and relaxing for the last 50m. I am confident he will run 10.40 FAT this year. We did our first outdoor speed endurance practice today. He did a flying 120m and I timed him from the 100m mark in 9.61 sec. I figure it is time to get more serious with his recovery. Thanks again.

herb, you must mean brant. pretty quick kid. 2nd at bc highschools i believe in 11.10? i only got to race him once last year. you should have gotten him in some indoor meets, he must have a pretty good 60.

i would suggest putting him into bc juniors to go to nats their instead of juveniles. it is a very fast field this year and would be great competition for him (hank palmer 10.41, richard adu-bobie 10.57 opener this year, jarid connouton 10.77 opener, pierre hans horricious 10.5x)

i ran fast their last year and i owe it to the great competition, there arent to many bc 100m runners left and with stacked ontario/quebec fields it would be a great idea to run your athlets at the national level in my opinion.

Brandt (with a “d”) ran 10.99 at BCs last year for the 100m (2nd place, but maybe the 11.10 was for the final, I wasn’t there) and 22.03 in the 200m for first place. He came in 18th at World Youths last year (injured…my fault). He wants to go to Olympic trials this year so we will see what happens as far as championship meets.

What kind of level of performance do you think massage would become essential? Ideally it would be given to athletes of any level, but some cannot afford it obviously.

What are the main problems without massage? Is it just slower recovery/and or greater chance of injury, and/or plateuing out?

Hard to present a hard and fast rule, but, the faster you are the more important it becomes. It shortens recovery and increases the liklyhood of continuing to improve after you might otherwise plateau.

These 4 points Charlie posted give more about what you need to know than a whole book on sports massage. If budget is a limitation, the last part of point 4 is a major issue. Find a good therapist and stick with them. Soon they will become familiar with your tone and you get a bigger bang for your buck. It really sucks when you pay preimum money for a bad massage that dosen’t hold.

From a practioner point of view, it takes little time to become familiar with the tonus of any specific athlete. So find someone who generally has good touch, and give them a little time to become familiar with you.