In 2021 I will be launching this new program for self-funded amateur elite athletes to provide them access to sports massage on the way to their next big event, competition or goal. What’s is the ASP all about?
Being an amateur elite athlete is not easy, it comes with little to none of the privileges of professional athletes. While professional athletes have funding to cover all the costs for their own health and support teams, amateur elite athletes typically have to entirely self fund their training and recovery. That means most will need to have a full time time job that will pay enough to get them the clothing , equipment, facility access, food (you have to eat a lot and eat well for optimal performance), recovery treatments (access to physios, doctors, therapists), travel (competitions are rarely on your doorstep so planes, trains, automobiles need to be paid for) and into competitions (you don’t get paid to show up. You pay to show up!).
That job means less time for training and a lot of very early mornings or late nights and weekends. How do you juggle work, sleep training, family, friends, a life and competing at elite level to qualify for the Olympics?
Let me summarise. It’s tough. Really bloody tough.
What happens is that many amateur elite athletes constantly juggle what they ideally need to compete well and what they can afford. Many skip seeking out recovery help such as sports massage as this might be the “luxury” item they just have to save money on this month or the whole season.
That is a huge alarm bell for me. Training for competition at these levels, under stressful conditions (working, no funding, self-supporting) means recovery is even more essential to sustained performance. It is not a luxury. Cutting back or skipping it is dangerous and how we lose many brilliant young athletes before they make it to the international or Olympic level. They simply can’t afford to be a competing athlete.
A few years ago the UK Sports Massage Association introduced the Road2Success Athlete Sponsorship Programme where qualified sports massage therapists could sponsor unfunded athletes by providing their services at reduced rates. It is a great initiative and even though I am not in the UK I want the same concept to be available here in Berlin.
I will profile the athletes in the next news posts so you can follow their stories. If you are an athlete and interested to know more about the program or want to ask for support, please do contact me. I’m always happy to help or advise, email@example.com
Look out for coverage of the ASP 2021 athletes on instagram @laura.sport_stt