Often players who get injured become disappointed. It is not uncommon for a player to come back after an injury with lower physical fitness and, most importantly, diminished confidence.
To my opinion, injury period could be an opportunity for the player to become better. For instance, a player with a leg’s injury could do more work on upper body strength. He could even work more on the uninjured leg.
Indeed, studies show an increase in strength within the untrained limb following unilateral strength training in the opposite. This phenomenon is called cross education and it could be due to neuromuscular adaptations.
Injured player could also work more on his skills. Indeed, recent data provided the first evidence for certain brain’s area plasticity with cross-education (Hortobágyi et al., 2011). Thus, it is speculated that cross-education could also be applied in motor skills development and this might have applications in sports.
For more reading
- Lee and Carroll. Cross education: possible mechanisms for the contralateral effects of unilateral resistance training. Sports Med 37(1):1-14, 2007
- Fimland et al. Neural adaptations underlying cross-education after unilateral strength training. Eur J Appl Physiol 107(6):723-30, 2009
- Gabriel et al. Neural adaptations to resistive exercise: mechanisms and recommendations for training practices. Sports Med 36(2):133-49, 2006
- Hortobágyi et al. Interhemispheric plasticity in humans. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 43(7):1188-99, 2011.