NASA goes to great lengths to develop the physical-fitness of astronauts. As part of this program, astronauts go through exercise counter-measures training to help deal with the effects of being in space, specifically dealing with micro-gravity. Exercise is used in this capacity prior to a space-mission and for a lengthy period after to help the astronaut recovery from space-stress.
So, why don't we have a similar mindset to developing athletes? For sure, we're full onboard with the physicality part of athletic development. Recently, sports-science has emerged to begin to look at what's going on "under the hood" or the physiological aspect of training and competing (however, too often this is not much more than a strength coach with a GPS-type system). Offering athletes a counter-measures program geared towards dealing with the effects of both training and competing I think is rare. Yet, it should be a built-in component to the training program.
What do I mean by counter-measures? I'm talking about pathways to counter-effect the stressors of training and competing. How do we help athletes maintain a level of function that is a somewhat measureable base of productivity through different cycles of the year? Sports-psychology is helpful, no doubt. But, what about exercise-wise, could we develop a program that better helps the body deal with training and to foster recovery and viability? I think so. Perhaps, this is called pre-hab to some degree, but pre-hab has to be more than athletes walking around doing hip-flexion movements and/or striking yoga poses.
Another tool that is quite readily available but very, very underused is the swimming pool. The natural healing effects of being in the water are a reality. Unfortunately, this has transpired to athletes reluctantly standing in cold water. Great, but its debatable the extent that this is really helpful compared to a movement-based program in the water and/or even swimming. Movement is such a key in restoration and using the water positively effects blood-pressure in addition to natural anti-inflammatory effects of being submerged in the water (regardless of the water temperature). A warm-water therapeutic, temperature-ranged pool probably offers the best return both physically and psychologically for athletes. Programs such as Ai Chi are highly untapped in this regard.
Are you using all your resources to promote counter-measures to training, to competing?