How to get involved and travel with Australian Sports Teams
Have you ever wondered how to get involved with Australian Sports Teams?
In this article aims to give you some insight into how members of the 2017 Australian Rowing Medical team got involved and key things to bear in mind if you want to be selected.
One of my goals as a remedial massage therapists has always been to travel the world with Australian Sports Teams. Throughout my career I have been lucky enough to travel internationally with Rowing, Swimming and Cycling.
I took some time to chat to Sarah (Physio) Aleem (Physio) and Kevyn (Sports Doctor) members of the Australian Rowing Medical Team at our Pre-Depeparture Camp in Sydney before we head off to Europe for World Champs.
Kev - "Is this the first Australian Team that you've travelled with and how did you get involved? Yes! It is my first. Part of my sports medicine training program is to be involved with many different sporting teams at local, national and international events. They sent out a mass email to our sports medicine training group about the opportunity to be involved with the Australian Rowing Team.
I applied. and got the job! Having the right qualifications is important as well as putting yourself out there and just applying!
Sarah "Same question!" Yes! I did a professional development course run by Rowing Australia (RA) 2 years ago put on for rowing service providers. After that I sent in my CV & expression of interest to Rowing Australia.
Sarah: Did you know the person to send it to? Yes. I sent it to the head physio at the time (who I met at the RA development course). Unfortunately they left the position. When the new head physio and doctor were appointed I made sure I found out who they were and resent my expression of interest. Persistence and building relationships with the right people is everything!
Aleem: How long have you been involved with national teams and how did you get involved? I started touring in 2013 with rowing. This is my 5th tour with an Australian Rowing Team. I have also worked with Tennis Australia, the Youth Olympics and Development level AFL and Soccer. I got the opportunity through working in a practice that treats a lot of rowers. I wanted to be involved as it's an interesting sport. Finding a practice that currently works with the type of people you want to be involved with can help if you're looking to make a team.
Group: What do you think made the difference when you applying to be part of a National Sports Med Team?
Sarah - My goal was to travel with the Aussie Rowing Team as I love the sport. I set myself a goal and did what it took to get there. It helps that I know the sport. I rowed myself so have a deeper level of understanding about the sport than others who have not participated in it. I was proactive and set up programs in my home state with schools doing rowing screenings. I organised with my clinic to set up rowing sponsorships with members of the Western Australian Sports Institute (WAIS). Through working with local teams you come across the people that are involved at those next levels and they come across you. It's all about building those relationships and getting the right people to know who you are.
Aleem: Yes, Working with local teams and the more the better! You start to understand what it takes to work on a team. There is more involved than just being a good practitioner. It's all about making sure you're a team player and understanding that you are one piece of the puzzle. The team starts to come unstuck when you start to push past your boundaries as a practitioner. We all have to work together and communicate. Through working with local teams the right people start to see that you are a good team player, that you have the right skills sets and would fit into the team culture they are trying to create. Obviously having the right qualifications is important but it's the people you get to know that make the difference.
Kevyn: I agree with the other guys. Communicating is also really important. When you are referring someone who will potentially make a team or someone who is currently on a team send them to the physios that their state institute recommends. They will usually have access to the national team's database of medical history. This helps with continuity of treatment for the athletes, particularly if they are heading overseas. Make sure you email the practitioner for continuity of care but also so you start to build the relationship.
Group: Once you make a team what do you think is important to know and do?
Understand that it is a team environment and there are going to be lots of different personalities. It's your job to make it work.
Learn from the people who have been doing it for long then you! There will usually be a few people who with more experience in the sport than you. Don't be afraid to ask questions and learn as much as you can.
Know your role in the team. Make sure you don't overstep the boundaries of someone else's job otherwise the team can fall apart.
Communicate -Good communication is the key to learning on a team, It;s also important to keep the team up to date with what is going on in the athlete group.
Take something away from experience - Learn as much as you can from the good experiences and even the not so great ones!
Expect the unexpected and go the flow! Not everything runs to plan and you have to learn to be patient. When you're working as part of a travelling team anything can happen and you have to be adaptable to the situation.