Avalanche of injuries before the European Championship: what are the reasons and what is the advantage of the Lithuanian national team?

This European Championship was supposed to be an impressive performance, but for some teams, things have been seriously marred by injuries.

Some of the players dropped out even before the warm-up matches, and some started to pick up injuries later and thus made the fans gasp. Tornika Shengeliai broke his shoulder, Sergio Llull injured a muscle, Danilo Gallinaris was stopped by a knee injury, Tomaš Satoransky and Vasilije Micičius have ankle problems, although the latter’s situation is better, and T.Satoransky also has a chance to return.

Just before the trip to Germany, anxiety could have entered the camp of the Slovenian national team when Luka Dončić twisted his ankle, but luckily everything turned out well and he returned to the floor in the same match against the Germans. All this is only part of the team’s worries.

A flurry of injuries – a coincidence or a trend? Some basketball players went through a really huge load of the year: they played an intense season in the Euroleague or the National Basketball Association (NBA), rushed to the national team, had a “window” match already in July, failed in control matches, and again – in the selection of the FIBA ​​World Cup, and still have the European Championship ahead of them. championship.

Krepsinis.net spoke with the physical training coach of the Vilnius “Ryto” team, Tadus Jackūnas, who admitted that such intensity is not suitable for all players and the lack of rest can be felt not only now or during the European Championship, but especially after arriving at the clubs.

He also revealed that one minus can become an advantage for the Lithuanian national team – they are not the strongest opponents. When you don’t have to jostle with top-level teams on the field during training, the chances of injuries also decrease.

– Some basketball players had a particularly heavy load, which accumulated over the last year. With that in mind, are the injuries consistent, or do they still surprise you a bit?

– Situations should be looked at individually, because injuries are different. I thought about it. For example, Shengelia is someone who always plays big minutes and goes to the national team during the season. He ended the season quite late, plus he had shoulder problems. I was in space, how he flew after the match against CSKA and played for Sakartvel for 35-38 minutes the very next day, maybe it was even a double Euroleague week. It’s unbelievable, I don’t know how the body can recover – it won’t recover. It is visible now. What makes Gallinari different is that it’s not clear what he did over the summer.

Looking at the schedule, yes, there are a lot of games in a short period of time. In order to reduce the risk, you have to be serious enough to play sports in the summer, not necessarily basketball. What I like about the Lithuanian national team is that we had relatively weaker opponents, it may be more difficult to prepare tactically, but this way you can control the minutes and introduce the players. It was also possible to limit John’s minutes with Dom. Other national teams had stronger opponents, you still want to win, no matter if it’s a friendly match. It’s related.

– Shoulder, muscle, ankle, other parts of the legs – are some of these or other injuries more specific as a result of fatigue?

– Of the ones listed, this is probably the ankle. It’s a contact sport, it’s impossible to fully protect some things, because it depends not only on you, but also on others. Looking at the preparation phases, both in the national team and in the teams, ligament injuries are a very common thing, which was also the case with the Lithuanians – Mindaugas and Eigirdas. This happens when players try to go for sprints, jumps at maximum speed. Meanwhile, the ankle is such a risky thing throughout the season because it’s a contact sport. Llull injured a muscle, but he also had those injuries, the question is how he prepared in the summer. All teams prepare, do exercises, but we pay a lot of attention to load planning – when to run at full speed, when not to do it, when with tapes, when without. When there is no time, you force these things, and then injuries occur.

– With this amount of matches, is it possible to avoid or significantly reduce the likelihood of injuries with proper training planning, is there no chance?

– Physical fitness is only one small part. The best prevention of injuries is when the team works well together, agreeing when the physical training coaches have good contact with the manager. coach. If there is no contact and Mr. the coach will work according to himself, sooner or later things will come out. Nowadays, national teams devote little time to pure physical training – maybe 3 days. It is impossible to prepare players in such a time. You have to watch what they do on the field, what the training intensity is.

– Our national team started training more than a month ago. Given that time frame, what do you think is the optimal number of games for players’ bodies?

– This is such an open question, one can have different opinions. After seeing our schedule, I was perhaps a little surprised that the number of matches is large enough, whether there will be enough training, which is also needed, but now seeing how we are entering the championship, it looks good. Much depends not so much on the number as on the opponents. We were able to try certain players, not be afraid to let someone play more or less. Let’s face it, some of the opponents were not at our level. The Lithuanians looked at the match maybe a little more like training and solved the questions there. I liked it. 9 games in this time was a lot, the players have to come ready, but if the opponents are capable and you have to push the main players, it would be a different story.

– In an optimistic scenario, how much time should the players have for rest after the season before arriving at the national team camp? Knowing that there will be no time to rest after the championship either.

– Looking at Sabonis, he had a lot of time for both rest and preparation. The situations are very different. What about our former player Arno, I know him – he will rest for 1-2 days and play sports because that is his habit, it does not cause him any discomfort, it is a pleasure for him, I just know that he will not go to the basketball court. Others may need more time.

– Okay, and if we were to be specific – what kind of break would be needed purely from the basketball court?

– I tell the players that they can safely not touch the ball for at least a month. Still, they spend their time actively, doing some kind of sport. I look more at psychological rest, which is very important. I don’t play myself, but during those 10 months you want to break away from the routine and not pick up that ball. The body will automatically recover, because you will not stress it in the same way. The seasons are quite long, but I ask the players to take at least 2 weeks off from the ball, this does not mean that you need to lie down and watch series for that long.

– Sometimes the NBA’s procedure of allowing players to join later can raise debates, but looking at what is happening with injuries now, maybe this seems like a logical and quite calculated step?

– I think it’s smart. Let’s be honest, those players are of a higher level, and they don’t need as much preparation. If you know that basketball players play sports and only join later – everything is fine. It was the same with John and Dom, who worked separately. They have fully prepared and their risk of injury is lower. I’m all for it, but if a player doesn’t do anything for months, which is hard to believe these days, then the risk of injury will increase. If you are a pro, that rule is good.

– What kind of headache do you think will be for the clubs after the championship, when the players will arrive after giving a lot of energy in the summer and will have to play healthy for a long and intense season? How much will the risk of injury increase?

– This thing is always a headache. We’ll see how many minutes each gets. If you have big minutes, you will have a separate program when you join the team, I definitely wouldn’t throw such a player into contact training right away, even though he would probably look very good in them. His form would be good and maybe even outstanding. But the season lasts 10 months, so it is better to apply a separate program. Of course, everything depends on the man. of the coach’s wishes, so that he agrees to it and does not force it. After all, the player will not be able to refuse, he will have to do his job.

“Long break” – a look at all the European Championship teams: how the Lithuanians can stop Dončići, who lost all the matches, who did not play friendlies, the most interesting players and who can surprise and who can disappoint


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