How I supported the GB Maxibasketball team at the European Championships
Here at Cryojuvenate, we are always interested in what our staff get up to outside of their roles as Sports / Rehabilitation Sports Therapists and are equally impressed to see all their achievements. Today we have been talking to our very own Miya Steele to find out more about her recent trip to Spain in support of the GB Maxibasketball team.
If you’re like me, you are probably wondering what exactly is this sport? It’s got to be ‘Basketball’ right?
Yes, correct – actually it consists of a group of competitive & retired players from the basketball leagues who would like to continue playing high-level competitions against players in their age group (5-year increments from 30yrs +). So basically a whole league of players with approx 350,000 currently active Maxibasketball players worldwide. Let’s find out a little more from Miya…..
What is Maxibasketball?
GB Maxibasketball is a national team programme consisting of both male and female teams aged between 35 – 55. The teams are made up of ex-national and international players who want to continue their development in the Basketball world. GB Maxibasketball is recognised as an elite sports team who competes in European and World Championships whilst representing Great Britain. It is a forever-growing programme that is continually succeeding in the sporting industry today.
During the lead-up to the European Championships held in Malaga, the teams were meeting once a month to train over the whole weekend. It was here when the therapists and I would help individuals with new and existing injuries, helping them get back to their fittest before the competition. This included taping, strapping, massage, and treatment plans for the players to stick to in between each training session.
In fact, the next World Maxibasketball Championships (the 6th) will take place in the city of Mar del Plata, Argentina, from August 25 to September 3, 2023 – Check this out for a look at what they deliver – Let’s Play!
I am a fully qualified Sports Massage Therapist and am currently studying to be a qualified Personal Trainer. My goal is to be able to help people in any which way I can to ensure they live happily with pain-free movement. Outside of working at Cryojuvenate, I work closely with the first team at my local rugby club Eastbourne Rugby Football Club. I provide treatments for the players during training and pitch-side on game days for a wide variety of acute and chronic injuries and I am also a part of the physical therapy team for the GB Maxibasketball team.
Growing up I have always been interested in sport, I attended ballet and modern lessons from a very young age and continued to do so up until leaving Secondary School. When at school, I was in the netball team where I played centre and I was also a part of the dance team, competing in competitions and performing at Disneyland Paris in front of a very large crowd.
I really enjoyed sprinting especially the 100m sprints and the girl’s relay races. During my A-levels, I became very interested in the anatomy of the body and how it recovered from injury, it was this interest that sparked my further education in Sports Massage and Rehabilitation.
To gain as much experience and knowledge as possible I joined the Eastbourne Rugby Club working alongside another physio treating the players. I learnt a lot and thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the team, seeing the injuries along with their aetiology (“the investigation or attribution of the cause or reason for something, often expressed in terms of historical or mythical explanation”).
Seeing how an injury occurs can massively help the diagnostic process and determine how to treat it. I was then introduced to GB Maxibasketball through the physio at the rugby club, they needed more therapists and felt I would be a great addition to the team.
Going to the GB Maxibasketball Europen Championships
In June 2022, I travelled to Spain with GB Maxibasketball to compete in the European Championships. Across 8 days the teams competed in 6 games in the hope to become European champions (read on to learn more about the results).
It was a very intense 8 days for the players and being a part of the medical team meant that I had to look after the players not just on the court but off-court too. I was managing the 45+ age group.
What to look out for
The players were solely focused on the games and the medical team was solely focused on the players.
- Dehydration: key signs of dehydration and heatstroke were crucial, due to the very high temperatures.
- Sunburn: we had to warn the team, as this could massively affect what treatment could be given if any.
Varied, I had been working within the England team (45+ age group) which was my focus during the competition. I was their designated therapist who they came to for any injury or health-based concerns. We followed a time-based schedule that gave allocated slots for treatments, warm-ups and cool-downs as well as things like when was the best time to eat? of course this would be dependent on the time of the games.
It was crucial that we stuck to the carefully planned schedule, ensuring that each team had the best support and chances of succeeding in their individual heats.
I would tape and strap any injuries, massage tight muscles, and check over any previous/existing injuries the players were suffering with. During the games, I was carefully watching and analysing the players to see how they were coping with their injuries. I looked out for any on-court occurrences and helped the coaches decide if a player should continue to play (injury based).
Every time someone had to come off the court (and there were plenty), I would ensure they were staying hydrated and when time-outs were called, I offered high-energy food that they could eat quickly to keep them energised because there was no air- conditioning. You can imagine they got very hot and stuffy very quickly, draining the players’ energy a lot quicker than normal!
Cool-down and re-hab
After games had finished, cool down and rehab was massively important. This prevented tension within the muscles and allowed rest and recovery to take place – a key process for all players. Everyone was shattered after each and every game, so we tried to make the cool down as entertaining as possible with some hydrotherapy using the natural resources on our doorstep – ‘The Sea’. Team members followed movements I directed – right there on the beach at various times throughout the day. Sometimes we noticed the public joined in too. All the teams loved it (in the end) and found it massively sped up their muscle recovery.
A study conducted in 2008 found that hydrotherapy has a positive effect on reducing the delayed onset of muscle soreness (Vaile, 2008). This is what gave me the insight to treat players that needed that extra bit of recovery post-game.
What I learnt from my experience
- Stay calm: The trip taught me so much about the importance of staying calm in stressful situations, especially in front of players. If they had an injury, they would automatically be thinking the worst regardless of the severity of the injury. It was my job to help them physically but also emotionally.
- Act in a calm and relaxed manner: common sense tells you people generally won’t panic as much if the support team/person is calm – of course, this will ultimately result in a better outcome in the particular situation.
- Visually assess throughout the game: This tells me so much more about how they are coping with their injury, as it is the last thing on their mind as they are solely focused on the game. I am able to assess how much pain they are in and to relate this to how their other limbs are reacting to support the injury. This tells me what I need to work on with the player for them to be able to continue to play with as fewer injuries as possible.
What an opportunity & experience
It was an absolute honour being able to represent my country in this amazing sport, which I have to say has yet to see more mainstream exposure. It was especially rewarding to be doing something in the sporting world that I love most and (of course) I learnt so much. I made so many new and lasting friends and experienced a great team rapport which is something I will always remember and cherish.
All the teams did an amazing job, and I’m thrilled to disclose that one of our female teams won gold! Yayyy, well done and many congratulations to GB Maxi 35+ who were crowned European Champions 2022
It is a trip and an experience that I will never forget.
Learn more about how Cryotherapy can support and speed up recovery here: Cryotherapy Benefits