We know of top level AFL clubs who strap just about every player and others who strap just about no-one. This brings up several questions. Is strapping a good idea. Is all strapping useful or just some. Which joints do you strap. Which ones dont you strap. Do you strap just for competition or for training sessions also. Can strapping itself cause problems. Strapping takes up a lot of time and effort for the training staff. The costs are considerable .. our club pays out about $600 per year for strapping tape alone.


The tape itself :

There is good tape and not-so-good tape. Choose a good, strong one. We like ****. It is strong & durable. However .. all taping slackens off through a game ... more-so when it is wet. Consider re-taping if a vulnerable player's taping is loose.



Applying the Tape:

Some players are very particular about their taping. They might prefer a certain trainer or tape themselves. Go with them. In this case .. the customer is right. It has to feel right. There are often taping training-sessions run by Sport Medicine Australia ... attend one. There are also good books on taping .. buy one. Type "sports taping" into Google.



What could be wrong with taping?

1. Taping one joint might throw forces onto other joints to their detriment.

2. Taping reduces flexibility and mobility ... and therefore performance. In a game of millimetres, the ability of a young on-baller to run backwards out of a pack, spin around and successfuly deliver a handball in a flash without being tagged may be impeded by his taping. Well that's my opinion. On the other-hand an older backman who has dicey ankles and whose game is straight through might not be impeded in any way by his taped ankles.

3. I have listened to an experienced AFL physio who suggested that taping reduces the total number of sprains but not the number of high-end sprains .. the ones that really matter.



When is Taping the Right Thing to do:

1. The recurrent sprainer ... some players have undergone so many sprains that their ankles flap in the breeze .. no stability left. Strap them.

2. The rehabilitating player ... recent sprains often need strapping.



Which Joints benefit from strapping:

The few joints whose stability are sometimes helped by strapping include

1. Ankles (most problems)

2. Thumb (the loose thumb)

3. Fingers (recent fractures and disclocations)

4. Patella (recurring dislocations)

5. Some other Knee problems

6. Elbows (preventing hyperextension)



Which Joints Rarely benefit from strapping:

1. Shoulder (how can you help a joint which has to move in all directions .. silly idea)

2. Most Knee problems (most knee strapping other than knee-cap stabilisation just doesnt achieve anything)