Massage Therapist to the Stars A Behind The Scene Look

Dalibor Bendzala is a soft tissue (massage) therapist for a number of elite sporting teams and is based at Physiologix, The Gap. Here he shares some of his experiences working with elite Australia Sports Teams.

Dalibor has been working alongside some of Australia’s best medical professionals for over 5 years. Some of his experience includes 5 seasons as contractor to Brisbane Broncos, QLD Reds, Brisbane Roar, QLD Firebirds, Brisbane Cobras touch football and most recently being appointed the Davis Cup massage therapist. As well as working at Physiologix, he now spends the majority of his time with Brisbane Roar and QLD Reds, being at Ballymore twice a week. He is also traveling with the Australian Davis Cup team to each International Cup Tie as well as working as massage therapist to Australian Institute of Sport Tennis athletes based in Brisbane.

Massage therapy is an integral part of professional sport. It is incorporated into the team’s weekly recovery and preparation for the following round. Because of the short weeks clubs and players face, they must be prepared to play, often within 7 days of their previous match. Massage plays key role in the players ability to face these challenges.

An inside look:
Football teams may have 4 to 8 massage therapists working at one time. This allows all players to receive their treatment thus fitting this essential treatment into their busy schedules. Massages can last from 30 minutes once per week to 45 minutes twice per week. This depends on the schedule, injury occurrence and travel commitments. The therapist generally knows the player and their main areas of concern, working closely with the Physiotherapy department who have flagged players. This is maintained throughout the season.

Davis Cup:
This is a verydifferent experience. Davis Cup matches are played 3-4 times a year. There are only 4 players chosen to represent Australia at each contest. Often a younger player is chosen to be a ‘hitter’ for the week, giving them valuable experience. Players often fly in from different parts of the world to meet at the location of the match. If possible, the players will play the same tournament leading into the Davis Cup tie, so that they can practice together and depart together as a team. The staff however, containing Physiotherapist, Doctor, Massage Therapist, Media Advisor and Manager often depart out of Australia and meet the rest of the team at an airport somewhere in the world before departing together for the country where the competition is to be held.

The first round of 2013 was held in Taiwan Feb. 1st to Feb 3rd. Players and some staff left for Taiwan out of Melbourne, as the Ausralian Open was in Melbourne the week before. The team often arrives around 1 week before matches start, to allow time for getting used to weather and court conditions. Players will normally train 2-4 hours per day with more match play situations as the weekend approaches.

Players will normally receive massage after the day’s training and often also after dinner. This will help with their recovery and any ‘niggles’ they may have at the time.

As the start of competition approaches, massage sessions will be more focused on preparing the players for play, as opposed to deep tissue manipulations. After the player’s matches, they have a post match massage to assist their recovery and enable them to back up the following day. By Sunday afternoon, all matches are over, celebrations are often in order and the following day the players depart for different parts of the world for the next tournament and will meet up again with Dalibor and the other staff several months later.

Stay tuned for an update on the next Davis Cup match being played in Uzbekistan, early April.

Dalibor is available at Physiologix at The Gap Health and Racquet Club. Whether you have chronic pain or an acute sport’s injury, phone the friendly reception team on (07) 3511 1112 to make an appointment or email from the contact us page on our website.