It seems, almost without fail, that people think that sports massage is really a euphemism for deep massage, and yet often nothing could be farther from the truth. What techniques are used, and the depth worked to depends on a number of factors including where the athlete is in their training programme, their personal preferences, and what we are trying to achieve with the muscles we are working on.
Sports massage is goal orientated - rather than having a focus on massaging for relaxation, I'm thinking about what physiological change I am trying to bring about in particular muscles.
Sports massage is structured around the athletes programme - techniques and depth will vary depending on where the athlete is within their training programme and what we are trying to achieve. We certainly don't want to be doing deep work the day before an event!
Sports massage is sport specific - rather than a "full body" approach, for example I might spend an hour working just on legs and glutes if working with a runner.
Sports massage is often as much preventative as it is treatment. Regular massage increases body awareness, and often helps an athlete with early identification of niggles so they can take remedial action before these niggles develop into an injury.