Sports massage was created to facilitate athletic endeavours, reduce the risk and also treat injuries.
Seems to have started in Finland because in the 1924 Olympics runner Paavo Nurmi won five gold medals and partly attributed his success to massages.
In the same year, Sarkisov-Sirasini began to teach sports massage in Russia. In 1945 Jack Meagher came in contact with a German version of sports massage then further developed his own methods.
It may have started with classic massage techniques (Swedish) but progressively incorporated other techniques as they developed (mentioned in the deep tissue paragraph)
In the U.K. sports massage can be also remedial massage and so it addresses the issues of anybody suffering from tension, tightness, a repetitive strain injury, a musculoskeletal disorder or pain.
In my country of origin (Romania) remedial massage is called therapeutic and sports massage is a subdivision of it.
In my practice, I focus on the main issues first and once all blockages are cleared we can focus on emproving sports performance in following appointments.
Whether dealing with postural problems like tight neck and shoulders or nerve entrapments like sciatica sports massage can ease tight muscles and
loosen joints, therefore producing pain relief.
Of course, specific problems arise with specific sports, from overuse, improper movement, lack of self-care. A trained therapist will know how to facilitate rehab especially if he is specialised or is familiar with the sport.
Personally, I started working in the gym with bodybuilders. Did a 2-week tennis tournament in Crete alongside a Serbian physio with a bad back and seen my fair share of clients that play golf, rugby, football as well as runners and cyclists.
It's fascinating working with people that push their limits constantly and never give up. Recovery is usually fast because of the determination of the person do get better fast and also the overall healthy lifestyle athletes tend to have.
It can be performed without lotion or special equipment, lightly clothed although direct contact with the skin is desired for optimal results.