Preventing Soccer Injuries
As with any sport, soccer injuries can occur
As with any sport, injuries can occur – soccer is no exception. Fortunately, most soccer injuries tend to be soft tissue injuries that typically affect the feet, ankle or legs. Common injuries include sprained ankles or knees, foot pain, meniscus tears or even ACL tears. Knowing this in advance can certainly help you create the right training plan to reduce your risk of injury. As a Certified Personal Trainer, I have clients who are soccer players that follow a consistent plan to strengthen the areas of the body most at risk.
Before every training session, it is important to warm up thoroughly with at least a 10 minute cardiovascular activity. This can include a spin on a bike, a bit of light rowing or a low level of resistance on a elliptical machine. Keep in mind that this is a warm up and to begin slowly, maintaining a steady breathing rhythm. A helpful hint to remember during your warm up is that you should be able to carry on a conversation or sing along to your favourite song without pausing to catch your breath.
Once you have warmed your body, you can begin some dynamic exercises to prepare your muscles and joints for your workout, game or practice.
Perform 2 rounds of each exercise traveling a distance of 12 yards each way. It is best to perform these exercises in the following order as the difficulty level increases from one exercise to the next:
- Side shuffle with arm crosses
- Inch worms
- High knees & butt kicks
- Walking lunges & alternating side lunges
- High kicks
Strengthening the Ankle Exercises
A great way to strengthen the ankle is with a Theraband for resisted range of motion. Wrap the Theraband around the top of the foot and move the foot in the following patterns:
- Plantar flexion
- Dorsi flexion
Perform 12-15 reps of each movement, and 1 set of each.
To help prevent injuries, consider what movements may potentially be harmful and take a pre-habilitation approach to your exercise plan. The above exercises will help keep you in top shape for your next match.