5 Things Soccer Coaches must do to Prevent Injuries
As a Podiatrist and Football coach, I see a lot of young footballers with lower leg pain that can result in weeks on the sidelines missing out of doing the sport they love.
So, this got me thinking, what do some coaches do wrong as part of their training program that causes these injuries?
1. Use an Evidence-Based Warm-Up
A correct warm-up does exactly as the name suggests and gets your child’s muscles ready for the fast-paced action of a game.
If your child doesn't warm up before playing their muscles are still cool and may be at a higher risk of injury.
The days of long static stretching before training and games is over and now FIFA has set guidelines for an injury prevention warm-up called the “FIFA 11+”.
Developed by an international group of experts, it is an evidence-based warm-up which is aimed at preventing injuries for young footballers during both training and games.
Studies have shown that teams who have used this warm-up at least twice per week had 37% less training injuries and 29% fewer injuries during a match.
You can download a copy of the FIFA 11+ warm-up manual for free HERE!
2. Avoid Overtraining
Often I see young athletes in the clinic who play for 2 separate club teams as well as a representative state team.
This means that they may train 5 times per week and play 2 games over the weekend, not including all the running around they do at school!
Here are the signs to look for to see if your child is overtraining:
- Excessive fatigue: going to bed early, hard to get out of bed (most teenagers), complaining of tiredness, hard to get them to training
- Their performance levels drop
- Agitation or moodiness
- Persistent injuries
- They just don't seem themselves
3. Ensure Good Nutrition and Sleep
Experts suggest that teenagers need 9 ½ hours of sleep per night, however, most don't get anywhere near this.
Fatigue and poor nutrition can increase your child's injury risk as their muscles are not properly fueled before, or recovered after, a high-intensity training session.
This can lead to an increased risk of muscle strains and rolled ankles.
What your child does on the pitch is only half of the story.
It is extremely important not to forget about the other half to get a balanced diet and enough sleep!
4. Don't Forget to Stretch and Cool Down
I know we all live very busy lives and finding time to stretch is challenging.
However, stretching is a vital part of your child’s recovery after training and games.
During growth spurts your child's bones rapidly grow however your child's muscles are not as quick to keep up, leaving the muscles tight.
Common conditions that I see in the clinic such as Calcaneal Apophysitis or Severs and Os-Good Schlatter are linked to tight muscles in growing children.
Finding 5 minutes per day during ad breaks or building some stretching into their daily routine will have a significant impact on keeping your child on the park.
5. Book in with a Podiatrist as Soon as Your Child Complains of Foot or Leg Pain
Often children don’t speak to their parents about any pain until it begins to stop them from doing what they love.
This may mean that they’ve had this niggling issue for at least a few weeks prior.
Booking an appointment with a Podiatrist with great knowledge about the demands of Soccer and Sport and who will do a full biomechanical assessment to develop a complete management plan is a great first step towards getting your child pain free and back onto the pitch.
Our Podiatrists at Complete Podiatry are experts in lower limb mechanics and can find the causes contributing to the pain and give your child pain management strategies as well as an individualised exercise program to get them stronger than they were pre-injury.
I'm so confident we can help you that I'd love to chat with you personally about your child's football injuries, it's what I'm passionate about!
Contact us on 8330 0004 or book online.
Yours in helping to build amazing lives from the feet up
Podiatrist at Complete Podiatry