No other sport has achieved a global appeal quite like soccer. Hundreds of millions of people play the sport, and televised games are watched across the world by even more.
But for those who play soccer, the risk of injury is always present. Soccer requires a variety of physical skills and abilities, and it can place a lot of strain on the muscles and joints of the body.
Knowing how to prevent injuries ensures that you can enjoy the sport for years to come. The following are three ways to avoid common soccer injuries.
Warming up is the best way to avoid injury during any physical activity. In soccer, it can prevent the most common injuries including pulled hamstrings, ankle sprains, and damage to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) of the knee.
Your warm-up should consist of dynamic movements that mimic those used during a soccer game. Soccer requires running, jumping, kicking, and lunging in various directions. Perform these movements at a low-intensity as part of your pre-game warm-up to prepare the joints and connective tissues for the high-intensity movements that occur during a game.
Most players overlook the importance of using the proper gear during a soccer game. The most important pieces of equipment consist of a player’s shoes and protective shin guards. Using the proper soccer gear goes a long way in the prevention of injuries, and it allows players to perform at their best.
Soccer shoes should fit properly. Avoid wearing shoes that are too loose, as they can decrease the stability of the foot and ankle joints. Your shoes should be fitted while wearing the appropriate socks, in order to obtain the right size for competition.
Shin guards support the ankles and protect the lower legs. High-velocity impact to the shins is painful and can cause you to be sidelined during a game.
How you train off the field is just as important to the prevention of common soccer injuries as what goes on when you’re on the field. Exercise is essential to keeping your muscles strong and flexible, while improving the support they provide to the joints of the ankle, knees, and hips.
Your conditioning program must align with the demands of soccer. This means that you should combine endurance activities with high-velocity movements. Resistance exercises improve strength, speed and coordination, while aerobic exercises improve cardiovascular performance.
Proprioceptive training improves your ability to maintain balance and body alignment in a variety of movement patterns. It trains the nervous system and improves the agility needed to play well on the soccer field.
These three tips will help you avoid common soccer injuries and, over time, improve your overall performance. Understanding the most common injuries and implementing the right exercises to reduce their risk is essential to your success on the playing field.