Injury prevention and prediction have become increasingly popular terms as sports injuries seem to be on the rise across all ages of soccer athletes.
At Recharge we challenge athletes to load and perform a variety of movements.
However, prevention and prediction appear to be not as black and white as we once thought. Soccer injuries are largely unpredictable. As healthcare professionals, it is our goal to help reduce the risk of these injuries. This starts with strength training and movement variability.
Injury reduction needs to take into account a variety of elements such as a proper warm-up, relevant training such as strength & sport-specific, good nutrition, enough sleep and luck.
When soccer injuries happen the three of the most common are:
- Hamstring Strains
- Adductor (Groin) Strains
- Ankle Sprains
Soccer demands a lot out of these muscle groups and joints. In order to reduce the risk of injuries we need to make sure our athletes preparation meets that demand.
For the hamstring strain an excellent movement to improve the strength of the hamstring is the nordic hamstring curl. Not only can this be done as shown in the video, but it can be performed with a partner holding onto the lower legs as well, making it an ideal team activity.
Adductor (groin) Strain
Approaching the groin strain is similar to the hamstring strain. Building strength in that muscle group can be done by performing the gator chomp. The gator chomp allows the athlete to use the adductor muscle group (the muscles comprising the groin) to work in various ways to build strength. This can also be done with a partner holding the top leg instead of the bench!
Lastly, ankle sprains are common amongst field sports and soccer is no exception. The Recharge Roll focuses on using bands to develop hip strength and the ball plus bands to develop movement variability. The combination of these two not only improves overall strength and balance but allows the athlete to become comfortable and prepared for the position most associated with an ankle sprain. That position being where the ankle is turned in. Becoming prepared for this position and being strong at getting out of it can help a great deal of soccer athletes reduce their injury risk.
Overall, injuries are a part of sport. The unpredictability of the field and the demands of the sport make it difficult to predict or prevent any injury. What we can best do for our soccer athletes is build up their foundational strength and prepare them for any movement the game may bring their way.