Normally as we approach fall we would be seeing a start of many sports including Soccer! “You either win, go on to greatness, or you lose, and probably face a series of cataclysmic events for the rest of your lives” -Will Ferrell, Kicking & Screaming. Luckily, AKPT is here for you to help improve your fitness, reduce your risk of injury and get you back on the pitch quickly, if you do get injured. Our FAST program and personal training offer ways to improve your strength, quickness and cardiovascular endurance. Our physical therapists are well trained and experienced in treating soccer athletes from the professional level to the recreational level. For those of you who want to improve but don’t want to come into the clinic at this time, do not fear, we have some ‘at home’ tips that can reduce your risk of injury and keep you in the game.
Research has examined when soccer players are most likely to get injured and the results point to the first and the last 15 minutes of the game (Ekstrand et al. 2011). This suggests that managing fatigue and initiating a proper warm up are key factors in reducing injuries. The FIFA 11+ program was designed in 2006 through the FIFA Medical Assessment and Research Centre, The Oslo Sports Trauma Research Center and The Santa Monica Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Center. The goal was to reduce injuries by having athletes perform 15 specific exercises during their warm up. Research has shown this program is effective in reducing injuries by 30% to 50% in soccer players older than 13 years old, regardless of gender (Sadigursky et al. 2017) . The warm up takes roughly 20 minutes which is approximately the length of time it takes to watch one episode of Parks and Rec. “We have to remember what’s important in life: friends, waffles, warm ups and work. Or warm ups, waffles, friends, work. But work has to come fourth.” -Leslie Knope, Parks and Rec (Note: This quote may have been slightly altered to show the importance of making time for a warm up). You get the gist, do the warm up.
Included below is FIFA’s infographic on how to perform each of the 15 exercises. The Running exercises are the same for everyone but the Strength/Plyometrics/Balance portion has three levels to choose from based on your fitness level. It is recommended you start with Level 1 until that becomes easy upon which you can initiate Level 2 and then Level 3 respectively. If you are more of a visual learner and need a video demonstration, here is a good one from The US Soccer Club:
Have fun out there everyone and don’t forget to warm up! -Caitlin Ratino, PT, DPT