A recent study conducted in Switzerland at the University of Basel found that a warm-up exercise program designed specifically for children significantly reduced the chances of a soccer player getting injured.
Dr. Oliver Faude, co-author of the study, explained that young soccer players sustain different injured than normal soccer-related injuries seen among adults and teens.
The study consisted of a 20-minute exercise routine, named “11+ Kids”, which was created in an attempt to lower a child’s injury risk. The exercise program involves seven warm-up exercises for young players to complete before starting to play. Three of the exercises focus on stabilizing the legs and feet, three exercises focus on stabilizing the entire body, and one exercise focuses on proper falling technique.
Across four European countries, 3,895 soccer players between the ages of seven and 13 were asked to complete the warm-up exercises. The researchers found the number of injuries overall fell by 48%, with serious falling injuries reduced by up to 74%.
Researchers believe that “11+ Kids” can help prevent serious soccer injuries, even if it’s performed a few times each week and hope it will be implemented into soccer coaching methodology around the world.
How Can Young Soccer Players Prevent Injuries on the Field?
Every good soccer coaching methodology should put a heavy focus on safety. Whether it’s a summer soccer camp or a soccer training program for kids, there should always be soccer training drills that teach kids how to play safely. Let’s take a look at some of the basic things young soccer players can do to prevent injuries.
Warm Up and Cool Down: Before playing, every player should properly stretch and warm up. In fact, it’s recommended that in order to prevent injuries during games, players should warm up with five to 10 minutes of light aerobic activity and complete some dynamic stretching as well. Stretching both before and after playing can help prevent strained muscles and other injuries.
Wear Proper Equipment: Since soccer is mainly played with feet, shins and ankles have a high risk of being injured by another player. Because of this, proper shin guards and cleats should always be worn during both practices and games.
Stay in Shape: Especially during the off-season, it’s important for players to stay in shape. If players try to jump right back into their normal schedule after not exercising for months, they can increase their risk of injury. Proper conditioning is key to preventing injuries after not playing for a while. Players can continue to stay in shape and develop important soccer skills all year long.
So whether it’s implementing a structured warm-up routine through soccer coaching methodology or going through conditioning during the off-season, it’s important for young players to do everything they can to prevent getting injured on the field.