Posted by: Julie Graves | Head Athletic Trainer & Director of Sports Medicine
Rapids Youth Soccer Communications and Marketing sat down with CRYSC Head Athletic Trainer and Director of Sports Medicine, Julie Graves to discuss injury prevention and why it is important for athletes to focus on the topic. In this blog, you will find three crucial steps with exercises for staying healthy and preventing injuries on the pitch.
What is injury prevention and why should athletes educate themselves on best practices for staying healthy?
“Injury prevention and education on the topic is crucial in any sport by any athlete. Injury prevention is as simple as the two words state: to prevent injury from happening. How many times have you rolled an ankle and been out of commission for 4 to even 8 weeks or longer? Have you ever strained your hamstring or quad and not been able to run or do your sport for a long period of time because of it?
When an injury occurs you are losing out on practice and time to improve your technique in your sport. The body part needs to heal completely before gradually starting a return to play program so that re-injury doesn’t happen. A lot of the time, this can be avoided with proper injury prevention techniques and education.”
Step 1: Dynamic Stretching
What is dynamic stretching and why is it important?
“Dynamic stretching is actively moving a muscle through its full range of motion. The importance of this before exercise is to not only stretch the tissue but to bring blood flow to the area to prepare it for the exercise. This helps prevent injury before performing your sport.”
Check out some dynamic stretches that you can implement into your warmup below!
Step 2: Strength and Plyometrics
How does one maintain/build strength using plyometrics?
“Strength training is important for any sport to build muscle and increase control over your body to perform better. For soccer specifically, striking a ball, saving a goal, and heading a ball all require power and the definition of power is strength plus speed. Plyometrics is important to help the body perform certain movements in your sport. For soccer, change of direction, explosive movements for sprinting, and ball handling are examples of how plyometrics will help increase performance.”
Check out some strength and plyometric exercises below!
Step 3: Running
Why does an athlete need to work on their running abilities in soccer?
“Let’s face it, you run a lot in soccer. On average, a field player runs about 7 miles in a game and sometimes up to 10 miles! Cardiovascular health is crucial to make sure your body is healthy enough to be able to run that long. Interval training, sprint training, and endurance training all are important for your cardiovascular health to play soccer safely.”
Check out some running exercises below!