With an extended lay-off from team sport due to the global pandemic, there is a very real possibility that when we eventually return to sport, we will have a higher chance of getting injured, due mainly to a general lack of fitness, strength and conditioning. Luckily for us, there is something we can do about it!
Injury prevention programs do just as advertised: reduce our chances of getting injured. In fact, some research has found that regularly implementing these programs can reduce our chances of sustaining certain injuries (such as the dreaded ACL tear) by up to 50%. Even better, these programs also improve our athletic performance!
Can kids complete these programs?
Absolutely! Research shows that these programs are perfectly safe for kids to complete and are just as effective as programs designed for adults.
Where can I find these programs?
We have included links to some of the more popular programs below. While the specific exercises in these programs may slightly differ, the general principles are the same: complete exercises that challenge the stability, strength and power of the athlete, requiring the body to adapt and improve over time.
Prep to Play – aimed primarily at female footballers
Get Set - Train Smarter App - free app including warm-up for over 30 sports including basketball, tennis, cycling, golf and general running. Also includes body-part specific warm-ups
PEP Program – General program aimed at reducing risk of knee injuries
How do I/my child implement these programs?
The easy answer is: Just do it! However, as these programs are designed for team sport, and teams will usually complete their warm-up as a large group at the same time, the best thing you can do is talk to the team’s coach and see if you can get them to integrate these programs into the team’s warm-up.
Do I have to complete the entire program at once?
Not necessarily. It can be more effective to split the program into two sections of about 5-10 minutes, completed before training begins and after training finishes.
Taking the Fifa 11+ program as an example, it could be more useful and easier to stick to, if the team completes sections A & C (the running warm-up) at the beginning of training, while completing section B (the strength and conditioning exercises) at the end of training.
How often do I have to complete the program?
Ideally, before every single training session, and 2-3 times per week in the off-season. Once a week is enough to maintain the benefits you have already gotten but not to get significant improvements. The good news is that these programs will be useful for as long as you utilise them!
- Injury prevention programs are highly effective for decreasing injury risk and improving performance
- For best results, they should be completed before every training session
- It takes a little bit of extra time (about 5-10 extra minutes per training session)
- It is worth it!
Please note that these programs are not designed to be replacements for specific injury management. If you have had a previous/current injury it is always worth being assessed by a physiotherapist to determine whether these programs are the most suitable option for you.
Feel free to contact our physio Nick at Nicholas.firstname.lastname@example.org to have a more in-depth chat about these programs and ways that you can implement them at your sporting club. All of our physiotherapists are able to educate coaches & volunteers in how to administer these programs effectively.