Soccer is becoming one of the most popular sports in the world, leading to more and more injuries each year. It is said that the injury rate in youth soccer is becoming even greater than other contact sports. Having said this, it is important that athletes are properly educated on how they can prevent injuries from happening when playing soccer. While some injuries are inevitable, there are ways that you can prevent a serious injury from happening.
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While you are sure to gradually get in better physical condition as the season progresses, it is important to approach the start of the season in good shape. Taking part in an off-season training program that includes plenty of aerobic exercise, strength training, and flexibility training will leave you in a healthier position come the start of the season.
Cold muscles are more prone to injury, always take time to warm up and stretch your muscles prior to a practice or game; and we mean it when we say ALWAYS. Focus on body parts such as your hamstrings, quadriceps, groin, calf muscles, and the lower back by taking part in both dynamic and static stretching.
Dynamic stretches are performed through a variety movement as you stretch important muscles. Dynamic stretching activates the muscles that you will use throughout playing soccer and can include stretches such as:
- Leg kicks
Static stretching is when the body is held still (or static) and a stretch is held in a position for a period of time, usually anywhere between 20 – 30 seconds. Usually, static stretching is done as a part of a cool-down period.
One of the most neglected times to stretch is right after the end of a game or practice. However, going through a cool-down stretching period reduces the amount of lactic acid build up, which causes the muscles to be sore the next day. If you hate being sore the next morning after a game and want to prevent an injury, be sure to stretch after each game or practice.
Drinking plenty of water before, during, and after a game or practice increases your athletic performance. If your body does not have enough fluids, it can result in poor balance and technique, which can lead to an injury.
How Much Water Do I Drink?
It is recommended that one drinks around 24 ounces/700 ml of water 2 hours before playing soccer. It is also important to take frequent water breaks during a practice to ensure you keep hydrated throughout.
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