5 things every junior footballer should be doing… but isn’t

August 16, 2016

Injuries happen. Especially in over 35s football. But for the most part junior footballers don’t get as many injuries as their older, less pliable counterparts. Given the rise in elite youth football, training intensity, frequency and duration have all gone up. So has the injury rate. What I haven’t seen is a corresponding increase in knowledge of up to date injury management and, more importantly, prevention. So if you or your son or daughter is training like they are the next Messi or Marta, they should be doing these things to stay away from us here at Newcastle Performance Physio.

Warming up with the FIFA 11+

This one is easy. FIFA’s sports medicine division has researched how to keep multimillion dollar players on the pitch and then provided it for free for everyone. Download it, give it to your coach, do it every time http://www.f-marc.com/downloads/posters_generic/english.pdf

Maintaining Range of Motion

Teenagers can often come unstuck purely because they’re getting bigger. Growth spurts mess with your muscle control. The easiest thing for your brain to do with a stressed out joint is to reduce its’s ROM. This never helps. For footballers, lumbar spine extension, hip extension, straight leg raise and ankle range are all important. Now ROM is different to stretching. Static stretching is pretty much a waste of time. Did you see any in the FIFA11+? Nope.

Sit Less

This goes hand in hand with ROM. The easiest way to keep good ROM is to use it, the easiest way to lose it is don’t move. Your best posture is your next posture. Every teenager has “bad posture”. All of them. It’s easy to see why, you sit down at school most of the day, then some homework/study, maybe some FIFA16 on the Xbox. But posture itself won’t make things sore – it’s the not moving that is evil and must be punished. Now most of these things you can’t change (maybe a bit less on the Xbox), so you have to recognise it and take action to decrease your sitting time and reverse its effects.

Eccentric Hamstring and single leg strengthening

These are included in the FIFA11+ but are so good for injury prevention they get a separate section. Google “Nordic Hamstring Curl”, “Single leg squat” and “Single leg deadlift”. You don’t need any weights, just build them into a training session. Essential for any strength and conditioning program for older elite footballers.

Rest and Recovery

The amount some kids are training is staggering. Twice a week with their team, another night with the 19s, another night with the emerging Jets, 2 games most weekends. School football during the day. Sound familiar? Premier league players don’t play and train that much, and they don’t get homework. Every athlete needs a day off and a lighter day a week. So that’s one day of no football, running, jumping, sprint training, weight training or anything else. And no, playing cricket is not a rest day. Overtraining on a growing body and a lack of the above things is easily the biggest cause of injury to young footballers that I see. Most of these are avoidable.

Any footballer who comes to Newcastle Performance Physiotherapy gets all of the above plus a complete and specific prevention program. But if you don’t have to get injured first, I think we all agree that is better.

Share this on social media with young footballers and their parents, or for more information get in touch via the website.

Until next time

Dave