Warm up routines have been devised which should reduce injuries to young Football players by more than 20%. The program is in four stages concentrating on balance, strength, and movement over 20 minutes. Football is a physically demanding sport and so any way to improve safety has to be applauded. There has been a spotlight on the sport recently with a number of young players having heart issues during matches which in some cases have been fatal.
How does it work?
The idea behind the warm-ups is to prepare them for the physical challenges they will encounter in matches. They have been developed to be slightly more challenging than your standard stretch based warm up. These stretch exercises are utilized instead at the end of a training session for cooldown purposes. It is important that players are wearing the right kit when taking part in training sessions and Nike Football Kits can be found at stockists such as www.kitking.co.uk/brand/nike. The exercises are split into four stages:
· a running warm-up with activities involving a directional change over two minutes
· four minutes training to work on lower limb balance
· resistance exercises over eight minutes
· exercises involving side-stepping, jumping and landing for six minutes
The idea is that the exercises can be switched around over a four week period to ensure that all the key muscle groups and protected and worked in a safe way. The muscles targeted are the legs which are the powerhouse of a football player, allowing them to sprint around the pitch, change direction and tackle other players. These muscles are also the ones that tend to have more injuries occurring to them.
These exercises get the muscles working better before exercise. Traditionally, warm-up routines involve stretching exercises or throwing a ball around. Now, these new exercises will actually improve the players’ abilities. It is more of a training regime that improves strength, balance, and coordination – all qualities required of a Football player.
What coaches can do
The 20-minute workout can be held at the beginning of a training session as well as before matches. Coaches can change their schedule to make it an integral part of training along with exercises, mini-games and other techniques to help with the player’s football skills and over stamina and physical fitness and strength.
All of these strategies will help to make players better, fitter and stronger. It also has the knock-on effect of reducing injuries to youngsters which could lead to more people being interested in taking up Football for fitness, fun or for the challenge of competing in a league.