NCTV Episode 96
Continuing with the series of bitesize health tip videos which can be found here on my YouTube Channel, this episode, includes:-
- How & why to do a dynamic warm-up
- How & why to do a cool-down
- The SECRET WEAPON to enhance your game and protect you from injury
- Ways to recover after playing
- The importance of maintenance for prevention
If you’d prefer to read the content within, rather than watch the video, then feel free to read the transcript, as follows:-
Hello and welcome to NCTV Episode 96 which is all about how to prevent football aka soccer injuries.
Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out in the game, the following advice will aim to help keep you on the pitch and off the side-lines.
Starting with the basics and I’m sure every manager and coach will enforce this but before you kick-off, it’s essential to warm up properly. This should involve a dynamic warm-up to get your blood flowing, loosen those muscles, and prepare your body for action. Why? Because the better you prepare for the demands ahead, less likely you are to get injured.
So what should a dynamic warmup before playing football involve?
Well this is just a suggested routine but it’s always best to start with a gentle 5 minute jog around the pitch. This increases your heart rate and prepares your cardiovascular system for the more intense exercise to come.
After this, your blood will be pumping and your muscles will be warmer so we can move onto the dynamic stretching element. Note that these aren’t static stretches but instead you’re stretching the muscles through repeated movements and performing these will increase your flexibility in turn. Movements such as leg swings, arm circles, and hip rotations are great choices for this section. These movements should be controlled and take your joints through a comfortable range of motion.
Now you should be feeling a bit more flexible and you can move onto Lunges: Step forward into a lunge, keeping your knee at a 90-degree angle and your back straight. Alternate legs and repeat 10 times for each leg. This exercise works your hip flexors and quadriceps.
Next is High Knees where you effectively jog on the spot but with lifting your knees as high as possible. This can be done for about 30 seconds. High knees will improve your hip flexibility and activate your core muscles.
Following this we have Butt Kicks which again involves jogging on the spot but this time kicking your heels towards your glutes, again for 30 seconds. This helps to warm up your hamstrings and prepare them for sprinting.
Now onto Side Steps which is basically lateral movements by shuffling sideways. This warms up your hip and groin muscles and is also to be performed for 30 seconds in each direction.
The penultimate activity is Skipping which is a great exercise for coordination and leg strength and can either be done in-place, or across the field for a few minutes.
And finally, Sprint Drills: Finish your warm-up with a few short sprints to mimic game conditions. Sprint for 10-20 meters, focusing on acceleration and proper running form.
Of course, we can’t talk about a warm up without mentioning the post-game cool down which is equally important. This is where you bring in your static stretches to aid recovery and prevent muscle tightness, focussing particularly on the major muscle groups of the legs such as your quads, hamstrings, calves, groin and hip flexors. Holding the stretches anywhere between 10 to 30 seconds depending on how long your body feels it needs, in order to be effective.
If you want to know a secret weapon you can possess in order to both enhance your game and protect you from injuries then this would be core stability. A strong core will provide you with stability and power whilst also assisting with your passing and shooting, for example. And you can work on this by implementing a daily routine of core exercises such as planks, twists, and bridges.
One of the crucial points to remember when playing football is to listen to your body. If something doesn’t feel right then don’t push through the pain as most of the time, you’ll only make it worse and it could lead to a more serious injury. It’s ok to stop, rest up and seek professional advice from the likes of a physio or osteopath, if needed, as your health should always come first.
A final tip in terms of recovery and maintenance would be to allow yourself some time for a bit of post-game TLC. This could take the form of using tools like foam rollers to release tensions or even scheduling regular check-ups with an osteopath such as myself or another therapist who can perform some manual therapy to keep you in tip-top shape. Remember, prevention is key.
So there you have it for this week’s bitesize bit to help your health flourish, see you again next time.
Bye bye for now.