Designing an Effective Training Program Part Four: Understanding Common Injuries

Here’s the fourth and final post in this series to help shed some light on the process of designing an effective training program. If you have missed the first three posts you can catch up here (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3). The fourth process in the sport analysis model is to understand the common injuries in the sport.

Understand the common injuries in the sport:

Injuries are inevitable in any sport, but proper fitness training and preventative measures can be implemented to minimize and help prevent them. This point pairs well with knowing the demands of the sport. If you understand the demands, you can understand what is being stressed on a daily basis and make the necessary additions or changes to the fitness program.

The most common injuries in soccer are sprains and strains of the lower extremities (1, 2, 3). Furthermore, there is a correlation between higher incidence rates and the duration into the game (2). One reasoning behind this correlation could be attributed to the fitness of the athlete, or lack thereof. In matches, players tend to play at or above their current fitness levels (especially later in the game when they are fatigued). If an athlete or athletes are already starting the game with a less than desired fitness level in comparison to the opposition, injury rate has immediately increased due to the athlete “playing up” from their norm. Maintaining a high “fitness ceiling” throughout the season can help ensure they’re not playing above their fitness levels, in turn, reducing the likelihood of injury.

As I said, this sport analysis model can be used in every sport, not just soccer. This can be a great starting point to understand the basis of what you are trying to get the athlete fit for. Gather as much useful information as you can and put that information to use in combination with sound training methods.

References:

1. Ekstrand, J. Gillquist, J. Soccer injuries and their mechanisms: a prospective study. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 15(3): 267-270. 1983.

2. Ekstrand, J; Hägglund, M; Waldén, M.  Injury incidence and injury patterns in professional football: the UEFA injury study. Br J Sports Med. 11(45): 553-558. 2009.

3. Fried, Dr. Thomas; Lloyd, Geoffrey J. An Overview of Common Soccer Injuries. Sports Medicine. Volume 14(4): 269-275. 1992.

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John Grace is a coach at Athletic Lab Sports Performance Training Center in Cary, NC - USA. John has his CSCS, USAW Level 1 certification, USATF Level 1 certification and has worked as an assistant fitness coach for the Vancouver Whitecaps of the MLS.