Three Quick Steps Every Soccer Parent Should Know to Prevent Injuries and Maximize Skills
By Dr. Steve Grosserode DPT and Dr. Jared Vagy DPT
Dangerous trends facing youth soccer
Injuries affect more than soccer
The Problem: Misaligned Movement
Have you ever seen a player go down with an injury even though no one touched them? These types of injuries are called “non-contact injuries” and often occur when a player has misaligned movement.
What is misaligned movement? The human body is like a machine similar to a car. When a car’s alignment is off it begins to have wear and tear, perform poorly and then ultimately it will break down. Our bodies are no different. If the body’s alignment is off during athletic movement, the body can experience wear and tear, perform poorly and eventually get hurt.
Example of misaligned movement. When this player pivots on the field his knee dives inward, ankle twists and upper body leans to the side.
Moving this way can lead to ankle, knee and back injuries and decrease soccer skills. Many youth soccer players show some of these misaligned movements.
The 3 Step Movement Solution to Decrease Injury Risk and Increase Soccer Skills
To maximize performance and minimize injury risk, you need to make your training fit each player’s individual needs. The following “three step movement solution” can help you prevent up to 88% of non-contact injuries and boost player performance.
[Excerpts from book, Prevent Soccer Injuries: The On-Field Manual for Coaches, Parents, Players & Clubs to Maximize Player Development & Performance by Dr. Jared Vagy and Dr. Steve Grosserode]
Quick Start Guide Step 1: Analyze Movement
Analyze player movement with the naked eye or with a cell phone or tablet device. Determine if the player is moving using one of the five most common misaligned movements that are shown below.
Quick Start Guide Step 2: Give Corrective Exercises
Once you see a particular misaligned movement in your player, then you can easily match the exact exercise they need to improve. See the below for examples of matching a corrective exercise to a misaligned movement.
Quick Start Guide Step 3: Improve the Movement
To ensure movement improvements in your players you can break down the misaligned movements into simple exercises called movement breakdown exercises. These exercises will improve the player’s ability to perform the desired movement with proper alignment. Coaches can additionally give instructions, referred to as cues, to facilitate aligned movement.
Want to learn more?
Dr. Steve Grosserode is a Doctor of Physical Therapy, a former soccer player, international speaker on soccer injury prevention, writer for NSCAA Soccer Journal and co-founder of Movement Solutions.
Dr. Jared Vagy is a Doctor of Physical Therapy, a former soccer player, professor at the University of Southern California, writer for NSCAA Soccer Journal and co-founder of Movement Solutions.