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Recovery from the soccer season: Signs you may need Physiotherapy
With the soccer season well and truly over, many players cast their body woe’s aside, pledging to pick them up again before next season. Learn why NOW is the best time to fix those last season injuries and ensure they don’t come back to haunt you in 2019!
By now most of your bruises, aches and pains should have subsided! Any acute swelling should have gone down and what you might be left with is a body that’s feeling reasonably good in comparison to the post game soreness of the last few months. However, that little niggle on your ankle, the pinch in your groin and the ache in your lower back are signs that your body hasn’t fully recovered and rather than waiting for those compensations to rear their ugly heads next year, why not get on top of them now!
Physiotherapist – Lana Johnson, explains why “the off seasons is often a time when players don’t think too much about training, but it is in fact THE BEST time for injury rehabilitation and skill improvement!” By addressing any weakness in the biomechanical chain and the necessary compensation you developed to get you through the semi’s, you can ensure that next season your back on the field for longer, performing to your best!
The reason being, during the playing season, there is little room for technique correction, unloading and skill enhancement. This is because so much time is taken up by conditioning, team skill set’s, game day and recovery. The off season is the perfect time for picking apart your weaknesses and zeroing in on them to ensure your core strength is where it needs to be, your hamstrings are as mobile as they need to be and your ankle stability is on point!
Lana suggests the following exercises which she finds of benefit for many top soccer players in the down season, to ensure their game day ready when the next season rolls around!
- 1) Core Stability: it’s been a big buzz focus for the past few years, and for good reason. Soccer requires a lot of direction change under high speeds and all that agility comes at a necessary price. Good core control is essential on the field, and unfortunately is often over looked in a typical mid-season program. I find these following exercises great additions to your off-season protocol for reducing the risk of spine, pelvis and groin related injuries.
- a. Bridging: http://www.movebeautiful.com/topic/bridging/
- b. Side to Side: http://www.movebeautiful.com/topic/side-side-feet-off-floor/ :
- c. Femur Arcs: http://www.movebeautiful.com/topic/femur-arcs-2/
- 2) Hip Dissociation: all that kicking required can mean soccer players are able to dissociate their hips from their pelvis at high speeds and under high loads. We often see this element of training ignored in mid-season training programs which are heavily focussed on fitness and ball skills. The following exercises are a must in the off seasons to continue to ensure players are able to dissociate their hip mobility from their pelvis stability and ensure a great kicking game.
- a. Bent Knee Fall Out: http://www.movebeautiful.com/topic/bent-knee-fall-2/
- b. Arabesque: http://www.movebeautiful.com/topic/arabesque-2/
- 3) Lower Limb Strength and Agility: we all know soccer isn’t gentle on the lower limbs, ankles and knees in particular. While strength is an important requirement, the agility that is required of the feet, ankles, knees and hips in soccer is almost unparalleled. These exercises will keep you strong in the off season while ensuring your agility is not lost from too much concentric loading.
- a. Bulgarian Lunges: http://www.movebeautiful.com/topic/bulgarian-lunge/
- b. Split Squats: http://www.movebeautiful.com/topic/squats-and-split-squats/
If you have a niggle that hasn’t resolved by now it may well be worth while seeking out the advice of a Physiotherapist to determine if there is any lasting damage or biomechanical abnormalities they can be improved before next season! After all prevention, as always, is better than cure!