Injuries are a common occurrence in the sport at every level of play. Although not considered a contact sport, there is considerable physical contact and combined with the high physical demands of the sport, soccer injuries are inevitable.
Did you realize that being "first to the ball" is the main cause of soccer injuries? And of course, this is something we encourage.
We're going to look at causes, prevention and to reflect reality... treatment and recovery!
These are the major factors that lead to injuries:
1. Body collisions
There is inevitable physical contact of body to body during the game. It is unavoidable at any level of play; players learn how to avoid these situations through constant training in game-like practices (scrimmages).
2. Field conditions
This includes the type of surfaces, grass, gravel or artificial turf, and the weather that will affect these surfaces.
The initial responsibility for the safety of the players is the coach, and then the officials. Before every game the coaching staff should be on the field looking for hazards. Please make sure that the officials (referee, linesman, and/or "Parks Board") are aware of any issues that concern the game.
3. Low fitness levels
This is not being in "peak" game shape. Soccer injuries will occur more often if the body is not able to cope with the demands of the game.
Very few sports compare to the demands of fitness levels that are necessary for soccer. As the sport advances the fitness levels are also set at a higher standard. Consideration should be given to additonal training with Soccer Training. Incorrect and non sport specific training methods also need to be addressed and monitored. It is important that you look at a complete year round program. Planning is vitally important if you want success in the game.
Reducing the number of injuries within the team as a whole should be considered a "success" measure for coaches and trainers.
4. Poor judgement
In addition to lack of physical fitness, there can also be a lack of mental fitness. This creates situations whereby a player and even a coach for that matter, can lose a game by not being "focused".
Jump start your mental focus techniques by being In the Zone.
5. Faulty equipment
Problems can be created by faulty field equipment,even such simple things as the ball not being the right pressure (too soft for foot control or too hard for heading) or the goal-posts not being aligned correctly, (goal-keepers beware).
It can mean faulty and unstable flag poles that could even stab a player.
For youth players this could mean boots that are incorrectly sized or are too old to give the correct support. Having the right boots (or "cleats") is essential. Soccer Cleats has some solid advice that will help you find the correct fit for all involved in the sport.
6. Incomplete recovery
This is my personal concern because I believe this is "short term gain for long term pain".
We have all heard of
"He used to be faster."
"She doesn't kick as hard as she used to".
"He won't head the ball any more".
These are all often related to injuries. First the body gets injured and then the mind gets injured by developing coping stategies for the new condition.
Not allowing the athlete to completely recover leads to re-injury. This also leads to lack of performance at the higher or expected level, often causing blame to be directed at the player, "blaming the victim", which leads to self-blame and loss of self worth, first in sports performance and then to other areas of life.
A team has to survive injury to players
Yes, sometimes a single player can make all the difference in a game at many given times, and loss due to injury can pose some real problems.
The coach simply has to deal with any and all situations that they are presented with. The team also needs to feel that they can deal with a variety of situations, which may include losing certain players or play makers before, or often during a game.
However, from the perspective of the injured player, being injured doesn't mean staying away from the team or the games to recover. It means participating in all other aspects of the sport, that is the organizational and social aspects. Soccer is a highly social sport so no one should "suffer" in isolation.
Look at the injury recovery time from a "Holistic" perspective; the total athlete needs to be addressed. That is the physical, mental, social and emotional aspects should be combined to ensure that there are self worth components included.
Also consider that the injury recovery time could be used as a phase to regenerate and even activate other areas of growth. This could be as simple as compiling statistics for the team or complicated as helping to develop game strategies while "scouting" the other teams. It could be as simple as supplying the team with water or as complicated as designing an annual nutritional plan for the entire team, player by player.
Recovery can be a time of great growth for all the team members.
Elsewhere on this site, we deal with Stretching, Flexibility, Weight Training, and Mental Focus strategies. Also, go to Improve Your Mental Game Performance!
For additional links, go to Soccer Injuries Links.