Playing football after school or in a recreational soccer league can be a great way to have fun and stay in shape. However, there is always the chance that you could suffer an injury if you aren’t careful. Those injuries could keep you off of your feet for weeks or even require surgery to properly fix. What are some ways that you can prevent a sports injury from happening in the first place?
Make Sure You Have the Right Safety Equipment
If you are engaging in a game where you may hit others or get hit yourself, you will want to wear a helmet to protect your head. You may also want padding to protect your arms, chest and leg. Although it may feel stuffy or uncomfortable to have several extra pounds of padding on your body, you will appreciate it when you are tackled hard to the ground or take a puck to your knee or shins.
In addition to making sure that you have the right equipment, you need to make sure that it fits properly, according to Integrated Health Solutions. Pads that are not snug to your body could slip or come off completely. They could also allow a ball or puck to get between your padding and your body, which may make for an awkward moment in addition to increasing the risk that you get hurt.
Stretch and Otherwise Make Sure You’re Loose before You Play
Tight muscles are more likely to tear or strain than muscles that have been properly stretched and prepared for several hours of running and cutting. To prepare for a game, you may want to run some sprints at half speed as well as go through a variety of stretches that target your hamstrings and quads. Stretches should also be done to keep your back and shoulders loose as well.
If you have stretched and done a few sprints and still feel pain, it may be worthwhile to sit out for the day. What may feel like a simple muscle tweak could turn into a complete tear if you push it too hard. Generally, adequate rest and relaxation can help a minor muscle issue heal. If you have been injured or feel pain for any reason, you should use a mixture of heat and ice directly to the impacted muscle.
Use Good Technique When Playing
For the most part, you won’t throw a ball farther or shoot harder by putting more effort into your throw or shot. Instead, the success or failure of your efforts tends to depend on technique. Allowing your throwing or shooting motion to naturally propel the ball saves a lot of strain on your body. Many athletes try to pitch faster by torquing their elbow or extending their arm too far, which can lead to a serious injury.
If you play in a professional or otherwise competitive league, your coaches will help you refine your form to play in a safe manner. In the event that you play in a rec league and don’t have access to formal coaching, you can watch YouTube videos or other tutorial videos to further refine and develop your technique.
For those who are intent on being able to throw harder, kick farther or run faster, it may be a good idea to lift weights to get stronger. Adding muscle will naturally make you able to perform at a higher level without having to do anything unnatural.
Playing sports at a competitive or recreational level is something that many people enjoy doing. However, you won’t have as much fun if you are hurt. Therefore, make sure that you have the right safety equipment, use good form and make sure that you stretch and loosen up properly before a competition.