Reduce your risk of football injuries with these exercises

According to a recent study, the most common football injuries sustained during training, are the hamstring, quadriceps, calf and lumbar disc injuries. However, doing just three things can reduce your likelihood of landing all these injuries.

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This is welcome news, as over 80% of players pick up at least one injury per season and this injury will be enough to make them miss at least two games. But these three things are self-explanatory. Players need to ensure, they get enough sleep, get the proper nutrition and engage in mobility drills. They should also wear the appropriate kit such as Nike Football Kits which they can find at places like www.kitking.co.uk/brand/nike

But what kind of drills are the best?

Prehab before rehab

Prehab has become somewhat of a buzzword in football and while it does sound a little gimmicky, studies show it really works. Prehabilitation is a form of strength training for the entire body, regardless of the sport being played. It aims to prevent injuries before they occur and can also increase performance on the field.

Hindu press up

One of the most talked about prehab drills is the Hindu press up. With your feet slightly wider apart than your shoulders, you lean forward to create an inverted ‘V’ shape. Now keep your legs straight and bend your arms until your chin hovers above the floor. Then arch your back, which will shift you forward and lead you to look up towards the ceiling. Complete the move by raising your hips again to make the inverted ‘V’ position again.

Taking inspiration from yoga, this flow can be repeated 10 or 20 times and will work muscles from head to toe with very little risk of injury.

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Ankle alphabet training

This exercise is all about creating a variety of movements with a goal, i.e. completing the alphabet. To begin, stretch out your legs in front of you, lift one leg off the ground and use your pointed toes to draw the letters of the alphabet. Patience and practice are important here. Aim for accuracy to get the most out of this flow.

However, it’s important to remember, no exercise is an absolute guarantee against injury but you can make it less likely with drills and prehab work.

All about the FA’s People’s Cup

You no longer have to be a professional international player to take part in an FA tournament. The FA People’s Cup is a five-a-side competition that gives everyone a chance to get in on the action, regardless of age or ability. Organized by the FA, BBC’s “Get Inspired” campaign and small-pitch football clubs, any non-professional player can join in, whether they’re part of a regular five-a-side team or just individuals who enjoy playing occasionally. This has helped to inspire many people to take up the sport as well as encourage people to take the sport further.

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Record numbers

With 16 categories for male and female players ranging from under-14 to veterans, including disability and walking categories, the tournament, which only just completed its third edition in 2017, saw a record number of 45,000 players from 6,000 teams entering. The competition usually kicks off in February, with the semifinals in March and the finals in Birmingham over the May bank holiday weekend.

How to get involved

The competition is free to enter. Go to http://www.thefa.com/competitions/the-fa-peoples-cup and register your interest for the next tournament. Each year more and more people enter their teams. You can either enter as a team captain if you already have a team together, or you can enter as an individual and be placed in a team by your local center. You’ll be asked for a team name, so have one ready that suits your team’s identity.

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Teams are also expected to provide their own football kits, which include shirts, shorts, socks, shin pads and football boots suitable for astroturf. If you’re an individual player who is joining a wild card team, the organizers will provide a bib for you to wear over your own kit. It’s worth looking at Football Training Kits like www.kitking.co.uk/ to get all the kit and equipment you need.

Teams begin the competition in local heats, which include a group stage and a knockout stage. After that, they move on to the semifinals, which also take on a group stage and knockout stage format. The winners from the semi-final in each category then progress to the national final.

Do you have what it takes to go all the way in the FA People’s Cup? Whether you’re part of a Sunday League five-a-side team or just fancy teaming up with a few like-minded individuals to see how far you can progress, you too could be following the footballing legends as you begin your journey to victory.

Five Great Tips for Field Hockey Goalkeepers

It doesn’t matter which position you play in field hockey, there will always be room for improvement in both your physical game and your mental attitude to the sport. The goalkeeping position might seem the least thrilling, but it can be quite the mental battle. Here we look at five key tips for mental and physical survival in the goal position.

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Keep Calm and Keep Your Eye on the Ball

This may seem very obvious. Of course, you need to watch the ball at all times. But watching the ball getting closer or being flicked from way back down the field can cause a keeper to tense up. Stay loose, stay big and occupy that space. The more relaxed you are the more quickly your body will be able to react and stop that goal.

Stay Stable

Try not to wobble around or be tempted to lean back into your net. By keeping the balls of your feet on the ground, your center of gravity is lowered, so you are stabilizing yourself to ensure that when you do have to move, smother or kick the ball, you are in balance and less likely to fall backward. This sounds tricky. The best thing is to watch a hockey drill video to see the stance that the keepers take in between saves and kicks.

Come in for a Safe Landing

While the keeper is well padded, sometimes overly rotating to make the save can cause an awkward landing. You can improve your skills on the field with a hockey drill video. Always make sure that when you smother or dive you land smoothly on your hips and make full use of those guards. Over-rotation can cause knee problems, which can be tricky to fix.

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Hands in the Air

You want to fill that net space as much as you can – less space means less chance of a goal. Keep your hands up but stay comfortable – we don’t want a keeper with cramp. Then you can easily reach for those quickly incoming top corner shots.

Take It on the Chin

Not literally! Some goals are going to get past you. That’s par for the course. Yes, some goals might get through, but you can’t let them get you down. You are still an excellent keeper.