April 12, 2022

Injury Prevention: The Importance of Quality Warmup Sessions

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Mike Semenza

soccer

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Injury Prevention is a very broad topic that is gaining more attention at the youth sports level where injury rates continue to rise. But what is injury prevention and how do we incorporate it into our individual training?

Injuries are arguably the biggest setback that athletes face in their careers. The physical and mental toll that injuries can have on athletes can be harmful to their careers. Research supports the idea that athletes use pre and post-training “warmups” and “cool downs” to help avoid injuries.

Here at Blayze, we use a simple formula for injury prevention with our athletes: Activate, Train, Recover. This article will focus on the activation phase of our injury prevention methodologies.

The Blayze Activation phase is more commonly known around the soccer world as the “warmup”. The goal of the warmup (activation) is to increase the rate of blood flow to the major muscle groups to increase your overall body temperature before you begin your training session.

This increase in the overall body temperature is vital in ensuring major muscle groups are primed and ready to handle various amounts of stress accumulated during the training session. This helps to lower your risk of injury by decreasing muscle soreness onset both during and after the training session.

See below for a detailed look at an example of our Blayze Activation Phases:

Warmup Drills

10 yd Jog Dribble - Left and Right Foot

A light jog focusing on controlled touches with the right or left foot for 10 yards. Return on the jog, keeping the ball controlled and close to the body with your touches. Repeat as many times as desired.

10 yd Jog Dribble - Freestyle

Explore different surfaces of both feet as you jog and dribble however you want for 10 yards and return on the jog keeping the ball close to your body at all times. Mix in some lateral cuts, rolls, and light changes of direction or skill moves to increase your comfort on the ball. Repeat as many times as desired.

World’s Greatest Stretch with Ball

A total body stretch focused on increasing body temperature and blood flow to the quads, glutes, hamstrings, and calves. Perform these in a slow, smooth, and controlled rhythm for maximum benefit. Repeat as many times as desired.

Dynamic Calf Stretch Left and Right

Another total body activation movement focused on keeping a strong core while performing a calf stretch paired with an opposite leg heel reach and drive. Simulates the body’s movement when collecting and delivering passes or shots. Repeat as many times as desired.

Juggle in Place - Feet only with bounce

Increase your comfort on the ball by using lace touches to keep the ball close to your body between bounces. Try to generate a slight backspin on the ball to keep it from bouncing forward off of your foot. This is a great exercise to improve an athlete’s first touch on the ball while also demanding the athlete be focused mentally. Repeat as many times as desired.

Juggle with Bounce Moving Forward - Alternating Feet

Move forward with your touches in-between bounces to work on total body and ball control while moving into space. Challenge yourself to get your eyes forward to see where you need to direct the ball with each touch. Focus on locking your ankle and pointing your toe down to help the ball travel forward with every touch. Repeat as many times as desired.

High Plank with Ball Rolls

A heavy core activation movement helps the athlete improve total body motor control while increasing core, hip, and shoulder stability. A great movement for any athlete to perfect to avoid injury in the upper and lower extremities. Focus on keeping the hips locked in place while you roll the ball side to side. Pretend you have a glass of water on your back while doing this and don’t spill it! Repeat as many times as desired.

Standing Quad Stretch with Bend - Right and Left

The quads and hamstrings are two of the major muscle groups we rely on heavily while training and playing soccer. Perform this stretch to help lengthen these muscle groups, allowing you to generate more power through them when striking the ball. Lengthening these muscles helps prevent strains or tears of the muscles. Perform this movement slow and controlled with a heavy focus also on your ability to balance on one leg. Repeat as many times as desired.

5 yd Pass to Collect and Dribble Around Cone - Left Foot and Right Foot

Time to get the heart rate up a little bit before jumping into the session. The end of the warmup should always try to simulate the high-intensity movements required in the game of soccer. Pass the ball with the correct weight and direction in between the cones. Immediately react and sprint to retrieve your pass. Collect the ball on the move while turning to dribble the ball around the cone and back to the start. Remember to keep the ball close to your body while collecting on the move and dribbling around the cones. Repeat as many times as desired.

Learn More With Blayze!

Blayze’s unique but simple approach to injury prevention and the activation phase ensures that all of our athletes are performing top-quality warmup sessions before their individual training. Focusing intensely on preparing the major muscle groups simultaneously paired with important technical aspects of the game like moving, dribbling, passing, shooting, and so on.

At Blayze we give you a personalized coaching session from the very best coaches in the world. For a truly unique and personalized feedback experience, submit your performance video to one of Blayze’s highly qualified coaches. The custom-developed coaching session can help you improve your on-field skills, so you are performing at your very best in every game. One easy click here will take you to more details on our coaching sessions.

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About the coach

Blayze Coach Mike Semenza

Mike Semenza

6+ years of professional coaching with LA Galaxy, EXOS and COPA STC

Soccer

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