Soccer is the most popular sport in the world due to its exciting gameplay, aggressive interactions, and intricate footwork. But the factors that can make the sport most compelling can also put the players at risk of injury. Because of this, the International Federation of Association Football otherwise known as FIFA has implemented an injury prevention program.
This program is commonly called the FIFA 11+ Prevention Program due to the promotion of fair play and the incorporation of exercises that have been proven to effectively prevent certain injuries associated with soccer. Studies have shown that mid- to long-term (>6 weeks) application of the program improves the vast majority of biomechanical measures, core stability, and balance abilities.1 The program is especially recommended for females between the ages of 13-18 who are at a higher risk of knee and ACL injury.
The program includes 15 exercises that can be broken down into three main sections that include running and stretching (low impact), strength exercises, and running (high impact). The entire program can be performed 2-3 times a week as part of injury prevention; however, the first and third parts of the program may be used for warm-up before practices and games.
Massachusetts Youth Soccer utilizes the FIFA 11+ for all ODP sessions and any other U12-U18 sessions coached by our full-time staff, we strongly recommend that all youth soccer organizations adopt the FIFA 11+ as a warm-up routine prior to practices and games.2
Here are some of the most prominent benefits of FIFA’s 11+ Injury Prevention Program:
- Protects You from Injury
The most obvious benefit of an injury prevention program is that it will help to prevent injuries. The exercises in this program were specifically chosen by FIFA’s medical research center and have evidence-based reliability in preventing injury.
One of the best parts about this program is that it requires minimal equipment to complete as you only need a soccer ball.
- Time Efficient
Many people don’t practice prevention exercises before a workout or sport because it can be time-consuming. Fortunately, the FIFA 11+ Prevention Program only takes 10-15 minutes to complete, so there is no reason not to do it!
- Diverse and Effective Exercises
There are many different injuries you can sustain while playing soccer, so it is important to cover all your bases. This injury prevention program does that for you! These exercises are focused on strengthening the core, thigh muscles, perception, stabilization, and alignment. Additionally, most of the program’s exercises work these aspects simultaneously, making them even more beneficial.
- Improved Performance
Not only will this program help to protect your body from injury, but it may also improve your performance. These exercises work to loosen your joints and muscles so that you can play your best game.
- Encourages Good Sportsmanship
Because the 11th component of this program is the promotion of fair play, this motivates players to play with an honest and respectful attitude. This mantra also discourages unnecessary roughness between players.
There are many benefits to FIFA’s 11+ Injury Prevention Program, and this program is certainly a step in the right direction when it comes to protecting players from injury..
If you have suffered from a sports injury or want to prevent one, contact Dr. Mithoefer for his expert opinion today!
Dr. Kai Mithoefer is board-certified in both Orthopedic Surgery and Orthopedic sports medicine specialist. Dr. Mithoefer is an internationally recognized specialist for complex shoulder and knee injuries with over 15 years of experience with the treatment of sports-related injuries. Dr. Mithoefer has published more than 100 scientific articles and book chapters and is a frequent speaker at national and international orthopedic meetings.