By Andrea Cutrupi
Football is a contact sport that requires physical attitude and the ability to play at high levels of intensity. Therefore, football carries a significant risk of injuries for both professional and amateur players, as in the case of most other sports, regardless of age.
Football-related injuries are associated with both non-modifiable factors, such as sex and age, and modifiable factors, such as those that can be improved through programs that influence force, balance, and flexibility. Although both sets of factors interact and are risk determinants, professional players stop participating in football because of many modifiable causes. The evaluation and implementation of preventive soccer training routines are essential, as injuries are associated with expensive treatment and prolonged withdrawal duration.
The FIFA 11+ injury prevention program was developed in 2006 to address this matter, under the leadership of the FIFA Medical Assessment and Research Centre. The program comprises a complete warm-up procedure aimed at injury prevention in football players. It includes 15 structured exercises and is easily executed. The exercises consist of core stabilization, eccentric thigh muscle training, proprioceptive training, dynamic stabilization, and plyometric exercises, all performed with proper postural alignment.
The FIFA 11+ injury prevention program has been recommended and adopted worldwide, owing to its effectiveness and easy application. Program effectiveness was confirmed by various studies involving female and male players that revealed significant decreases in the incidence of non-contact injuries. The main finding of this study was that the program reduced injury risk by 30%.
The program is composed of 3 stages, with 15 exercises following a specific sequence. It is essential that the correct techniques are used, with emphasis on appropriate posture and body control, including leg alignment, knee positioning over the foot tip, and smooth landings. The program is based on performing warm-ups at least twice a week. Studies also indicated that a qualified trainer and medical monitoring are factors that influence the effectiveness of the FIFA 11+ program. Furthermore, a period of at least 10–12 weeks is required to obtain results.
You can find the Picture of the program below