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Knee and ACL Injuries – Coaching Landing Mechanics to Reduce Injury Risk

Following on from the previous blog (click here to open) using the FIFA 11+ warm up with your teams to reduce the risk of Knee and ACL injuries, we will take a look at one of the aspects of the warm up, and that is Landing Mechanics. Coaching how to land safely can help prevent the Knee joint from moving into a dangerous or vulnerable position during sporting activities.

 

There are other trainable physical aspects that are important in maintaining good Knee position during sports activities, such as strength in the muscles around the Hip and Knee joints, which will be looked at in the next blog. Learning how to decelerate properly and pivot are also quite important.

 

Proper Landing Mechanics can be coached when a player lands on either 1 or 2 feet, but the coaching points remain the same. When Knee injuries occur, they tend to involve the joint buckling inwards and also possibly with the Knee in a straight or extended position. When we look to train the correct landing mechanics we want the player to avoid these positions.

 

The main coaching points include

  1. Land with the Knee and Hip joints in a slightly bent or flexed position
  2. Maintain alignment between the Hip, Knee and Ankle joints
  3. Land softly on the ground (Listen for a heavy or soft landing. A nice cue is to tell your athlete to think of landing like a helicopter, not like a plane)
  4. Land and ‘stick’ in that position for 1 second before moving onto the next movement

 

There a variety of drills that can be used when coaching these points, and depending on the capability of the players, they can be made easier or more difficult. For example, increasing landing height or hop distance, moving from 2 leg to 1 leg drills and adding in moving diagonally or turning in the air are ways of making the drill more complex. On the other hand, reverting back to an exercise such as a single leg squat will be less challenging and may be an easier starting point.

In the next and final blog, I will look at the role of some of the muscles of the hip and the role they play in maintaining good Knee health.

Knee Injuries – How to Reduce the Knee Injury Rates for your team

Knee and ACL Injuries – Having being reading through some journal articles this week, which is a great way of keeping up to date with the latest research, I came across a study on Knee and ACL Injuries. Once again we have more evidence showing that undertaking a Dynamic Neuromuscular Warm Up such as the FIFA 11+ reduces Knee and ACL injury rates.

A trial was carried out across 65 male college soccer teams in the USA over 1 season. 27 of the teams warmed up with the FIFA 11+ routine, while the other 34 teams did not.

For the teams who used the FIFA 11+ routine before matches and trainings, they reported much lower Knee and ACL injuries.

They had 3 ACL tears, compared to 16 in the other group, with only 34 Knee injuries in total, compared to 102 in the other group.

The bottom line here for all coaches and therapists is that Knee and ACL injury rates can be reduced by undertaking Dynamic Neuromuscular Warm Up Routines. All that is needed is a bit more education on these issues and investing some time to go through these aspects of a warm up.

Here is a link to the Journal Article
Does the FIFA 11+ Injury Prevention Program Reduce the Incidence of ACL Injury in Male Soccer Players