How to Prevent Injuries to Your Youth Soccer Team

A soccer player being stretchered off - (Photo:

Injuries are a sad aspect of soccer and seemingly cannot be prevented.  However, there are several things that coaches can do to help reduce the chances of injuries and sometimes prevent them altogether.  As a coach, it is your responsibility to unsure that players are able to be relatively safe from injury.  Here are some tips to help keep players on the field and away from the ice packs.

Stretch!  Always stretch!  Soccer players need to be loose to play at their best and the same can be said of their muscles.  Because soccer involves series of heavy sprints and collisions, your players need to be loose so that they don’t pull or tear important ligaments in their bodies.

Before stretching, always have your team do a light jog for several minutes.  This helps increase the blood flow and warms them up for stretching.  This enables the stretches to be more comfortable for your players and also enables more loosening of the muscles so that your players are ready for live action.

Another important safety tip is to require that your team wears shin guards.  If a player shows up to a game or practice without them, don’t let them play!  Yes, it is not a fun discussion to have with the child or their parents, but it is a much better talk than the one you’d have if their child suffered a broken leg.

Since injuries are often unavoidable, be sure to have a first-aid kit on hand just in case.  Players may suffer cuts or bruises regardless of your safety precautions and you will need to be able to step in and help the player out.  Also, bring along a cooler with some ice packs to practices and games.  Most injuries are best treated initially with cold compresses, and early action is vital for reducing swelling and treating such injuries.

Also, be sure to have a plan in action in case of a major trauma or injury.  Concussions have been in the news recently as a major injury to athletes, and you need to be prepared and ready to deal with such situations when they arise.

Much of fighting injuries has to do with common sense.  If you see your players fooling around or doing something dangerous, tell them to stop.  Injuries are a very serious part of the game and can have damaging effects that go beyond missing game time.  Be smart with your team so that they can stay healthy during the soccer season.


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