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Young soccer team at practice

Warm-up Routine Helps Soccer Players Prevent Injury

By: Tyler Miller, PTA, CSCS

Warm-up is an important aspect of sports performance for all athletes. Often, coaches will create their own warm-up routines for their teams. But, what if they had access to a complete warm-up program scientifically proven to prevent injuries in their specific sport?

FIFAFIFA has done this for soccer with their FIFA 11+ warm-up routine. This program was developed by an international group of sports science experts with the goal of preventing the most common injuries in soccer. Its effectiveness has been proven by multiple scientific studies. A 2008 study published in the British Medical Journal found teams that performed the 11+ program at least twice a week had 37% fewer training injuries and 29% fewer match injuries. Severe injuries were reduced by almost 50%.

The FIFA 11+ program, which targets soccer players age 14 and up, is a sport-specific, dynamic approach to warming up that does not require any special equipment. The program is broken into three parts with a total of 15 exercises that are performed, in a specific order, prior to the start of each training session or match. The entire sequence takes about 20 minutes to complete.

  • Part 1: Running exercises at slow speed with active stretching.
  • Part 2: Sets of exercises focusing on core and leg strength, balance, plyometrics and agility.
  • Part 3: Running exercises at higher speed with foot planting and cutting movements.

The exercises in this program are designed to build strength in the core and leg muscles, increase overall neuromuscular control and provide better coordination, balance, agility and jump technique. As proper form is essential, the 11+ manual includes detailed descriptions of each exercise along with pictures of both correct and incorrect form.

This program is a valuable tool for soccer coaches to implement into their practice and game routines, and is also appropriate for clinicians in the sports medicine professions who are working with soccer players after injury.

Parts of this program are currently used by the CHKD sports medicine team in our return to kicking progression for soccer players who are returning to play after lower extremity injury.

Please refer to the 11+ manual, poster and exercise cards for additional information and a detailed description of the program. We would like to acknowledge the FIFA Medical and Research Center (F-MARC) for providing these resources free to everyone.

About CHKD Sports Medicine

About CHKD Sports Medicine  CHKD's sports medicine program offers the most comprehensive care for your young athlete. From diagnosis and treatment to customized rehabilitation plans, we specialize in physical therapy and injury prevention programs for active children and teens. Our team is composed of pediatric orthopedic surgeons, sports medicine specialists, physician assistants, certified athletic trainers and pediatric sports medicine physical therapists.