If you play soccer, football, swim, golf, are a runner, or play tennis, it never hurts to have a refresher course. An athlete’s guide for preventing sports injuries can help those just starting out in peewee leagues or veterans of all types of sports. It could help you reduce the risk of missing an entire season of play.  Even some well-known sports figures think they can get by occasionally skipping the basics. Don’t let that be you.

Yes, The Warm Up Is Essential

Woman stretching before workout.

Never start a practice or a game without first taking 5 to 10 minutes to warm up. This means boosting your blood flow, increasing your heart rate, and flexing and stretching your muscles.

Mimic some of the movements you normally do in a game, but keep it low intensity.

Stretching Comes Next

Once your muscles are warmed up, add in stretches. They improve posture, mechanics, flexibility, and agility.

You can do static stretches where you hold the stretch for 10 to 30 seconds. Then try dynamic stretches where you hold the stretch as you move other parts of your body.

Never Play Through Pain

If something hurts, stop playing. Rest, apply some ice, and take a break from using that joint or muscle. Your body will always tell you when something isn’t right.

Increase Intensity Slowly

Never go beyond your limits. Young athletes tend to try to more than they are able. Your risk for an injury increases when you do too much too fast.

Use Proper Mechanics

This will prevent muscle strains and pulls.

The Importance of Sleep AND Water

If you are tired, it affects your performance. This can lead to a mistake and possibly an injury.

As for hydration, every good athlete knows the importance of drinking water throughout a game or practice. 

Some other tips for preventing injuries include the following:

  • Alternate exercising different muscle groups.
  • Don’t forget the cooldown. It should take twice as long as the warm up.
  • Always use the right equipment and gear.
  • Never continue to play through an injury. It will only get worse.
  • If you do sustain an injury, don’t rush through rehabilitation. Take the time you need to fully recover.

Talk to your coach or contact Anderson Orthopaedic Clinic at one of our locations for more ideas on how to prevent sports injuries or if you need help with a recent injury.