FIFA 11+ Program | Soccer Injury Prevention

Thursday, March 25, 2021

If you have played any form of sport then you will be well aware of the need for a ‘warm-up'. But what we need to think about is whether we are adequately physically prepared for the field or court and actually reducing our risk of injury. With the community sport season on hold because of the current pandemic, and a short quick winter sport season on the horizon, it's best to be prepared and ready - you can do this exercise at home!

A jog up and down the side of the pitch and a quick touch of the toes when you're told by the gaffa ‘you're on in 5' probably isn't the most effective method of warming up! So what does constitute an adequate warm up? Let me direct you to the FIFA 11+ injury prevention program. Developed and studied by the FIFA Medical Assessment and Research Centre (F-MARC), the FIFA 11+ injury prevention program has been tested and trialed in multiple research studies worldwide to significantly reduce injuries. Originally it was designed for soccer (football!) players but has since been trialed and used in other sports like basketball with good success. The FIFA 11+ warm-up has been shown to substantially reduce major injuries: stats ranged from 30%-70% reduction in injury rates when applying the program. It should be highlighted that our female sporting population between the ages of 13-18 are at a higher risk of knee and ACL injuries but the FIFA 11+ can reduce these injury rates by up to 50%.

So, what is this program?

It consists of 3 parts with a total of 15 exercises that are to be completed in a specific order.

Part 1: Slow-speed running exercises paired with active stretching and partner work.
Part 2: Core and leg strength exercises, along with balance, plyometrics, and agility exercises.
Part 3: Moderate/high speed running exercises integrated with cutting and pivoting movements.

Sutherland Physio FIFA 11+ injury prevention poster

On game day only the running parts of the program are to be completed which are parts 1 and 3. Part 2 is to be competed at the start of every training session (at least 2 times per week to get the best effect). I have created some short videos to guide you through some of these strength, plyometric and balance exercises and you can do them from home: YouTube. Each exercise should be competed for 3 sets, with about 1 min break in between.

The FIFA 11+ program is effective if it is completed regularly, at least twice a week. Results are usually seen around 9 weeks after implementing the program. Compliance is of utmost importance here — injury risk is lowest in those athletes with higher adherence to the program.

For any questions about how to minimise the risk of injury, of if you do get an injury and want to get yourself back on the field, book in with your local physiotherapist. We at Physio Inq want you to hit the ground running when the season starts up!

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