With sports seasons greatly disrupted and the intermittent closing of schools, gyms and training facilities across the state, the current pandemic has vastly affected the training schedules of student-athletes of all levels.
And, despite sports seasons being postponed or canceled, student-athletes looking toward getting back into competitive shape in anticipation of the end of the health crisis. As they do, Salinas physical therapist Dr. Kurt Munoz, PT, warns that the lack of proper instruction can, after months of downtime, put athletes at a greater risk of injury.
Because of this, Munoz strongly suggests athletes and coaches adopt a proven, research-based injury prevention program such as the FIFA 11+.
“Those coming back to practice and competition after a long layoff due to the pandemic … they are likely to have a different workout schedule and approach than before,” said Munoz, of Balance Physical Therapy & Human Performance Center in Salinas. “That’s why it’s more important than ever to have a comprehensive injury prevention program like FIFA 11+ to help mitigate – not eliminate, but reduce – sports injury.”
A highly researched injury prevention program specifically designed to prevent injuries in the sport of soccer, the FIFA 11+ program touted by Munoz has proven beneficial for most dynamic sports like basketball, football, lacrosse, etc.
A 20-minute warm-up program meant to be performed by teams at least three times per week (prior to training and games), studies have shown the FIFA-11+ program can reduce overall injuries by up to 36 percent.
So, what does the FIFA 11+ injury prevention program entail?
The program consists of 15 exercises divided int three components: running exercises with an emphasis on cutting, change of direction, deceleration and proper landing; strength, plyometrics and balance exercises; and high-speed running with more cutting/change-of-direction exercises.
Three levels of difficulty exist for many of the exercises, which gives the program the flexibility to adjust to the levels and skills of individual athletes. Most exercises can be done individually, but some require a partner.
“The FIFI 11+ was designed to be implemented for a team, and it was designed to be tailored to each individual on the team,” Munoz said. “Research has shown that each of the exercises is critical for athletes to realize the full benefits of the program. So, in other words, you can’t cherry pick exercises and expect to get all you can out of the program.”
According to Munoz, no certification is required for coaches to implement the FIFA-11+ program for their teams. However, properly performing each exercise is critical, as is ensuring each player progresses through exercise levels based on his/her individual skill level.
How Balance PT Can Help
That’s why Munoz and the Balance Physical Therapy team has taken a leadership role in providing guidance for coaches, sports programs and clubs that want to implement the FIFI 11+ program for the health and performance of their players.
“Our goal is to work with not only coaches, but directors for local sports clubs to help them understand how to implement this incredibly effective program for their teams,” Munoz said. “We’ll also work with individual athletes who may want to master portions of the program on their own.”
For more information on the FIFA 11+ injury prevention program or how to implement this program for the benefit of your team, club or athletic program, contact Munoz at Balance Physical Therapy & Human Performance Center at (831) 422-4782.
See our video below of Dr. Kurt Munoz’s seminar on FIFA 11+: