Injury Prevention


Pre Activity Warm Up

Before every training session or game, it is vital that each player undergoes a rigorous pre-activity warm up routine.  This routine gets especially critical as the player gets older and into their teenage years.

The warm up routine will eventually include a soccer ball and should focus mainly on preparing the body for physical exertion.  the warm up routine should take at least 20-30 minutes.

Body Activation

Begin the activation phase with the following...

  • Warm up with light jogging skipping and shuffles to increase your heart rate gradually.
  • Make sure the distance you jog is no more than 15 yards.
  • Use cones to mark out your area for the team.


One of the most important steps in the warm up, stretching should be dynamic and not standing still.  Stretching should incorporate full range of motion for the joints and muscles.  This should be done whilst walking or a very slow jog.

Ball Activation

Add a soccer ball to your warm up by dribbling a slower speeds, then gradually build it up faster.  This will also help the players to get a feel for the ball before their activity.

Final Progressions

Once the muscles have warmed up, this will allow you to finish the warm up phase with more strenuous exercises. The final steps of the warm up should include the following:

  • Changes of direction
  • Sprints
  • Acceleration changes 
  • Simulation of game play situations


Periodization is the control of the workload throughout a week, month or season, in order to maximize growth and development and reduce the chances of injury and fatigue.

Each training session and activity will have a level of physical demand attached to it.  It is the role of the coach to manage the work to rest ratio in order to give them the correct amount of time to take part in each activity.

A competitive game should have a demand level of 8-10 out of 10.  A practice will range from 4-8 depending on which day of the week it is on and how many times you practice during the week.
For example:

  • Player A plays a game on a Saturday, but has training on a Monday, this will only give the body and mind 48 hours rest in between.  So Monday's practice should be light to moderate.
  • Player B has a tournament weekend coming up and plays 3 or 4 games over the weekend.  Player B also has practice Monday, Tuesday & Thursday.  
    Player B should not practice at all on  Monday and Tuesday should be light to moderate.

Mental recovery is also important, each player needs to recover their mind and allow for family time and other fun activities.

A recovery day (Monday) can still be used at soccer practice in order to let the mind recover from the demand of the weekend games.  Coaches should incorporate fun activities into their practices in order to do this such as:

  • Soccer Tennis
  • Soccer Kickball
  • Fun Small Sided Games

Concussion Awareness

Concussion in youth sports is one of the most common injuries and also one of the most important to recognize right away.

Every coach and team manager at FC Westlake is required to undergo Concussion Protocol training each year in order to refresh themselves with the signs to look out for, and the steps to take if a player is suspected of having a concussion.

  • Can’t recall events prior to or after a hit or fall.
  • Appears dazed or stunned.
  • Forgets an instruction, is confused about an assignment or position, or is unsure of the game, score, or opponent.
  • Moves clumsily.
  • Answers questions slowly.
  • Loses consciousness (even briefly).
  • Shows mood, behavior, or personality changes.
  • Headache or “pressure” in head.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Balance problems or dizziness, or double or blurry vision.
  • Bothered by light or noise.
  • Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy.
  • Confusion, or concentration or memory problems.
  • Just not “feeling right,” or “feeling down”.

Signs and symptoms generally show up soon after the injury. However, you may not know how serious the injury is at first and some symptoms may not show up for hours or days. For example, in the first few minutes your child or teen might be a little confused or a bit dazed, but an hour later your child might not be able to remember how he or she got hurt.

You should continue to check for signs of concussion right after the injury and a few days after the injury. If your child or teen’s concussion signs or symptoms get worse, you should take him or her to the emergency department right away.




Rehydration begins as soon as the play phase is completed ends. Players should not stop drinking water when practice or a game ends. In fact, this is a very important time to drink because the body is no longer sweating as quickly as during play. When a player is dehydrated, it affects their ability to perform and their ability to regulate body temperature.

Players should consider these tips for recovering proper hydration levels:

  • Water is the best drink to rehydrate. Avoid sodas, carbonated water and caffeine. 
  • Urine should resemble lemonade. Darker urine means you need to drink more.
  • You should be aiming to drink 16-ounces of water for each pound lost during play - One pint for every pound lost during exercise.

Refueling the Body

The body uses carbohydrates to refuel. Muscles burn fuel quickly during the strenuous activity of a game or practice. In order to replenish the carbohydrates lost — it is important to eat foods that are good sources of carbs. To do this quickly, eat these foods within an hour after the practice or game, muscles refill carbs fastest immediately after exercise.

Good Carbohydrate Food Sources:

  • Banana's
  • Energy/Cereal Bar
  • Oatmeal
  • Cereal
  • Tuna Sandwhich
  • Chicken Sandwhich

Rebuilding the Body

The body rebuilds with protein. Muscles are mostly made of protein. During exercise, muscles get fatigued and damaged. Replacing proteins is imperative to allow muscles to rebuild themselves. Eating more protein also gives undamaged muscles more building material, helping them become stronger over time. Healthy foods contain all the protein anyone needs without adding specialty protein shakes to their diet.

High Protein Sources: 

  • Low Fat Milk
  • Soy Milk
  • Non-Fat Greek Yogurt
  • Eggs
  • Handful of Nuts
  • Tuna Sandwich
  • Chicken Sandwich