1. The FIFA “11+” is an injury prevention program developed by a comprehensive group of international experts, and is targeted for soccer players aged 14 or older.
2. Scientific studies have shown that youth soccer teams who adopted the 11+ program had lower rates of injury as compared to teams who warmed up as usual. Therefore, FIFA recommends that youth soccer teams should implement the 11+ as their sole warm-up routine.
3. The 11+ program is broken down into three parts:
a. Part 1: Slow-speed running exercises coupled with active and partner stretching
b. Part 2: Core and leg strength exercises, along with balance, plyometrics, and agility exercises.
c. Part 3: Moderate/high speed running exercises integrated with cutting and pivoting movements.
4. Maintaining proper technique while performing the exercises is crucial. Ensure that athletes are using good posture and body control, focusing on soft landings, straight leg alignment, and knee-over-toe position.
5. It’s important to express the importance of injury prevention to athletes. When teaching the 11+ program, focus on demonstrating one exercise at a time, observe the athletes performing the exercise, provide feedback, and re-demonstrate the exercises as needed until the athletes feel comfortable performing them.
6. While the aim of the 11+ program is to prevent athletes from potentially painful and debilitating injuries, more healthy athletes means more choices for coaches, and hopefully more goals. When coaches and athletes understand the utility of injury prevention strategies, we all win!
Click here to learn more about how to implement the FIFA 11+ program.