This week I got this question from an email subscriber of mine asking about warming up for a warm up.
“Hi Paul, I watched that World Cup final on Sunday night and couldn't help but think about Germany’s Sami Khedira, who missed out on playing because of an injury he suffered in the warm up. It got me thinking - if something like a calf injury can happen in a warm up, do we all now need to be considering a pre-warm up, warm up? I'm a coach with junior football team and am wracking my brain, thinking of ways to get my lads to be even more prepared for their games. Any words of advice?
LET me start by saying that what you witnessed on Sunday night rarely ever happens in top level sport. I'm not talking about a German team winning, of course, I'm talking about the type of injury Khedira suffered, which happened at the most inconvenient of times just 20 minutes before the start of a World Cup final.
Chances are that with all of the preparation, sometimes these things just happen and there’s nothing more you could have done to prevent it from happening. And from my own personal experience of top level sport, I can reveal that the Argentinian team would probably have had a fair idea that it was going to happen anyway.
Let me explain: There's often a calculated gamble going on during the selection of at least two or three players of any pro football team. That means at least two or three of the players you'll be watching from the stands on a Saturday afternoon will have had some sort of problem through the week, which was just enough to raise concerns with the medical team.
That doesn't mean we would rule them out just because of a "little niggle" that may or may not re-surface and, despite sports science and all of the information it brings to the game, it doesn't mean that the medical guys always get it right.
It’s just not possible. Not when you're dealing with human beings who are all very different and react differently to the same injuries.
On Sunday, my bet is that the medical team will have had a warning sign earlier in the day, maybe even the day before, that Khedira was carrying something going into the game.
As a medical man, it's your job to pass on your thoughts to the manager and present the facts and the chances of that player making it through. It’s then up to him to make the final call. Despite what you might think, it is nearly always the manager who has the final say (unless it’s something like a head injury of course).
A few tips for this: If you're involved with junior teams, you may need to observe your players just that bit more to discover something like this before a game.
You could even just watch them. They won't always be great at describing the symptoms to you, but I usually find when it comes to children or teenagers, you've got to go back and ask the same question in a different way, about four or five times. Only then, do you get any idea of what may or may not be concerning them.
And some tips to stop a calf injury in a warm up: No sprinting, kicking a ball or jumping until you've jogged for at least 5-6 minutes and just enough to see the colour change in your cheeks.
There’s no static stretching, only the "dynamic" type where you’re on the move continuously and remember to cool down at the end. A little hint: Many injuries are carried over to the next game because of a failure to cool down properly at the end of the previous game.
If you are struggling with an injury, I invite you to visit my webpage, www.paulgoughphysio.com/sports-injury, where you will find a special report titled “The 7 Secret Recovery Strategies That Only The Pro Athletes Know And Use.”
It’s basically a “tips sheet” I've made available for you. There are just 13 free digital copies of the special report containing all of the EXACT recovery tactics I used on the footballers, including calf injuries, which any person can follow.