Benefits and Flaws of Suicide Sprints with John Gallucci Jr.
Running sprints are not always a player’s favorite drill — in fact, most youth soccer players hate suicide sprints. The question really is — are they beneficial? Or are they just too much? We thought we would ask the expert – we hoped he would tell us they were awful … but he didn’t. He actually said they were a great way …
John Gallucci Jr., MLS Medical Coordinator responsible for more than 600 professional soccer players and medical analyst on FOX Sports discusses the benefits and drawbacks of sprints during training. Gallucci is also the author of the popular Soccer Injury Prevention and Treatment.
Coaches love to have soccer players run suicide sprints – Can too many injure a player? Lead to more pulled muscles?
Suicide or wind sprints, although they have a bad rap due to their usage as a form of punishment following a game, are a great way for a soccer player to condition their cardiovascular systems and increase their endurance as well as train their fast twitch muscle system to develop the acceleration and explosive power that is necessary during the game.
There is always a risk of injury when participating in athletic events. In order to reduce your risk of injury, be sure to warm up and cool down properly, utilize proper form, prepare for the environment you will be working out in and know your bodies limits.
Suicide sprints are a great form of exercise for the soccer player but please keep in mind that they should not be performed following an intense game or practice, as the body is already fatigued and further fatigue can lead to injury.
Overuse injuries when playing in a tournament: -What are the most common injuries and how can a player minimize the risks of injury when playing multiple games over a weekend?
Due to the repetitive nature of soccer in activities such as running, cutting and kicking, soccer athletes are at an increased risk of chronic or overuse injuries primarily of the lower extremities.
The risk of overuse injuries can increase when playing a tournament, due to the number of games played in such a short period of time with little rest.
Overuse injuries usually appear gradually and their onset usually cannot be traced to one specific instance. Examples of overuse injuries that are more common in the soccer athlete are Achilles and patellar tendonitis, IT band syndrome, tibial stress reactions (shin splints) and bursitis of the knee and hip.
In order to minimize one’s risk of developing an overuse injury it is important to incorporate rest days into one’s training schedule. During exercise our bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments are fatigued and broken down and then are repaired and recovered during rest. If we don’t allow enough time for our bodies to repair and recover and the breakdown of the tissue exceeds the rebuilding of the tissue, injuries will occur.
In an ideal world soccer players would only play one game a day and would have a rest or light practice day in between.
When we come back to reality, we realize that sometimes this is not possible and that some tournaments may require two or three games per day. In this case be sure to provide your body with the nutrients and fluids it needs to sustain throughout the day, warm up and cool down prior and following each game and rest during periods in between games.
For more detailed information on overuse injuries, refer to my book “Soccer Injury Prevention and Treatment: A Guide to Optimal Performance for Players, Parents, and Coaches.”