PRACTICAL PHYSIO TIPS TO REDUCE INJURIES - Shire Football, Netball, AFL, Rugby League and Union

Shire football and practical physio tips to reduce injuries 

With the local Shire Football season coming to a close, and as we enter into the 'Off-season' for most, I take a look back at the season that was, and offer some practical tips for improving individual and team performance for next year.

My personal performance this season was, for the most part, pretty interesting.

I signed up late. Suffered two separate soft tissue injuries and was a part of the premiership winning AL2 team and community at Georges River FC. 


As a physio and an athlete, I know there is nothing more frustrating than sustaining an injury during the competitive season, or at any time for that matter.

My injuries were a direct result of poor preparation. Indecision about playing meant that I missed pre-season training and a real chance to build the capacity needed for in-season. A chance to build resiliency. 

With the deadline for sign-up looming, I finally decided to jump on board. After really only training jiu-jitsu for the between-season period, I jumped straight into 70-90 minutes of centre-half football.


For people familiar with the the work of Tim Gabbett, this put me into the 'Danger Zone' for injury risk (something I will write about in the future), and low and behold, injury ensued. 

In a very brief, unjust description of this part of Tim's work, my acute workloads (short term or weekly workload/training) had far exceeded my chronic training workloads (the 4-6 weeks prior). Not to mention the complete lack of training specificity also.

This excessive and rapid increase in training, was an important contributor to my resulting injuries and has important and practical weight for you and your team in preparing for next year. 

As is often said, the team with the least injuries coming into finals time has the upper hand.


For football (and other sports), there is good evidence for injury "prevention" programs. Although, as highlighted by Mick Hughes and others, they really should be called Injury Reduction Programs. Prevention implies that injuries will not occur, but we know that this is not the case. Despite the best training and "prevention" programs, injuries will still happen. 


The FIFA 11+ program is an Injury Reduction Program that incorporates specific strengthening, motor control and jumping/landing exercises into a structured warm-up session. 

The FIFA 11+ can reduce football injuries in recreational/subelite football by 39%. It was shown to reduce hamstring, hip/groin, knee and ankle injuries (60%, 41%, 48% and 32% respectively).

A meta-analysis (a statistical procedure for combining data from multiple studies) showed that Injury Reduction Programs (like FIFA11+), can not only decrease ACL injury up to 50%, but all knee injuries by 30%. 

Injury Reduction Programs:

We should be making these programs a non-negotiable part of our training, games and preparation. 

reducing the burden of injury

If we can reduce injury risk as a community, we can reduce the financial, physchological, social and time burden that is part and parcel of injury and rehabilitation.  Ultimately, it means more time to play, have fun and enjoy life! 

The Key take-aways:

  • Don't shy away from training hard. Just train smart. Acute spikes in workload will ultimately lead to injuries. Build capacity. Train and adapt accordingly. 
  • Implement an Injury Reduction Program. Just 2 sessions a week (more than 30-minutes per week) will help to significantly decrease injury risk. It's pretty simple really. 
  • Move well. Build resiliency. Build capacity. Practice skills.

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Here is a list of resources from Mick Hughe's website. He has great information on all things physio and sports medicine, but particularly his ACL and injury resources are great. And frequently updated!

Mick Hughes Physio - Resources


Thorborg et al (2017) 

Gabbett (2016)

Donnell-Fink et al (2015)