3 Drills to help prevent knee injuries in Field Hockey
Knee Injuries in field hockey are very common especially in the younger players 11+ years. This is because the sport demands on the knee joints are high.
Lunges as we reach for the ball, running, sprinting and changing direction are all factors that can lead to knee injuries unless we teach ourselves how to move effectively.
The good news is if we train ourselves to move in certain ways it can really help to reduce that risk. It will not eliminate it completely as contact from other players is also a cause.
Here are three exercises looking at 3 typical movements within Field Hockey that can put pressure on the knees and how we can use drills to reduce that risk.
Running and planting Drill
There are 3 ways in which the knee joint can be over strained with Field Hockey. The first is by landing on your foot and then your body keeps moving laterally and you get a lateral force through the knee. This drill teaches you to land firstly on a soft knee (see drill below), and control your body by not letting it move from on top of your knee. Imagine you have a sticky foot and the the body lands directly on top.
Another method of knee injury is landing on a straight knee. So if you suddenly change direction or lunge for the ball and land on one leg you need to practice landing on a soft knee and this will help reduce the risk of a knee injury.
The Box Squats are a great drill to not only build power in the legs but also to help you learn to land on soft knees.
The 3rd way you can injure your knees is as you turn or change direction. As you turn it is very easy to twist through the knee and not turn through the foot. Practising fast feet and turning as well as running backwards and changing direction will help to reduce the risk of injuring your knees.