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To tell a soccer player to break a leg before a game might not be the best way to send him off because soccer players can literally break a leg during an intense match. The lower extremities are most prone to injury and the common ones are ankle sprains, ruptured ligaments, pulled hamstrings, groin strains, and metatarsal or shin fractures. There is nothing more upsetting for an athlete than sitting out an entire season because of an injury.
Conditioning the body not only improves an athlete's performance, it also reduces the risk of injury. Proprioceptive training is one way to reduce one's proclivity to injury as the exercise improves one's sense of mobility, alignment, and balance. An example of this type of exercise is to stand on a wobble board or Togu trainer and hold and maintain your balance for a few seconds.
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Strengthening the hamstrings with exercises such as the Nordic Ham Curl or Gym Ball Hamstring Curl can help in preventing pulled hamstrings. Likewise, enhancing gluteal (buttocks) and core strength might help give the person more control over knee movement which in turn can prevent the dreaded rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). Single-leg deadlifts, lunges, and squats are popular exercises for the glutes while planking (prone and side) is a great way for developing the abs for better balance.
I am Naman Wakil, a sports science student, and I love soccer. Follow me on Twitter for more updates on sports training and soccer.