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Soccer coaching tips to tackle cramp
Cramp is a common injury that affects hard working muscles such as the calves in soccer players. The following soccer coaching tips tell you what to do when this happens and how to avoid it.
Cramp occurs when a muscle goes into spasm and refuses to relax. The pain in the affected muscle can range from a slight spasm to agonising pain. It can last a few seconds through to 15 minutes and can come back.
Three reasons why cramp happens
- Fatigue: Cramp sets in when our muscles are tired.
- Dehydration: It happens when players have not drunk enough water.
- Conditioning: The less fit players are, the more likely they are to suffer from cramp.
Tips to help cramp
The immediate treatment for muscle cramp is to stretch and gently massage the muscle. Use ice packs for severe cases and drink water or a sports drink. Grasp the muscle with one hand and pull back on the toes with the other.
Point toes upward to help relieve the spasm. You can continue exercising after massage but if the pain is too acute then 24 hours rest is advised.
How can your players avoid cramp?
Coaching your players using soccer warm-up drills (especially stretching) is essential, good fitness, plenty of fluid and a nutritious diet are also helpful.