Touch Footy – get fit to play

Published: 05 Aug 2020

Touch Footy – get fit to play

At The Healthy Body Company we love Touch Footy and our big boss Steve Cunningham has been involved with Touch NSW and Touch Football Australia for over 23 years now. Such a longstanding relationship means that our team has seen our fair share of touch footy injuries at tournaments and through our clinics.

“The nature of Touch Footy involves lots of speed, quick direction changes and acceleration, agility, flexibility and endurance”

The most common touch footy injuries we see include sprains of ligaments, particularly of the ankle and knees when players have awkward landing techniques or poor dynamic control during change of direction. Some overuse injuries of the lower limb are common, such as shin splints, Achilles tendinopathy, stress fractures and patellar femoral pain syndrome. The hamstrings are renowned for copping strains especially during dumps and trys. Often players can get lower back pain or strains from this same mechanism too. And of course, who can forget the shoulder injuries. We’ve seen many dislocated shoulders and AC joint sprains/ruptures during tournaments usually by those players determined to make or break a score a try.

Steph Cummins one of our physios who has worked with the NSW and Aussie teams has put together some exercises for stretching and strengthening for Touch Players.

Stretching + Strengthen – when and how much?

Stretching can be (and ideally should be!) done every day and especially following every training session and game. Stretches need to be held for at least 30 seconds!! The hamstrings need good flexibility and so do your gluteal and hip flexor muscles. 

Adding in some of the strengthening and agility exercises a few times a week during training sessions or outside of training within your own home or gym environment can help to build strength and avoid those injuries listed above.

touch footy physiotherapy
Hip Flexor stretch: Kneel into the position shown below and “tuck” your bottom under. You should feel this one at the front of your kneeling hip.
Nordic Hamstrings: You’ll need a partner or a solid couch to wrap you feet underneath for this one.
Have your feet secured to the ground behind you, then slowly and smoothy as possible lower towards the ground using your hamstrings to resist falling. Put out your arms to stop the fall and use them to push yourself upright to repeat. Do 8-12 reps and build up to 2-3 sets.
Touch footy physio
Single-Leg Squat: Stand on one leg and slowly bend your knee as far as you can maintain before straightening up again and repeat. Concentrate on not letting the knee track inwards and keeping you hips and upper body level throughout the movement. If this is too challenging you can lightly hold onto a wall/bench or start with both feet on the ground. Do 10-12 reps and x 2 sets on each leg.
Physiotherapy physio touch footy
Jump Lunges: Start in a lunge position and then quickly jump up to switch so the opposite foot lands forward as you lower into the lunge. Make sure your front knee does not creep past your toes. Do 12-15 jumps and x 2-3 sets.
physiotherapy physio touch footy
Planks with shoulder taps: A good one for all over core strength and building some strength and stability into the shoulder girdle. Lift your body up onto your toes and elbow, making sure you maintain even hips and a straight spine throughout. Alternate shift your weight onto one arm as your tap your opposite arm to that shoulder and repeat on the other side. Keep it up for 30-45 secs and repeat for 3 sets. 

Hopefully by taking our advice and working through the instructions above and adding in some of these exercises to your usual training routines we see less Touch players injured throughout this year. But, if you are unlucky enough to come down with an injury, be sure to come and see us (we always love seeing our Touch players at The Healthy Body Company!!) so we can work at getting your back on the field sooner rather than later.