We know getting stronger helps reduce injury. While most of our time in the gym is spent learning how to create more force, we also want to learn to absorb force. From an injury prevention stand point we need to learn how to land, decelerate and change direction as well. Whilst these movements are very common in sport we probably don’t break them down and train them enough. The big one for me is learning how to absorb a landing. We need to have adequate postural and neuromuscular control of our body to make sure we aren’t loading our ankles, hips and especially our knees improperly and putting ourselves at risk of injury. This is something we should be training.
A large proportion of ACL injuries occur during a deceleration task coupled with a knee valgus movement (inward movement). That means we want our knee aligned with our foot as we land, decelerate and/or change direction. Females are at a higher risk of knee valgus movements due to an increase in what we call the Q-angle of their hips. Studies have also shown that the mechanism of ACL injury involves a valgus movement roughly 80% of the time.
From my experience, educating and teaching athletes, in particular females, on how they should be landing is a simple way to make changes. They simply need to be coached out of bad technique, it’s not a case of them not being able to absorb a landing correctly it’s more a case that naturally they want to land in a riskier position. That will change with focus and practice, whether it transfers over to the sporting field is another story, but for now here is a video of what I mean.