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This is how amateur footballers protect themselves from injuries

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This is how amateur footballers protect themselves from injuries

Even though accidents at junky tournaments have decreased significantly, these measures protect against injuries.

Up and down the country, amateur athletes and children meet on the football field, here at the FC Herrliberg Grümpel tournament.

A. Ramp / NZZ

After the spring break, almost every village and every company has a grumpy tournament again. So called because the game is not played in a master class, but for small prize money, a trophy or local or company honor. There are also grumpy tournaments in other sports such as floorball, ice hockey or cycling, but they are most common in football.

With 250 participating teams, the unofficially largest Grümpel tournament in Europe, the “Aegeri-Grümpi”, takes place on the last weekend in June in Unterägeri in the canton of Zug, this year for the 70th time. And at the “Schüeli”, the largest student football tournament for kindergartens and schools, over 200 teams from all over Switzerland will play for two days on 12 football fields in Dietikon, Zurich, at the end of June.

More prevention, more fitness

For a long time, grumpy tournaments had a bad reputation and were considered downright accident tournaments: poorly equipped players practiced a physically intensive sport, a mixture with great potential for many injuries. Another risk factor: recreational matches often involve untrained teams who are not used to playing together. In addition, there was sometimes excessive alcohol consumption and the resulting weakening of the body.

“Someone who never ‘chutes’ has to get used to the game and has a greater risk of injury,” says Raphael Ammann, football campaign manager at Suva. “Those who are familiar with the sport can react better in different game situations.”

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But the bad reputation of the “Grümpis” is no longer justified today. Society is fitter and more health-conscious, and there is also an awareness of safety and accident prevention. Safety is also important in recreational matches; hardly anyone plays without sports shoes or shin guards. The time when these were frowned upon is over, says Ammann. “If you play with shin guards regularly, you get used to them and no longer feel restricted.”

Suva has carried out prevention work and invested in the professionalization of grumpy tournaments. Tournament providers can apply for financial support in order to purchase referee services from the regional associations. The trained referees bring calm and professionalism to the game, said Ammann. The accident insurer also provides material such as information brochures, shin guards or barrier tapes free of charge.

The number of injuries and accidents at grumpy tournaments has decreased significantly over the last fifteen years. Suva assumes there are 3 injuries per 1,000 players, and this number has been constant for over five years. In 2004 there were 15 injuries per 1,000 footballers. For comparison: there are a fifth as many injuries in “Grümpis” as in club football games.

But no sport is without risk, or as Ammann says: “Wherever you move, accidents happen.” And football in particular has changed in recent years, becoming faster and more physically intense. This has changed the nature of the injuries. 20 percent of football injuries are knee injuries. These are long-term and expensive, but mainly affect organized football because it is played with higher intensity.

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A classic injury in grumpy tournaments is strains because the warm-up was ignored. These should not be taken lightly, says Ammann warningly. Because: “If there are strains, the risk of subsequent injuries is high. Many people return to sports too early and then risk more serious injuries.”

Injuries to the feet often occur during grumpy tournaments. The wrong shoes are usually to blame. “The players have actually become aware that the shoe is important. A good soccer shoe gives you dynamism and strength,” says Ammann. “The right equipment, specifically shin guards and professional soccer shoes, ensures a significantly lower risk of injury.”

Tips from football experts

If you want to organize a match yourself or take part in one, Raphael Ammann has these tips for you: Physical fitness and preparation for the game are important – this not only includes training before a game, but also warming up.

And he advises every participant to ask themselves before the match how they play football and why. The mental attitude also influences the risk of accidents. Ultimately: “The most important thing should be the enjoyment of the game.”

Important for good teamwork: team building

Good team spirit is work.

Benjamin Manser / Tagblatt

A common basis and a common goal, respect and trust. To put it simply, these are the goals of team building. The measures to strengthen team cohesion are common in the world of work and are increasingly being used in sports clubs.

In 1965, American psychologist Bruce Tuckman developed his phase model of group dynamics. It makes you aware that team building is an ongoing process. Good team spirit and cohesion don’t just happen, they require work.

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The reward for the effort: better communication, more appreciation, stronger emotional connection and higher motivation.

Recreational sports clubs can use team building measures to form a group of individual players that has a common goal and works together towards it. Team building benefits many clubs – those with many long-standing members, but also those with freshly thrown together people.

Team building can be easily and playfully integrated into the training of sports teams, for example with movement and skill games such as the “Gordian Knot” or “Twister” during warm-up. This way people get to know each other and the humorous exercises lighten up the training.

Activities in which team members get to know each other in a different environment are somewhat more complex. This could mean, for example, going out for a drink together after training. This creates an opportunity for longer conversations and team members may discover commonalities.

Scavenger hunts or a trip to an escape room are also popular team-building measures. In both settings, different ways of thinking and approaching are required, and everyone has to pull together. Trying something new together – from a Japanese baking course to ice bathing to a fringe sport – can be a bonding experience.

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