Champions Japan using the 11+

The "11+" warm-up is an essential part of the training programme of the Japanese national women’s team. Coach Norio Sasaki has long been incorporating F-MARC’s "11+" injury prevention programme into his players’ training sessions.

"Above all, agility and speed were the key to our triumph at the Women’s World Cup Germany ™ in June and July this year," he admits. Aya Miyama, who has played over 100 international matches with the Nadeshiko, has never been injured in her entire footballing career. Exercises from the "11+" programme have been a permanent part of her warm-up ever since she began playing football.

"11+" has long been firmly established in all of the Japanese Football Association’s teams: you can incorporate "11+" into training as a warm-up programme everywhere, any place and any time, and considerably contribute to preventing injuries by doing so,” says Kozo Tashima, General Secretary of the Japanese Football Association, in an interview at the association’s headquarters in Tokyo on 27 November 2011.

In order to spread the programme to every corner of the country, coaches, doctors and physiotherapists from every administrative district in Japan were taught the programme at the 7th Japanese Football Conference. Recently, another course took place to introduce 77 coaches to the "11+".

Mario Bizzini (F-MARC), physiotherapist and co-developer of the programme, explained in detail the advantages of the injury prevention programme over other approaches and what is to be gained from it. Theory was then followed by practice, which did not just involve demonstrating and practising the exercises but also showing the participants the best way to teach their players these exercises. Afterwards, the participants demonstrated the newly acquired knowledge and skills to fellow participants in the "What is the best way to teach the 11+" group work session.

At the end of the intensive day, all participants, some of whom had travelled specially from China, Hong Kong and Thailand just to complete the course, were given a certificate which officially makes them "11+" instructors, a significant award, but also a duty for them to regularly build the "11+" programme into their training sessions.

"11+ - a complete warm-up to prevent injuries" is the official F-MARC prevention programme that has proven its effectiveness in a large study with 2,000 female adolescent players in Norway. It is the advanced version of F-MARC’s original "11" which had achieved a reduction of injuries during a four-year nationwide implementation in Switzerland.

The exercise-based "11+" programme is part of F-MARC’s "Football for Health" initiative which promotes football as an ideal leisure time activity to stay healthy and fit.