World Cup Blog – Diving to get an advantage or to get injured?

July 6, 2018

The excitement of the world cup has started, and for us all Englishmen and Women it has made us all start to believe that this year could be our year. Déjà vu? Or genuine belief in our team this year, with start players on form and hungry youth players.

Despite the obvious talking point of this world cup being VAR, myself as a practitioner at ProBack and ex international footballer, find a more interesting talking point being diving. Why risk injuring yourself to gain an advantage for your team? We see these exaggerated jumps, rolls, pikes, double salcho for being brushed aside by an opponent. Now as a medically trained therapist, you see someone writing in pain and believe they’re hurt. Does this not infuriate you as someone who is in genuine pain seeing a fully grown man act this way? When you can hardly move because your sciatic pain is crippling you in one position or jumped to celebrate Harry Kane’s penalty and over exerted your back. This is genuine and for me watching this world cup and seeing a lot of diving/feigning injury has ruined some of the enjoyment of the game for me.

From my previous experience I’ve played teams such as Estonia, Russia, Mexico, Brazil, who have alternative methods to try and win games, I’ve personally experienced hair pulling, pinching, having my feet stamped on when the ball is off the pitch. Alongside this I’ve played in an international tournament where we played 8 games in 21 days. Your body has its limits, even these professional athletes have to know when their body is not okay just like yourself, we go through extensive recovery sessions and routines to allow our body to be back to its best ready for competition.

Why is all this relevant to you you’re wondering? Because even going to work 9-5, coming home, looking after the kids, doing chores, going to the gym then going to bed is in itself a hectic schedule. Repeat this for 6 days, including an extra hour shift you didn’t expect, or that meal out with the family you forgot about then potentially your body is going to feel exhausted. Your body needs time to rest and recover, so it’s important you listen to when it’s not feeling 100%, that niggle can turn to a strain then causing compensatory pains elsewhere. Let me ask you, would you rather be struggling every day at 40% capability having no time off, or would you want to take a time out to allow your body to get better to be back to 90% and lessen the injury risk?

Some tips to aid with your everyday lifestyle from a footballer who has been in the same environment as the boys from the world cup, this is how they stay fully fit and capable to compete at the highest level and how you can adapt it these principles to your life.


          Training hard to be fitter and stronger, allows you to avoid injury situations such as late tackles as you’re going to be quicker than your opponent. So training your muscles to react to situations is key, whether than be specific strengthening of muscles or specific movements repeated.

          Listening to your body, if it aches – rest and recover. Using contrast therapy helps the body to flush out lactic acid which is built up from excessive movements/exertion of energy. Alternatively if your ache becomes a continuous pain that is changing your lifestyle allow us at ProBack to assess you.

          Technique is crucial, quality over quantity. The better you are at a task, the easier it is to complete. Using the right muscles protects the weaker ones and gives your body better functional control.

If the football is something you’re going to be watching over the next few weeks, ask yourself, am I feeling 100%, do I need to strengthen my muscles, what can I do to make sure I’m at my best ability and capability. And if you’re not we at ProBack will be happy to get you back on that path; for those of you urging us to bring football home what key things need to happen for us to do that? Let us know and we will give the best answer a prize.

Last modified : July 6, 2018