Every athlete knows how a rolled ankle can affect performance. If you've been playing for awhile, you've either seen it happen to a teammate or experienced it yourself. (See Prevent or Rehab Ankle Sprains With These Strategies.)
Ankle instability is just another weak link in your body. If you suffer from weak ankles, understanding what is happening at the ankle joint can be very helpful. Schedule a meeting with your sports medicine staff and ask the tough questions. Make time to find what works for you. Preparation before the season starts can lead to great success on the field, court, pool, or track. (See also Drills to Develop Ankle Stability.)
Another huge key is modifying your strength training program to cure ankle weakness. This will help you develop a plan to regain control and confidence.
Assess the weak links of your body and how you will address them in your athletic development program. Identify them, progressively train them and evaluate your movement patterns regularly. Strength training, flexibility work and massage are three techniques to help fortify the areas of your body that may put you on the sideline.
Ankle Strengthening Exercises
- Stand on a stair or ledge with your heel over the edge.
- Stand up on your tiptoes, then in a controlled manner, lower the heel.
- Repeat 10 to 20 times on each foot four times a day.
- While seated or lying down on your side, write the alphabet in the air with your toes.
- Make the letters as big as possible.
- Get creative by trying all uppercase, then lower case, then cursive, and so on.
Heel and toe walking
- Walk on your toes for one minute.
- Walk on your heels for one minute.
- Alternate walking on your heel and toes.
- Work up in total time of 10 minutes, repeating four times each day.
- Jog in a figure-eight pattern around cones.
- At first, place the cones near each other.
- Each day, spread out the cones and increase your speed.
Learn more about the SMARTER Team Training weak link programs by attending an event at http://smarterteamtraining.com/events.
Editor's Note: Coach Taylor has developed the SMARTER Team Training Audio Interview Series, dedicated to promoting critical thinking, reason and public understanding of prudent, purposeful and productive strength and conditioning practices for clients and athletes. Listen to episodes featuring some of the best experts in the fields of strength and conditioning, personal training, sports nutrition and sport psychology here.