What We Treat

The Sports Medicine team includes physical therapists, certified athletic trainers, orthotists and pediatric sports medicine physicians. We evaluate each athlete’s body mechanics and history of injury to create an exercise plan tailored to his performance goals. We are experts in treating:

  • ACL injuries
  • Hamstring and hip flexor strains
  • Hip apophysitis injuries
  • Patellofemoral stress syndrome
  • Patella dislocation
  • Ankle sprains
  • MCL/LCL sprains and tears
  • Meniscus injuries
  • Back pain
  • Concussion

Services We Offer

  • Posture assessment
  • Strength testing
  • Flexibility assessment
  • Dartfish motion analysis
  • Kicking assessment
  • Heading assessment
  • Training tips
  • Advice about stretching and strengthening exercises

Tips to improve your game and prevent injury

Improve balance on the plant foot

This will increase control, balance, accuracy, and reaction time, and will decrease chances of: 

  • ACL tears
  • Ankle sprains
  • Injuries due to collisions

Develop both hip and core strength, including rotational strength

This will increase power, precision, distance, control and reaction time, and will decrease chances of:

  • ACL tears
  • Back pain
  • Hamstring and hip flexor apophysitis
  • Hamstring and hip flexor strains
  • Injuries due to collisions
  • Patellofemoral pain 

Practice proper knee alignment while passing, crossing and striking the ball

This will increase power, distance, accuracy and control, and will decrease chances of: 

  • ACL tears
  • Ankle injuries
  • Back pain
  • Hamstring and hip flexor strains
  • LCL tear/sprain
  • MCL tear/sprain
  • Patella dislocations
  • Patellofemoral pain

Lock the kicking ankle while passing or shooting

This will increase power, distance, accuracy and control, and will decrease chances of: 

  • Ankle sprains
  • Knee sprains
  • Toe injuries

Follow through with the kicking leg and continue momentum forward

This will increase control, accuracy and power, and will decrease chances of back and hip injuries.

Contact Jennifer Meyer for more information.

Kicking Mechanics

Proper kicking mechanics are integral to the health and safety of every young soccer player. As the medical director of Atlanta United Academy, S. Clifton Willimon, MD, knows how to prevent ACL injuries in young athletes and how to help them recover when injury does strike. Dr. Willimon and Children’s physical therapist Jennifer Meyer have compiled this primer on kicking mechanics to help keep your players maintain good form.

Proper form

Proper kicking mechanics begin with your approach to the ball. Before making contact with the ball, you should know where you want the ball to go.

  • Plant your foot with purpose. Foot placement determines where the ball is going.
  • Initiate the kick with trunk rotation. Be careful not to overrotate, which can make the ball miss its target.
  • Swing your upper leg with knee bent to build momentum through ball contact.
  • Keep your ankle locked in position as you strike the ball. Use a flexed foot (dorsiflexion) for passing and accuracy, or a pointed toe (plantarflexion) for power.
  • Follow through to allow yourself to reposition your body for a rebound or to defend.

Poor form has consequences

In soccer, one bad kick can result in damage to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) or medial collateral ligament (MCL), among other serious injuries. Poor form can have major consequences. Below are some ways to avoid common mistakes in kicking mechanics:

  • Do not plant your foot with your weight on your heel and your knee extended as you contact the ball. This can cause hyperextension at the knee, which can lead to an ACL injury.
  • Do not overrotate your plant foot on follow-through. Twisting on the knee joint while your foot is planted in the ground is dangerous.
  • Do not allow your knee to fall inward on your plant leg. This motion, also known as knee valgus or knock knees, often leads to ACL injury.
  • Do not kick the ball without first locking your ankle on your kicking leg. Kicking with an unlocked ankle can cause jarring or twisting at the knee and can lead to poor foot placement during follow-through.
  • Do not lean over your plant foot toward your kicking leg. This can cause you to kick the ground.

Coaches and trainers should reinforce proper kicking mechanics at every opportunity and make sure to correct poor form whenever possible. Equipping young players with the fundamentals of good form will help them stay on the field, injury-free.

*This content has been clinically reviewed by S. Clifton Willimon, MD, and Jennifer Meyer, PT, DPT.