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Quiz the Coach :: Soccer Side Stitches

Question by nasiiii

Hey coach, in soccer, there is too much running so you feel some pains in the abdominal area. How do I stop this?

You’ve got stomach cramps… or side stitches! Stomach cramps are the most common form of pain in growing children. There are several different reasons why stomach cramps happen when we are running around. The good news is that you can stop them before they start.

Clues for Cramps

Side StitchesSide Stitches

Here’s a quicklist of why runners get stomach cramps:

  • Eating or drinking too much before running
  • Dehydration – Not getting enough water during your run
  • Weak abdominal muscles
  • Not stretching

Absolutely Abs

Yummy TummyYummy Tummy

Your abs are muscles in your belly that keep your body straight and strong. They keep your body in good posture when you are running so that your organs don’t rub or bounce up against your ribs and other things. Once your ab muscles get tired or break-down, you lose your posture and those side-stitches are basically your stomach rubbing up against your ribs.

Stop the Stomach Pain


If you got strong abs, that doesn’t mean you’re safe. Here’s a list of things you have to do to stop those side stitches from coming back:

  • Don’t eat for 2 hours before your run. You want your belly empty so it doesn’t rub against your ribs
  • Keep your body hydrated throughout your day, but don’t drink too much water all at once. A belly full of water will rub against those ribs
  • Stretch your abs so they don’t tear and break-down while running
  • Breathing properly while running - If you're short of breath while running, your body can't get oxygen to your stomach muscles and they will break down
  • Rehydrate - Make sure to drink water while running. Not too much though!
  • Keep your abs strong by doing sit-ups and other ab exercises throughout the week

Puberty Problems

Puberty PainPuberty Pain

The last thing is that kids get stomach cramps more than adults. If you are going through a growth spurt in your puberty days, there’s more of a chance of your abs stretching and breaking just because your body is growing. It’s no mystery… once you stop growing, you will have less stomach cramps.

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