I'm the assistant volleyball coach at a large community college. One of my goals this year is to reduce the number of ankle injuries for our team. What have other people done to prevent ankle sprains in athletes?

The first step may be to conduct a little study. When a player is injured, have him or her fill out a form with some specific information. Find out which ankle was hurt and the exact location of the injury.

Find out what caused the injury. Ask the players to explain this in their own words. Ask them to describe the physical symptoms and any treatment given. By doing this, you may find a common link among the players to the injuries.

Studies show ankle injuries can be prevented in athletes using taping methods or bracing. This may work well for some players. Sometimes skin irritation occurs. Tape can come loose during play and reduce playing performance.

Another option is special foot and ankle balance training. This program can be done in five minutes each day using simple equipment like a rocker board and ball. A physical therapist or sports trainer can help you set this up. Keep records before, during, and after to see if what you are doing is making a difference.