The stronger and more flexible the calves, the more stable the ankles and knees.
The calves are one of the most underdeveloped areas across all sports.
This is unfortunate b/c training the calves improves ankle flexibility and stability, which carries over to better performance in squat variations.
It also carries over to improved performance on the court/field because the calves can now share some of the load the knees, hips, and lower back would absorb.
In basketball, for example, the frequency and severity of some low back injuries could have been prevented by strengthening the calves because the “load” would be better distributed over more muscle mass.
Together with the hamstrings, the gastrocnemius also helps stabilize the knee by keeping the femur from displacing over the tibia. If the femur displaces over the tibia the result is frequently a torn ACL.
The tibialis anterior aides in the activities of running and kicking or any activity that requires moving the leg or keeping the leg vertical.
The anterior tibialis allows for the ankle to invert, which gives the ankle horizontal movement. The strength of the anterior tibialis allows for some “cushion” in circumstances where the ankle would have otherwise been rolled.
Exercises that are often prescribed in a rehab setting can be quite useful as preventative exercises when modified and are a part of a pre-habilitation program.
I would be willing to bet that programs that emphasize calf training at different points throughout the training year would have fewer ankle and knee injuries.