Recovery - A Simple Tool for Coaches/Parents

by Brendon Huttmann  (reprinted from Performance Conditioning Soccer)

This article is one of 10 articles part of the Soccer Non-Nutritional Recovery Insta-Kit.

The ability for an athlete to recover is highly individualized. Each player responds differently to various types of recovery tactics such as sleep, massages, etc. With practice and week end tournaments players are expected to performance at high levels over extended periods of time. The goal for every coach should be to reduce the fatigue level of players while maintaining their high performance level.

There are many methods of recovery, but one overlooked area of recovery promotion is sleep. This is important because our bodies perform restoration and repair during this time. Research has shown simple tactics to improve both quality and quantity can have dramatic impacts on both physical and mental performance. Implementing a routine before going to bed, closing the curtains, and reducing the room temperature can be impactful for the body to reach a fuller and restful cycle.

We currently use a daily evaluation sheet to see how well athletes recover. The athlete fills out this form daily prior to activity. It evaluates a combination of controllable factors like hydration and good nutrition and uncontrollable ones like travel etc. We give points for positive activities and situations and take points away for negative ones. Once filled out, it provides a total score on their recovery. Additionally, this creates awareness for the players regarding their daily habits. This awareness will create positive habits long term.

The information below is a modified version of areas of recovery that would apply to the young, developing player during the playing season. A coach or parent can look at this and get a feel for the good and not-so-good activities a young athlete does. This will help to create positive awareness for overall heath and well begin, the more goods, the better.

Controlled Recovery Factors

  • Hours of Sleep: More than 8 = Ideal; Around 7 to 8 = Good; Around 6 = OK; Less than 6 = Not Good
  • Meals per Day: 4 to 6 = Ideal; 3 = OK; Less than 3 = Not Good
  • Hydration (last urine sample): Clear = Good; Yellow = Not Good; Dark = Immediate Action Advised
  • Current Muscle Soreness: None = Ideal; Mild = Good; Moderate = OK; High = Not Good

Uncontrollable Recovery Factors

  • Day Match after Night Match: Yes = Not Good; No = Good
  • Temperature: Greater than 95° = Not Good; Less than 45° = Not Good; Between 46° & 94° = OK

Things You Should Do

  • Active Cool Down: Yes = Good; No = Not Good
  • Nap: Yes = Good; No = Not Good
  • Post-Workout Protein Shake: Within 30 min of Activity = Good; After 30 min of Activity = OK; Never = Not Good
  • Breakfast within 1 Hour of Waking: No = Not Good; Yes = Good
  • Caffeine: 2 Or More Occasions per Day = Not Good; None = O

This article is one of 10 articles in the Soccer Non-Nutritional Recovery Insta-Kit.

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Performance Conditioning Soccer

Ken Kontor is founder and president of Performance Conditioning Inc. His company is the world’s largest single source of sports-specific conditioning information. Among the educational resources provided are Performance Conditioning Volleyball, Cycling and Soccer newsletters now in their 14th year of publishing and 15 sports-specific conditioning books and training card systems. He is a founding member of the USA Volleyball Sports Medicine and Performance Commission and was instrumental in the establishment of the Volleyball Conditioning Accreditation Program (V.C.A.P.) curriculum offered through the USA Volleyball Coaching Accreditation program. Among his contributions to this program was writing the curriculum. He has established the Off-bike Conditioning curriculum promoted by USA Cycling. In the past he has worked with USA Roller Sports and USA Triathlon producing conditioning specific newsletters. Prior to the establishment of Performance Conditioning Inc., Mr. Kontor was a founding father, executive director and publications editor of the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) for 14 years an organization of over 16,000 sport conditioning professionals. He was an original member of the Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist committee that established the internationally recognized C.S.C.S. credential. He has traveled extensively throughout the world including the former Soviet Union, East Germany and the Leipzig Institute of Sport, Hungary and Bulgaria with the purpose of introducing their strength and conditioning methods to the NSCA membership. He was instrumental in the establishment of the Australian Strength and Conditioning Association Inc. and the National Strength and Conditioning Association of Japan. He has lectured extensively on the conditioning of athletes throughout the world.