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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