Is investing time into the recovery process from a game or training session, important for young players?
Recovery is essential for peak performance, gaining the full benefits of intense training, and in the prevention of, and recovery from injury. Failure to recover from strenuous exercise can lead to excessive fatigue, poor performance and illness. Learning how to listen to your body and implement recovery strategies is as important as learning how to train and play.
There are many strategies that can be used to enhance recovery and you can consider some of the ideas listed below to develop your own recipe for success.
Replacing fluid losses as soon as possible after exercise is vital for recovery. A good indication is to weigh yourself before and after exercise. Every kilogram lost represents approximately one litre of fluid loss. To reduce the effects of dehydration, athletes must pre-hydrate, by consuming lots of fluids over the days before and on the day of training and games. Athletes should continually sip fluid in the 2 hours before a game or training. Using a sports drink to rehydrate has an added advantage of boosting rehydration as the glucose and sodium in the drink helps facilitate water absorption and retention by the body. The carbohydrates in sports drinks aid the replacement of muscle glycogen at the same time.
Energy stores are depleted after physical activity. The optimal time to start to replace carbohydrate levels is as soon as possible in the first 30 minutes. In the first 5 minutes after exercise, it is important to aim for an intake of at least 50g of high GI carbohydrates.
Snacks such as muesli bars, sandwiches and sports drinks enter the bloodstream rapidly and increase the secretion of the hormone insulin which promotes faster carbohydrate storage in muscles. Moderate to high GI fruits like watermelon and banana will provide fructose for greater glycogen replacement. Follow this with a low fat high-carbohydrate meal (including some lean protein) as soon as possible.
Physical and Psychological
- Utilise hydrotherapies such as whirlpools, baths, saunas and showers to stimulate increased blood flow as well as to provide a relaxed state.
- Have a regular massage to enhance blood flow and to become better in tune with your stressed muscles.
- Maintain a daily/regular stretching routine to improve your flexibility.
- Practice breathing exercising, meditation and muscle relaxation techniques to aid in improving your emotional and psychological state.