For you to play your best soccer and be at your best for your soccer matches, it is important that you train and work hard. But it is important to remember that training hard every day without adequate rest is not good preparation and can lead to over training and injury. Let’s look at what exactly entails a soccer training recovery.
Here’s a quote from Don Hutchison of West Ham United and Scotland made 5th December, 2002 about the need for recovery:
Even fit, professional soccer players, need rest and recovery after matches and soccer training sessions. Ignoring strains, tiredness and stiffness can lead to overtraining and injuries. Even Lionel Messi, who hates to miss games or practices, knows he has to take care of his body and rest on off days.
You must work and train hard but must also plan recovery sessions. You will then reduce the risk of injuries and also reduce the risk of over training and burn out. Your soccer coaches will provide recovery sessions and guide you in your recovery phases. When you train on your own then your recovery sessions should take place the next day. Record the recovery session in your training log.
If you have any injury or if for any reason, training causes discomfort then do not do a recovery session or any exercise that aggravates the injury. Contact a physio or doctor for advice if you are concerned about an injury.
Recovery Sessions (Active Rest)
These sessions are very important as they allow your body to rest and recover.
This is a guide and suitable for the day after a conditioning session or match, providing there are no injuries.
If later on that day you still feel stiff, a warm bath or shower, followed by some gentle stretching will help.
Other sessions that will help are swimming, walking or “running” in water (pool or sea), cycling etc.
Remember also that diet on a recovery day is important. If you feel very tired and jaded, you may need to replenish your energy stores and meals with high carbohydrate content are important, for example pasta, cereals, fruit etc.
Passive Rest Sessions
Sleep is an example of passive rest and it is important that growing bodies get enough sleep.
Other examples of passive rest are sitting, reading, going to the movies, watching TV etc. Just relaxing and giving your body and mind a break from training and soccer. You should take at one day a week where no physical activity takes place. Other days should alternate between training hard and active rest.
Ice Baths for Soccer Players
Someone who is famous for taking ice baths after games or training is Carli Lloyd. Ice baths help reduce swelling and enable the body to heal faster after a hard work out or training session.
Some U.S. WNT players love ice baths, some hate them. Almost all of them take the plunge when they do regeneration work. Put midfielder Carli Lloyd in the former category as she takes to ice baths like polar bears to arctic waters.
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