Start to view training and recovery as two sides of the same coin. They are a continuous flow called life. We are constantly managing various stressors.
Soccer performance is an expression of your overall lifestyle
If your life consists of cheap dinners, lying around on the couch, over technologized, interrupted sleep, and an excessive school or work burden - your soccer performance will reflect this. If you eat healthy foods, get ample sunshine and movement, deep and plentiful sleep, have solid relationships, and a more moderate set of school and work burdens – your soccer will reflect this. Recovery techniques are simply choices we make in our life that will give us a greater chance for soccer success.
Overtraining with a lack of recovery
The harder you push in training, the better your recovery must be. There is no way around this. If you keep burning the candle at both ends, performance will drop and chance of injury goes up.
Deal with fatigue like an injury
When we get hurt we go into black and white thinking about how we NOW will start taking care of ourselves -eating better, resting, doing rehab religiously to "get back on the playing field asap". But to avoid this and play our best soccer, we need to treat fatigue as seriously as an injury.
- That mild soreness in your calves puts you at risk for an ankle sprain
- That peculiar hamstring tightness could become a serious pull or tear
- Tightness in your hips and ankles could lead to a knee injury
Mild fatigue is a mild injury.
EVERY Post-game is the next Pre-game
You should be thinking about your next soccer training during your current session. Is that extra 20 minutes of pushing when your legs are dead going to allow for a great session (and motivation) tomorrow? Leaving a little in the tank is good for the long term. Then again, there are times when you have to train that hustle muscle aka the brain.
Here are some recommendations to expedite recovery:
-Incorporate back off weeks instead of throwing in days off randomly throughout the year.
-Get tons of high quality sleep.
-Take 15-30 minute naps as a supplement to an already optimized sleep hygiene.
- Eat healthy- limit processed foods and lots of greens and ample protein
- As far as sports supplementation goes, try these amino acids:
- Take 3-5 grams of BCAAs with something you can manage to wash it down with (not coke) before you start warming up, during tricking, and during the hour after you’re done for 9-15 grams total. A little whey protein with this would be good too ( any kind of whey will do).
- Take 2-3 grams of creatine monohydrate a day with your highest carbohydrate meal, or your biggest meal for that day. Preferably after training with the mentioned sugar drink.
- Take 3-5 grams of tyrosine before and/or after training. Tyrosine is for neural recovery, I’ve found it reduces that brain fog feeling my head gets after playing ball.
- Take 1-2 grams of leucine with meals or between meals throughout the day.
- Use caffeine wisely or not at all- you don't want to be too jacked up on it before games or soccer tryouts when you're already nervous
-Always warm up before training and make sure you take your first sprint in warm up and not the game- be hot and sweating for safety and optimal performance
- Cool downs after training aren’t necessarily a bad idea, but are mostly useless. Do them only if you like them.
- Do active recovery everyday! Warm up like you’re going to play and thats it. If you warm up for at least 30 minutes everyday, you’ll end up feeling better than you thought some days and will be able to add im some extra training.
- Get at least an hour of fresh air everyday by taking walks or going on a hike, or just being outside
-Roll out using a foam roller, soccer ball, lacrosse ball, whatever you can tolerate
-Watch soccer and favorite players to stay motivated and keep your mind in a growth mindset about the game
-Cold showers- wake up the nervous system and will feel good despite sucking a bit. Like the Navy Seals say- "if it doesn't suck, don't do it".
-epsom salt baths are worth a try
-read positive books