After football match recovery ideas

After football match recovery ideas

Tue 22 October 2019

We Make Footballers News

When it comes to playing football to the best of your ability, it’s every bit as important as training, preparation and the actual 90 minutes itself.

An effective recovery programme helps players perform to a high standard in their next fixture. It improves fitness, reduces the chance of picking up injuries and as a result, can even extend careers.

Here are some of the best football recovery practices out there for you to incorporate into your routine.

Warm down immediately afterwards

The warm down is arguably the most important component of after football recovery. It works all the lactic acid out of your muscles, reducing stiffness and leaving you less susceptible to injury next time you step onto a pitch.

You should take part in a light jog afterwards followed by stretching all the key footballing muscles for 30 seconds each. When you exercise, your muscles expand and stretching them allows them to return to their natural size safely.

Refuel with the right food and drink

90 minutes of gruelling football will take a lot out of your body and that’s why it is so important to replenish all the nutrients and energy that you’ve lost. The refuelling process should begin within 30 minutes of your warm down finishing and should start by focusing on muscle repair. Your body needs protein and carbohydrates, so something like chocolate milk is perfect for supplying both of those in one hit.

Within two hours of the match, you should look to replace the energy that you’ve burned through. Again, this comes from foods high in protein and carbohydrates such as chicken. Green veg will also help and you can use spices such as a ginger which are proven to boost recovery time.

Use Ice

This isn’t as scary as what you may think and you don’t need to be extreme using ice. Take a 10 minute soak in water of around 10 degrees to help your body relax. Start with 1 minute and then build your way up over the weeks to the full 10 minute period.

Get the right amount of sleep

When we sleep is when our body takes the chance to repair our muscles and that makes after football rest so important. You need to give yourself at least eight hours of quality, deep sleep to allow your body the chance to knit back together and iron out the wear and tear you’ve put it through during the game.

The best way to ensure you get enough rest is by avoiding alcohol, caffeine and any unnatural blue light in the hour before you go to bed. The first two are stimulants that will impact on the quality of your sleep.

Staring at a phone, tablet or television screen meanwhile in the run up to hitting the sack will trick your mind into think it is still daylight, thus ensuring that your brain continues to release chemicals designed to keep you awake. Try and leave these devices outside of your room and stop using them an hour before bed at least.

Take part in some recovery exercise the following day

The long-term solution to avoiding stiffness is by taking part in some light recovery exercise and building a recovery schedule. Jump on an exercise bike for 30 minutes or go for a relaxing swim to soothe your muscles. You could also attend a yoga or pilates class to improve your mobility and agility during your recovery day.

Just like in your warm down, you should have a thorough stretch of at least 30 seconds for each of your core muscle groups again. Anywhere that remains tight should be massaged with a foam roller. These are cheap and easy to get hold of from either gyms or online and are an extremely wise investment.

Failing to prepare is preparing to fail

For all that you can do in the aftermath of a game, your match preparation can be every bit as important. Essentially, the fitter you are, the less you’ll struggle afterwards. That all comes down to acclimatising your body in practice to the stresses it will be put through during a game.

Improving your cardiovascular fitness will mean you feel less tired. Incorporating changes of speed and direction into your training programme will help your muscles and joints adapt to what they’ll be asked to do in a game situation.

The more prepared you are, the less time your body will need to recover. The best players in the world aren’t just players – they’re athletes too. They have schedules, practices and a methodical approach to being the best they can be.

M. Olise - Former We Make Footballers player gives his advice on recovery


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