If you’re in the midst of grinding through the back third of a fall sport season, the following provides some quick ideas about how you can hasten and improve your rate/quality of recovery between competitions…and generally just stay healthy! -Don’t forget to eat
You must make eating a priority. I remember teammates losing 10-15lbs throughout a competitive season. Coincidence that these same guys were the one’s always nursing something in the training room? They blamed travel, lack of quality food on the road, etc. for their dramatic weight loss. Yes, while these variables did make finding the time for frequent-quality feedings more difficult, it’s certainly possible if you make eating a priority.
I used to pack “road coolers.” I’d stuff that sucker full of fruit, veggies, trail mixes and sandwich accoutrement. Safe to say my processed and fast food consumption was significantly less, meal frequency much more regular, and weight fluctuation less drastic, as compared to my peers.
Becoming regimented with your sleep is also extremely important. It’s important that you try to hit the sack at the same time every night, while shooting for 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep. This too was challenging as Madden wars or Poker hands (not for money of course…settle down) sometimes impeded on my desired hour of retirement. For me, melatonin, sleep mask, and a quality set of ear plugs always did the trick.
High-school guys and gals, you have no excuse for this one.
-Soft tissue work
Whether it’s self-inflicted (foam rolling), or delivered manual by a therapist (you can’t beat this), you got to find time to address tissue quality. Restrictions within the musculature will severely impede proper blood flow (and subsequent delivery of nutrients), and also prohibit proper movement patterns. A little bit of preventative maintenance in this area will go a long way, trust me.
-Low intensity cardio/mobility/activation drills
All of these can be accomplished in the same 20 minute session. Blending these components will not only aid in flushing toxins and delivering new nutrient rich blood, but will also help ward off mechanical asymmetries that can crop-up from overuse and the repetitive nature of sport.
It’s important not to overreach during these sessions, as the intent is to aid in recovery, not cause greater disruption. A perfect session might include various sled pulls, crawling variations, hip flexor and thoracic mobility drills, and some glute activation.
Hope this helps…