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Performance Enhancement and Injury Risk Handout (Recovery Strategies)

In order for any team to have a successful year, they need a consistent, cohesive playing group. One way to ensure consistency is to reduce the risk and subsequent number of injuries sustained throughout the season. Although many factors can determine injury risk, participating in a few simple, self-mediated activities can have a positive affect not only on recovery and injury, but also performance. Undertaking just a few (or all) of the strategies below will pay immediate and long-term dividends for both your personal and team performance. Below is a “cheat sheet” with very simple, short descriptions on how you can maximise your performance and reduce your risk of injury, whether it be on gameday, at training or at home.

Although many of you may already participate in a few of the strategies below, most likely on gameday, employing all of them, and on most nights of the week, will get you the extra edge over the rest of the competition. One of the most important components of recovery, which is often neglected, is sleep and relaxation. If you take any information from this handout, make it the portion relating to sleep and relaxation.


Australian Institute of Sport – Recovery

How to use a foam roller:

Simple research/evidence based advice

1. Active recovery/cool-down

→ Speeds recovery and allows muscle to clear waste = “less sore” muscles = better performance
→ Involves low intensity walking, jogging or cycling after a game/training
→ Can even be as simple as a 5-10minute walk-jog session around the ground

2. Stretching & Active release techniques (tennis ball or foam roller)
→ Release trigger points = improve mobility and flexibility = better performance
→ “Re-set” muscles back to pre-exercise state = decrease risk of injury

3. Nutrition
→ Weigh yourself before and after exercise and replace lost fluid.
→ Eat and drink within 30minutes after activity to maximize uptake. After 30-60minutes the “window” to replenish cells with fluid and energy is partially shut
→ Directly after: carbohydrates, salts, protein (eg. Ham, cheese and mayo sandwich + honey/jam sandwich)
→ Next day: looking at loading for upcoming events = carbohydrates and protein (eg. Pasta, rice)

4. Compression garments (Skins)
→ Effective in aiding lactate removal = less sore the next day = ready for competition and decrease risk of injury
→ Improved blood flow = decrease fatigue = better performance
→ Wear for several hours after a game or training (if possible) or even to bed at night

5. Hot & cold immersion (ice baths) or icing post game
→ Reduces risk of injury and/or severity and progression of a pre-existing injury
→Reset muscles and improve removal of waste = “less sore” = better performance
→ Apply ice pack to specific/sore area for no longer than 20minutes post match
→ If you sustained a new injury during the game/training = 20minutes of ice every 1-2 waking hours (for 48hours)
→ For those who are really keen, do 3 × 2minute rotations swapping between a 10degree ice bath and a warm bath. This can be replicated at home by turning showers from hot to cold or using a pool or spa as a “cold bath”.

6. Sleep/Rest days (IMPORTANT but often NEGLECTED)
→Aim for at least 9-10hours per night
→ Research suggests adequate sleep can improve speed, accuracy of skills, and match-day performance
→ Stress = muscle damage, decreased energy and decreased repair, therefore RELAXTION IS ESSENTIAL
→ Sleep = release of growth hormone = muscles repair, build and strengthen
→ Also good for mental rest and psychological functioning and wellbeing = BETTER PERFORMANCE ON THE DAY
→ This means maximising rest days and your day’s in-between sports to RELAX AND RECOVER