You need to recover after playing hard.
Failure to recover properly will reduce your effectiveness. Eventually, you will get injuries and experience burnout.
This article provides 7 steps you should follow after a hard practice, game, or tryout.
7 Tips on Recovering After Playing Soccer
1. Cool down
I understand. You’re tired. You’re ready to go home and study, shower, see your boyfriend/girlfriend, take a nap, etc.
You don’t feel like cooling down. But take the extra 5-10 minutes to do it. Your muscles will thank you.
Cooling down helps prevent injuries.
To cool-down, do a shorter version of a soccer warmup.
Stretching after you cool down builds flexibility. Flexibility reduces injuries.
Read our article, 6 Soccer Stretching Exercises to learn proper technique and the best stretches for soccer players.
3. Ice baths
Taking an ice bath is a classic way to recover from hard physical activity.
It’s been used by professional soccer players to heal their body for a long time.
To prepare an ice bath, fill the tub with hot water than dump in bags of ice (can be purchased at a supermarket).
Ice baths take time to get used to. Start with 3 minute baths and work up to ten minutes. Do not exceed 10 minutes.
4. Epson salt baths (Ice Bath Alternative)
Epson salt baths have become popular with elite athletes in recent years for good reason – they’re a powerful tool for recovery.
Epson salt is rich in magnesium, an important mineral for muscle recovery. Most athletes (and people in general) are deficient in magnesium.
Epson salt is high in magnesium. When you bathe in it, it is easily absorbed through your skin.
Epson salt baths have many benefits. They are a relaxing way to repair your muscles, improve your nutrition, and even improve your lung capacity.
To take an epson salt bath, add two cups of epson salt to hot water.
Epson salt baths are a great alternative to ice baths. We recommend alternating between both baths.
5. Eat a good meal
You need food to refuel after a hard soccer game, practice, or tryout.
Don’t hinder your recovery by eating junkfood.
Eat a balanced, healthy meal consisting of healthy fats, protein, and carbs.
For instance, eat two fillets of salmon, two sweet potatoes, and a banana.
Your body loses salt, potassium and other nutrients (electrolytes) when you play hard.
Rehydrating during the game is important, but hydration shouldn’t stop there. It’s just as important to hyrdrate after a game.
Drink water, sports drinks, and/or coconut water (a better alternative to sports drinks) to rehydrate and get the electrolytes your body needs.
Naps are a simple, yet underused technique to cool down after a hard work.
Taking a 20 minute nap can make a huge difference in recovery. If you are exhausted, take an hour nap. Don’t take naps longer than an hour or you will find it hard to go to sleep at night.
Give your body a break. You pushed it hard. Enjoy a relaxing nap.