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Keep Athletes Healthy Through Playoffs with Post-Game Recovery and Regeneration

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Playoff time is here and hopefully all of your offseason strength and conditioning work has paid off. Injuries this late in the season could determine the outcome of your state title, so it’s important to focus on post-game recovery for your athletes. We have a mandatory recovery session every Saturday following our games.

While post-game recovery is often overlooked, it will help your players regenerate their bodies so they are ready to hit the playing field for Monday’s Practice.

This is how we handle recovery with our team:

Post Game Immediate

Immediately following the game we do three things:

Rehydration: Athletes take their body weight to see how much hydration they need in order replace pounds lost during game. A good rule of thumb is 16 oz for every pound lost)

Trainer Evaluation: Evaluate injuries and decide what needs to be done to care for them.

Ice bath: Athletes do ice baths to reduce swelling in the body and promote faster recovery after competition.

Saturday Morning Recovery Session

Athletes and staff meet at school to go through our recovery session. There are three phases the athletes go through at school and one they complete at home.

Phase 1: Dynamic Mobility Warm up

  • Leg Swings - Front to back and side to side to open up hips.
  • Tripods - One foot connected to ground with a straight leg, bring hands to ground to make a triangle.
  • Frankenstein - Hands extended out in front and kick foot up to meet hand with a straight leg.
  • Side Lunge - Alternate left side to right side lunging down a line.
  • Walking Quad Pull - Walking bring leg behind and grab foot with opposite hand. Extend free arm up to sky to complete stretch.
  • Walking Knee Hug - Bring knee to chest and pull into body with both hands.
  • Backward Frog Walk - Place hands behind head. Moving backwards, bring leg up and over an imaginary hurdle.
  • Two-Foot Horizontal Jump - Two- foot take offs as far as can be controlled. Be sure to land athletically.
  • SL Power Bounds - One-foot power skip. Skip as high as possible by pushing connected leg against the ground with ball of foot. Alternate as you go.
  • Backwards Run - Forward lean and extend legs up and backward in a mule kick type fashion. This is not a back pedal but a backwards run.

Phase 2: Lactic Acid Flush & Myofacial Release

1. 20-Minute Cardiovascular Aerobic Activity

I prefer biking or swimming because it reduces lower extremity impact on sore athletes.

Note: Target to work athletes at 60%-70% of their maximum heart rate for 20 minutes with a 5-minute cool down.

2. Foam Roll

Foam rolling allows the athletes to massage and roll tender muscles. This helps force lactic acid build up out of the body and promote muscle regeneration.

20 seconds on each area, some key areas to focus on:

  • Calf
  • Hamstring (Lower & Upper)
  • Glutes
  • IT Band
  • Quads
  • Inner Groin
  • Lower Back
  • Middle Back
  • Traps & Shoulders

Note: If you don’t have a form roller, you can use soft balls, medicine balls, or roll sticks.

Phase 3: Active Stretch

We end our workout with stretching for lower and upper body.

Active Stretch Lower Body

  • SL Pike
  • Prone SL Hamstring
  • Prone SL Flat Hamstring
  • Figure Four
  • Cross Over T
  • Open T
  • No Band Sumo
  • No Band Quad Lunge
  • Warrior Pose

Active Stretch Upper Body

  • Seated Twist
  • Pretzel
  • Standing
  • Shoulder Fly Aways
  • Dynamic Neck
  • Dynamic Neck 45 Degrees
  • Neck Tilts Left/Right
  • Neck Down

Phase 4: Sleep for Rest and Recovery

We recommend our athletes get 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night. We have them record their sleep patterns to that they can learn how to monitor their rest pattern.

Performance has been shown to suffer significantly due to sleep deprivation. In addition, sleep allows the body to focus on muscle regeneration and preparing the body for the week ahead.

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