Recovery. Every athlete needs it. Suzy Germain says it’s missing from her son’s topnotch team and that’s taking a toll.
Wayne Goldsmith, in his January 4th blog post, has a great mnemonic to help us think about how recovery – that is, time off from sport-specific conditioning and training – re-charges the elite athlete so he can go back to training hard. This is also essential for players with nagging injuries and/or many games in a short period of time. Give them time to “washup.”
Wayne calls it WASHUP.
Water: the use of different forms of water, e.g cryotherapy (ice), hydrotherapies (contrast showers, “hot-cold” baths, spas, saunas, swimming pools etc).
Active Rest: doing something physically active other than the primary training and competition activity, e.g. walking, swimming or cycling instead of running.
Sleep: ensuring adequate quality and quantity of sleep.
Hydration and refueling: drinking the right fluids and eating the right foods at the right time, in the right quantity and of the right type to enhance recovery.
Unwind mentally: mental and emotional recovery is just as important as the physical aspects of recovery.
Physical Therapies: including massage, physiotherapy, stretching and Yoga.
Rest and recovery between practices is essential to every athlete’s sport performance. Even though our young athletes seem to be able to bounce back from training, or even sustain it at a pretty high level, you might be surprised at what a little intentional recovery can do for them.
Interval Training ~ Using Recovery as a Training Tool: One of the best techniques sport scientists have to offer to maximize efficiency of practice time is interval training ~alternating periods of hard training with shorter periods of rest in a fixed ratio, perhaps 5 or 6:1, depending on the demands of the training. They can work harder in these shorter high intensity bursts when they have rest intervals between. By the end of practice, they will have performed more high intensity (quality) minutes of training than they would in a session that had constant moderate demands with little or no rest.
Make it like the game they play: Fitness training with intervals is an especially good way to structure your practice if the game your athletes play requires all-out effort interspersed with less intense effort. Sprinting and jogging. Driving and recovering. Attack and defend. Get their bodies used to game demands at practice. You’ll have fitter, better prepared athletes.