girls soccer

With fall sports starting up in the next few weeks many athletes are dusting off their equipment and getting ready for the their season.  Pre-season training can be the most intense because it is preparing the athlete for their optimal performance during the season.  Unfortunately, this can be the time that many athletes get injured and end up rehabilitating throughout the season.  The main problem is that most sports programs do not incorporate an active recovery program into their training.

Active recovery is utilized by elite athletes because they understand the importance of recovery in improving performance.  Physical and performance growth often occurs during the recovery phase vs. the training phase.  Here are some tips to incorporate into your youth athletes active recovery program.

  1. Rest – Make sure your youth athlete is getting at least 8 hours of sleep each night in order to let the body repair the damage incurred by the training.
  2. Hydrate – In Arizona this is critical considering how hot it is in the early parts of the fall season.  Also make sure your athlete replenishes the electrolytes lost during exercise.
  3. Nutrition – You truly are what you eat.  Exercise and training in season significantly breaks down protein.  Consider increasing your child’s protein intake daily to about 1.5 grams per pound of body weight.
  4. Active stretching – As muscle fibers are repaired the grow tight, increasing stress on ligaments and joints.  Active stretching helps elongate these fibers and increases blood flow for tissue repair
  5. Incorporate Balance and Coordination Exercises – Proper balance and coordination is important to helping the body move efficiently and safely.  This reduces the risk of injury with awkward movements.
  6. Range of Motion – Our joints are designed to work within a certain range of motion to work optimally.  Athletes with stiff and lax joints are at higher risk of injury.
  7. Functional Strength/Core Stability – During the season it is important to maintain strength.  Strength training programs should still be maintained, but modified from the typical off season training program.

By incorporating this programming into your youth athletes training you can help optimize their performance, improve their recovery, and reduce the risk of injury.  Be on the lookout for the launch of Rehab Plus Ahwatukee’s Recovery Programs.