Saturday, July 28, 2012

Which is the most effective recovery method after a match?
Players at high level may be required to play 2 matches per week. Although physically they can’t do it for many weeks, fast recovery is important to long-term team success. For this reason, several recovery methods are being used in soccer and other team sports to speed up recovery.
Cold-water immersion and contrast therapy, stretching, bike and pool active recovery, use of compression garments, rehydration and carbohydrate (CHO)-protein sports drinks, low-fat, high-CHO milk and others are among the methods used. In recent years there is a lot of research for most of them but not for all. Indeed, the use of some methods is based solely on empirical knowledge.

Bahnert et al’s study (2012): What this paper adds?
A recent study by Bahnert and colleagues from Adelaide FC and the University of South Australia investigated the effect of different recovery methods on post-game recovery and next match performance. A full squad of 44 elite footballers was monitored weekly across a 23-game season. Players were free to choose of different recovery methods, like cold-water immersion and contrast therapy, floor and/or pool stretching, bike active recovery, pool active recovery and the use of compression garments. Physical and perceptual recovery was evaluated during the week and a physical test, to assess performance, was conducted 2 days after the match. Records of match performance rating were kept throughout the season.

What is the novelty of the study
-Players were free to choose the recovery method
-Performance and recovery were assessed throughout the season in elite players

What they found
  1. Players who chose cold-water immersion, floor stretching, no active recovery, and the use of compression garments were more possible to report improved mental and physical recovery after a match compared with the other recovery modalities.
  2. No association between recovery method and 2-day post match physical test performance.
  3. No association between the recovery method and match performance rating.

Take-home message
  • Some recovery methods like cold-water immersion, floor stretching, no active recovery, and the use of compression garments are associated with faster perceptual recovery in a real-life set-up. Other methods don’t.
  • Fast perceptual recovery with these methods might not necessarily result in faster physical recovery.

Next question
Should elite players allowed to choose the recovery method they prefer or not? Should sport scientists force them to use the recovery method they believe is more effective or let them choose?

Source & recent paper in football
Bahnert et al. Association between post-game recovery protocols, physical and perceived recovery, and performance in elite AFL players. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport 2012 Jun 20 [Epub ahead of print].
Rupp et al. The effect of cold water immersion on 48-hour performance testing in collegiate soccer players. Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 2012; 26: 2043–2050

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1 comment:

Dene Mitchell said...

Interesting study - I wonder how many players chose the cold-water immersion method!!!