Recovery is an important process to implement in training programs for athletes at all levels in order to prevent injury, reduce fatigue, and enhance athletic performance. Immediately after a practice or competition, athletes should actively cool-down and recover using certain methods. All recovery techniques are valuable for athletes at any level, however there are some unique methods that should be emphasized at the youth level.
Sleep and nutrition are important factors to consider when club and high school athletes are recovering. Young athletic bodies are incredibly efficient at bouncing back from mechanical stress and can inherently recover faster than collegiate or professional athletes. While young athletes have fewer exclusive “recovery” training days, these athletes should maximize their recovery by addressing their primary needs: adequate sleep and balanced nutrition.
The majority of growth and recovery occurs while an athlete sleeps. Teenage athletes are constantly growing and training heavily, and require more quality sleep than the average high school student. Athletes with early morning workouts should try to find a window of time to take short naps during the week or on the weekend.
Proper nutrition is also critical for recovery in youth athletes. During the school day, athletes can maintain energy levels with healthy lunches and snacks. It is important for athletes to refuel within 30 minutes after completing a tough training session to kick-start the recovery process. To learn more about post-workout nutrition and ways to enhance athletic performance check out this article.
Another important concept of recovery and athletic performance is hydration. Re-hydrating immediately after an intense practice is key to proper recovery. The quickest highway to muscular recovery is through the blood plasma. If athletes aren’t properly hydrated, their plasma can’t effectively carry nutrients into the muscle and waste out of the body.
Athletes at all levels should make the recovery process a top priority. Recognizing youth athlete needs and differences is helpful when implementing certain recovery techniques. Although youth athletes are naturally efficient at recovering quickly, there are multiple recovery methods to ensure their bodies get the rest and energy they need. From getting quality sleep to eating healthy to properly hydrating, there are many effective ways to help athletes return to full speed and ultimately enhance athletic performance. To learn more about ways to accelerate athlete recovery check out this article.