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 professional level.
By the time athletes reach the professional level, they have learned how to properly recover from intense training. Although professional athletes are older and may not recover as quickly as younger athletes, they have more time and money to dedicate to restoring their bodies and enhancing athletic performance.
Professional athletes may have greater access to massage therapy as another component to their recovery. After intense training, inflammation around muscle tissues can cause layers of muscle to adhere to each other and become restricted. Massage therapy counteracts soreness and tightness by breaking up tension in the layers of muscle and other soft tissues that enable professional players to recover more efficiently.
Professional athletes are frequently travelling all over the world for different competitions and events. Athletes must take extra care of their bodies to recover after game-day when travelling home. When athletes are confined in a cramped space with little movement for long periods of time, they often experience road trip fatigue. Walking around and lightly stretching helps athletes keep the blood flowing and moves lactic acid around to reduce cramping and soreness. Additionally, wearing compression socks or leggings can help increase blood flow and the overall recovery process. To learn more about increasing athletic performance while on the road check out this article on jetlag and this article on travelling.
Athletes at all levels should make the recovery process a top priority. Recognizing professional athlete needs and differences is helpful when implementing certain recovery techniques. While youth athletes are naturally efficient at recovering quickly on their own, older athletes must take extra steps to recover. From massage therapy to taking care of the body while travelling, there are many effective ways to help athletes return to full speed and ultimately enhance athletic performance.