Sports recovery is one of the many areas I discuss with clients when working with them. Today young athletes are competing all year round with no real time for their body and mind to recover. The demands an athlete puts on their body is a lot and to counter that an athlete needs a high level of recovery time. However, often this is left out in the process. In order for an athlete to continue to push and get better, they need to take some time to heal the body and mind.
There are a number of psychological reasons why it can be difficult for an athlete to take the necessary down time. One is the worry and stress that another athlete is going to out work them, and is training while they rest and recover, another is the mindset that more is better, and to push through the pain. Then there is also the natural drive athletes have to keep moving and continually feel like they are doing something productive to get closer to their dreams, and doing more gentle exercise doesn’t seem to cut it. Another thing that makes it difficult is there is simply no time, as sports are all year round.
So why do you want time to really recover and get the needed work done on your body? Well there are the physical benefits of fully recharging your battery, so you can go harder once your training begins again, then there is also a need to do movements that help to balance out your muscles, as you have trained one style of pattern excessively, without balancing your body out it can lead to an increase risk of injury.
On the psychological side, much like the body, it is important to recharge your battery. Sports are very demanding not just physically but also mentally and emotionally, and we need time to disconnect and focus on other things so that we have the mental stamina, energy and focus needed to maintain it throughout an entire season. I remember playing with some girls when I was younger who would play in summer hockey leagues, while I would take my summers off except for one or two camps. The girls who played in summer league always seemed to come into season a bit more drained, and I found they also seemed to have more injuries during the season. Whereas I was ready to go and chopping at the bit to get the season going again, and was able to give 100% more easily during practice and games.
I know for many it seems counter intuitive that taking time off would ultimately help you become a better athlete, but just as we need sleep every night to recharge and be our best for the next day, we need time off from our sport. And just like sleep if we only get a bit of time off and not a proper amount we can still perform but not at our best.
For more information on our programs and how best to recover and train your mind contact us.