The off-season is the best time to improve your strengths and weaknesses. This often involves a rigorous training regime as well as multiple camps to help high school athletes both improve and get exposure. This regime can be very taxing on your body and often stagnate your physical and mental development. This is why segmenting time for recovery is important for all athletes if you truly want to see enhancements in your performance. Take your game to the next level by ensuring your body is in optimal condition this off-season. Here are three ways to ensure your body is properly recovering from your weekly work load.
Stretching is a key component to not only recovery, but also improvement of physical performance. Stretching enhances blood flow, increases range of motion, and improves overall flexibility. Neglecting to stretch reduces your overall effectiveness as an athlete. For example, if you have tight hamstrings you may not be able to give that extra effort to chase down the ball carrier for a potential game saving tackle. Investing time in stretching daily will not only reduce the chance of injury, but it can enhance your flexibility. Lack of flexibility or muscle soreness can be detrimental to your performance. A recommended starting point for young athletes is to stretch for at least 10 minutes, three times a day. Here are examples of good times to stretch:
WATER AND PROTEIN
Your body needs two key nutrients for recovery; water and protein. The first nutrient, water, is not only the most important supplement you can drink, but it is also the cheapest. Your body needs water to survive. Water prevents dehydration which prepares your body for strenuous workouts and to recover after serious injuries. You should drink multiple bottles of water daily. The other nutrient, protein, is very important as well. Protein contributes to muscle growth and bone strength. Including a protein source in each meal you eat throughout the day can help recovery of broken-down muscles. Examples of protein you can incorporate in your meal are chicken, steak, beef jerky, and other meats. You may not have access to chicken and steak every night but there are many other cost-effective protein sources you can consume:
There is a popular misconception that sleep is for people who are unsuccessful. This could not be further from the truth. There are plenty of successful people who have publicly stated they place a high value on the importance of sleep (i.e. Lebron James, Bill Gates, Tom Brady). Sleep allows muscles to recover, enables you to think and react faster, and to function without drowsiness. As an athlete, you want to always be well rested before you are set to compete or train. Most athletes need 7-8 hours of sleep to allow their muscles time to recover and be mentally alert the next day. Sleep is arguably the most important source of recovery your body needs. Attacking any task well rested will produce far better results opposed to if you are half awake, wishing you could go back to bed. Never deny your body the opportunity to rest and recover because it will negatively impact your athletic performance.
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