A message for young players: Recovery is king

23 November 2015 Ben Cartwright youth, footballer, recovery, development, fundamentals, soccer, football

Recovery? Why bother? Because it’s absolutely fundamental to your development as a young footballer.

That’s quite a bold statement I’ve just made there, but I whole heartedly stand by it. Failing to recover properly from matches or training will lead you down the dark road of decreased performance levels and increased injury potential. As a footballer matches are the king of the castle and injuries the dirty rascal. Everything you do should be focused towards ensuring you play to the absolute best of your abilities in all areas (physically, mentally and technically) during a game. Whilst simultaneously remaining healthy and free from injury. The process of ensuring this happens begins as soon as the final whistle sounds, it’s called recovery!

The Danger of Trolls!
Let’s stay with the King and castle theme, imagine being the King (or Queen, whichever you prefer) of a castle in fairy land that regularly comes under attack from an army of bog dwelling trolls at least once a week without fail. During the most recent attack those pesky trolls have smashed the castle defences to bits. The walls have stood firm but the castle structure is so severely weakened that it is in danger of collapsing any moment. You’ve used all the supplies you had stored in the castle during the fight but the troll attack was repelled and victory is yours! (What a hero!). Now only a fool wouldn’t bother to repair the damage to the castle structure or choose not to replenish supplies in readiness for the next attack. In fact your more likely to want to build a better castle wall and take on extra supplies so that your chances of victory increase. If you decided to be a fool and did nothing to restore the defences then the next troll assault would have a better chance of victory and your castle to be completely destroyed (and therefore unable to perform its primary function).

Be the smart king:
That scenario of attack and rebuild is the recovery process. If you don’t repair damage sustained during competition then not only do you reduce your chances of winning, you will also increase the amount of damage you to your body over time.
Neglecting your recovery will result in a reduction of muscular function, meaning that it will require more effort and energy to produce the same match performance (accumulated debt). A vast amount of accumulated debt due to poor recovery will almost certainly lead to a non contact injury. Your body is your castle, it has to be fit for purpose. You have to ensure you repair damage and replenish stores used during a game. This is a fundamental principle that will contribute significantly more to your performance levels than expensive boots, the latest training gear or overpriced energy supplements ever could. Be the smart king and give yourself the best chance of victory you can.

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