POR: MARTA TEJEDOR
Coach Girl´s in Perú National Soccer Team
U 17, U 20 y +
Flash tournaments, where multiple games are played in a short period of time, can be very exciting and fun, but also may seem highly stressful for our organisms. In numerous occasions, the teams that make it to the finals aren’t necessarily the most talented; they’re the ones that best endure the overload of effort that these events demand.
Here are some ideas on how to deal with these in optimum conditions and how to favor recovery and reduce signs of fatigue.
1. Nutrition on the day before the match is a deal-breaker. Between eight and twelve hours before the game, depending on if this one is in the morning or in the afternoon, one must ingest something with enough carbohydrates, which later will serve as a reliable source of energy to keep one going.
2. However, the food eaten right before the match must be light and contain elements that are easy and quick to digest, avoiding animal fats and lactose.
3.Hydration in the hours before playing is also very important, more so when in hotter and more humid weather. Keep a water bottle always at hand and take small sips in a continuous manner.
4. All matches must be preceded by a good warm up, of about 20 to 25 minutes, depending on the temperature outside and the general conditions of the game that will be played (duration, state of the field, etc). Warming up well will allow you to avoid getting hurt and have a better performance.
5. During halftimes, one must turn his or her attention to the recovery of the effort done. It is convenient to drink isotonic beverages, eat (only if you’re hungry) a small portion of some kind of rapid absorption food (bananas, almonds, energy bars, etc.) and use that time for physical rest. Stretching, giving oneself a quick massage, rolling back with ones legs in the air to favor blood circulation coming back or applying ice to damaged areas can be good activities to do during halftimes.
6. All matches must end with a good stretching session, of between 10 to 15 minutes long, also in function with the effort done and external factors.
7. Eating carbohydrates is also important after a match in order to recover levels lost. Its best if this is done in the most immediate way possible, before two hours have passed since the end of the match, given that the absorption of these is quicker in the first moments after playing.
8. Mental strength is one of the principal characteristics that differentiate extraordinary soccer players from the rest of the athletes. Keep yourself prepared, try to the maximum point of your possibilities and show determination and constancy in the consecution of your objectives.
9. Cryotherapy is an easy and accessible way to accelerate recovery after a match. It consists of submersion, normally of the lower section of the body, in water at a very low temperature (chilled with ice) for about five minutes. This must be done immediately once one is finished stretching after a game. If you don’t have a bathtub or something similar, this can be replaced with massages using bags of ice, even though, in this case, the duration is longer (20 minutes).
10. Before twelve hours have passed since the end of the game, it is very beneficial to have a session of contrasting baths, which consist of the submersion between alternating tubs of very hot and very cold water. It’s ideal to do five units of three minutes each, alternating between the hot and cold water. These contrasts in temperature accelerate the elimination of waste products accumulated in the organism due to intense efforts done.