What is your Youth Athlete’s typical post-game routine? If it is anything like most people in today’s quick pace of life then it probably means you load up the kids in the car, grab something quick to eat, and head to the next activity or go home where your Athlete binge watches YouTube or plays video games.
But, what if I told you there are details in maintaining a competitive edge that aren’t so minor? At the Athletic Room we have recently been fielding a number of questions by concerned parents that their youth athlete’s body is “breaking down,” and ask what they can do to off-set the intense training? For those parents looking for small but important tips we are going to look at how some of the best Pro Athletes of all-time approach recovery, or what we call “body maintenance.”
“The breakdown is as important as setup.” – Kobe Bryant
The purpose of training is to stress the body so the next time the body is stronger, assuming the body has properly recovered.
The 5 Essentials Keys to Proper Recovery (Pro & Youth Athlete alike).
- Sleep – what serious athlete’s consider “your body’s natural steroids”
- Nutrition – “the quality of what you put in your body is the quality you will get out of your body”
- Range of Movement – consistently working on range of movement and flexibility gives your athlete the best chance to stay healthy
- Inflammation – “where there is inflammation there is pain & where there is pain there is inflammation.”
- Listening to your body -”listen to your body when it whispers at you so you can avoid your body screaming at you”
Sleep and Nutrition are the key elements to better performance, ideally you should be drinking the equivalent of four and a half 16.9 oz. bottles of water a day. Since much has been written on these subjects we are going to focus on Range of Movement, Inflammation, and Listening to your body in this article.
Range of Movement:
“The body is not just a sum of its parts but is a dependent system that works together.” An example of this is having stiff ankles can stress the knees that extend into the hips and even the back. It is a long chain <add> Just because you begin losing Range of Movement and experience stiffness in one part of your body (the Symptom) that doesn’t always mean that there isn’t another issue that needs to be addressed (the Root Cause).
Incorporating Stretching as well as Mobility work (such as foam rolling) into your athlete’s daily routine can directly aid in reducing overall soreness and positively impact performance. Did you know that by having better flexibility that muscle strength is improved which lessens the chance of injury?
Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, JJ Watt or any other Professional or Collegiate Athlete has always made it a point to make ice their “status quo;” every game, practice, or intense training session ends with ice bags for knees, shoulders, or entire bodies. The enemy in the case of a serious athlete is the build up of inflammation from exercise and the quicker you can reduce it the faster you will be able to begin gearing-up for the next practice or game.
Listening to your body
Many of our Athletes who come into the Athletic Room ask me what my job was like when I played in the NFL for 9 Seasons? My answer is always “Mine and every other Pro Athletes Job is to be diligent about recovering for the next day.” With the physical demands we placed on our body the only way a Pro could be ready for the next practice or game is to “listen to our body” and when it is telling us; once you identify what is a little tight or sore you do things that can be as simple as watching tv on the floor (instead of the couch) stretching, or spend 5 minutes before bed foam rolling, or even start your morning with 5 minutes of Yoga.
Regardless of whether or not your Athlete wants to pursue sports at the next level, we at the Athletic Room are passionate that our Young Athletes are taking preventative measures to preserve the well-being of their body. You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars like most pro-athletes do on these recovery methods and there are many simple things that can be done at home. If you or your Athlete don’t know where to start, call or come in and we would be happy to share our years of experience with you or a loved one.
“For all those who have serious athletes at home dreaming of their next performance being their best, then I encourage you to help emphasis the importance of investing in their body!” – the AR Team