Whether your team wins or loses, a big soccer tournament can be physically and emotionally draining. It is important that you exercise the right type of self-care to decompress and attend to your health. Here are some things that players should do to recover following a hard-fought tournament whether you’re a seasoned soccer player or a student visiting with your student visa.
Give Severe or Persistent Pain the Attention That It Deserves
Don’t shrug off an injury as a predictable consequence of playing hard. It’s reasonable to expect that you might have some stiffness or soreness, but pain levels that are difficult to manage or a problem that’s impeding your mobility may need medical attention. Talk to your trainer or your regular physician and let them know what’s going on.
A wait-and-see approach may unnecessarily prolong your discomfort or make for a more protracted recovery process. Diagnostic imaging can conclusively tell you what you’re experiencing and give your care providers the information that they need to treat it effectively.
Focus On Stretching Instead of Strength Training
After you’ve put your muscles to the test, they have a lot of repair work to do. Physical therapy exercises that incorporate stretching are a good way to support your muscles while giving them the blood flow and oxygen that they need to rebuild. Don’t start tearing them up with heavy lifting while you’re still in recovery mode.
Make Time For Hydrotherapy
Getting in the water can be extremely beneficial for a range of injuries. In particular, hydrotherapy is great for sprains, strains, and spinal injuries. Moving in the water is very low impact and allows you to achieve a range of motion that could otherwise be too painful or risky.
If you don’t have ready access to a pool nearby you, consider getting your own. A company that does custom pools in Houston can help you design a pool to install in your own yard so you can easily find time to treat your muscles with hydrotherapy.
Do Hot and Cold Immersion
To heal an injury that is affecting your movement, contracting and expanding your muscles and other connective tissues around your joints can expedite the healing process. It may also reduce your pain levels considerably.
Alternate between submerging yourself in cold water to contract tissue and hot water to expand it. The cold water will shrink inflammation, and the hot water will get your blood flowing while helping your muscles to relax and force spasms to release.
Take It Easy Training
Even when you’re physically fatigued or hurting, the adrenaline that you feel during a tournament may be a little slow to subside, especially if the competition didn’t go like you were hoping it would. Although you may be eager to get back to your full training regimen, it’s important that you give your body time to rest. Rushing back to a full-force routine at the gym or at practice could exacerbate injuries or make you more vulnerable to further tissue damage. Make some reasonable adjustments for a few days until you’re feeling rested and recharged.
Wear a Brace
If you’ve played so hard that you’re feeling downright hobbled, a compression brace can stabilize your movements. Wearing a supportive brace gives some much-needed strength to your knee, ankle, or back. It will also prevent you from improper joint movements induced by inflammation or hyperextension. While you are able to keep an injured area in the correct position with a brace, you keep your inflammation down and give the area protection while it heals.
Reflect On Your Performance
You should take some time after a tournament to reflect on it as a learning experience from which you can draw enhanced self-awareness and strength that you can bring into your next competitive event. While your body is recovering, you should be strategizing.
Taking good care of yourself is the best way to gear up for the next competitive event on your team’s schedule. Your teammates need you to be one hundred percent, and your coaching staff expect that you’ll do everything that you can to get there.