Blog: The Importance of Training & Recovery

There are a variety of training modalities and the type of modality selected is completely dependent on the situation. Whether it’s for elite level athletes or young children, training will be moulded to fit around their needs and is dependent on the desired outcome. Focusing on young athletes the main emphases of training can be highlighted.

The aim of training youth

Contrary to popular belief improved sporting performance comes a lot further down the spectrum than imagined when training youth. The main focus in the long-term athletic development in children is to reduce injury risk and improve health and well-being. By doing this a major focus is to improve fundamental movement skills, in addition to building a foundation of strength which compliments aims at improving joint stability and postural integrity.

How does improving fundamental movement skill competency and building a strength foundation reduce the risk of injury and improve health and well-being?

Many injuries that occur during youth and or adult physical activity could have been avoided with integrated neuromuscular training. Meaning, if movement patterns are ingrained early in life, such injuries as ankle sprains due to poor landing mechanics, or knee injuries due to poor running mechanics could simply be avoided. Many other types of injuries can be avoided by improving physical competence, these are just a few examples.

Building a foundation of strength compliments improving fundamental skills, once the correct movement patterns have been ingrained, then having a strength foundation in addition to these movement patterns further decreases likelihood of injury. Using netball as an example, which is played at extremely fast pace with a large volume of rapid changes in direction, plus, high levels of jumping and landing. If jumping and landing mechanics have not been learnt, in addition to low levels of strength, then the risk of injury in netball is high. It should be noted that the risk of ACL rupture in females increases three-fold through puberty, the psychological impact of having such an injury can be tough to deal with, which is further rationale to prepare people via integrated neuromuscular training.

Once these two elements have cemented a solid foundation, then the performance for sport focus of training can be explored.

The importance of recovery

Recovery from training/ playing fatigue may not just include rest, as typically just doing nothing may not be the best method, there are a variety of ways to aid recovery. Recovery typically should work in a natural equilibrium; high intensity work requires more, and typically low intensity requires less, although, there are stages when such is not true. Unsurprisingly, the highest intensity day is match day, which should be followed by rest. Different modalities for this include active recovery which can be low intensity exercise, light jogging, swimming, or low level sport, all have shown to decrease blood lactate levels and speed up the recovery process. Sleep is also vital after high intensity work, lack of sleep can affect hormone regulations, subsequently, decreasing recovery rate and increasing injury risk. This doesn’t mean you should lie in the morning, think about getting to bed earlier. Before going to sleep looking at an electronic screen be it Phone, TV or Laptop can be detrimental to sleep quality. Aim to not look at a screen for over an hour before you go to sleep, research has proven that blue light can have a negative effect on your ability to fall asleep, and sleep quality. Finally, it is paramount that any exercise is complimented with good nutrition and hydration, don’t fall into the trap of just thinking about protein post exercise, replenishing carbohydrate stores is equally if not more important.

During the Holidays

The holiday periods are a great opportunity to rest up, get adequate sleep, and eat well. But it’s also an opportunity to become inactive. Although it’s good that you get to catch up on some sleep and you get that all-important rest from work, it’s important to stay active. It doesn’t have to be in the gym, activities like hiking, cycling, swimming and playing sport, anything that can stop the de-training effect. Being completely inactive over the holidays is a setback, reducing those strength levels and movement competencies, increasing the risk of injury after holiday periods. All pupils have been given an Athletic Development Programme to work over the holiday period to make sure they return back in good physical health.

James Davies
Head Strength and Conditioning Coach

Lyndon Stewart and Connor Hetherton
Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coaches

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