While Spring may seem short, the season can definitely take a toll on your athlete. While many just navigate the wear on their bodies until the off-season, we need to be making sure our athletes are actively PREVENTING injury all season.
The added bonus? Not only do they stay healthy and more pain free, but also tend to have better performance due to better mobility, more healthy muscles, and less pain!
Here’s our TOP 5 List of Recovery Tools all soccer athletes should have!
1) TENS/ENS Unit - This device basically uses low electric pulses to stimulate muscles and relieve soreness. The TENS mode allows for recovery/relief of muscle soreness (i.e. post training soreness) while the ENS mode is muscle recovery activation (stimulating the muscles to relax if they are tight). We've been using a TENS/ENS unit for the past 3 years and it has helped speed up recovery from slight strains and muscle tweaks.
2) Thera Gun - This percussion massager is used to provide deep muscle relief. The portable device helps players recover faster from muscle tension and soreness. Think a massage … only in your soccer bag. The two big companies in this field are TheraGun and HyperIce. In our opinion, you can find high-quality versions for much cheaper though.
3) Ice Roller - The fascia and muscles on the bottom of our feet take a beating each season. This recovery product takes the old school frozen water bottle technique and makes it easier to travel. Freeze for 2 hours and it lasts for 6 hours. While most athletes use to roll the arches of their feet, it can be used on any muscle set that needs cold therapy.
4) KT Tape - Ahhh yes. The tape that makes you look like a mummy. But don’t be deceived. KT tape can help relieve pain as well as help athletes continue to play while recovering. The elastic properties of KT tape help give support to the muscle while reducing swelling, increasing mobility, and improving recovery. A side note - You do need to learn how to apply KT properly or it will not be effective.
5) Foam Roller - The old school tool that never fails. We’ve seen different versions of a roller including foam, thick cardboard, even pvc pipe (this one will definitely make you invent curse words from the muscle rolling). The idea is to use body weight to help roll out muscle and fascia tissue. You can pick these up for cheap almost anywhere sports equipment is sold.
The SworkIt App - This is an app we’ve been using daily for the last couple years. They have a couple options, but we love the FREE stretching app. You tell the app how long you want to stretch and it basically coaches you through a short stretching session. Free, doesn’t require much planning, and starts to help your body maintain mobility on a regular basis (instead of realizing once you are tight or injured).
So there you have it! Our TOP 5 items we recommend to all athletes. Not only do they help you recover, but they will help keep your body in better working order to have the best season yet this year!
*Important note - Any injury that has heavy inflammation (i.e. strain, muscle tear, etc.) should be checked out by a licensed professional. Items like the TENS/EMS or Theragun should NOT be used on muscle tears or heavy strains.*