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Recovery Strategies to improve Your Sports Performance (Part 1)

Ever wonder why elite athletes such as the NBA players can play 82 games in 6 months? That’s an average of almost a 40 minutes game every 2 days for 6 months!

What is the secret of such elite athletes being able to push their body to the limit and perform at such high levels every other day without succumbing to serious injury?

Is it because of their natural talent or intensive strength and conditioning program?

Are such capabilities beyond the reach of an amateur but driven athlete?

Athletes striving to perform at high levels must push their bodies to the limit. As such they put their bodies through sessions of strength and conditioning, skills training almost every day. Such strenuous training and sometimes grueling competition schedules impose a tremendous amount of physical and mental stress to the athletes.  If they cannot cope with the demand, fatigue and physical breakdown occur, leading to poor performance and often, injuries.

The key to allowing the allowing an elite athlete, or even an amateur like myself, pushing our bodies to the limit without breaking down, lies in a simple yet often neglected part of the training program, RECOVERY.

According to Barry Barnes, Head Coach of Australian Men’s Basketball ,in his 1996 Atlanta Olympic Report “ If there was one single factor that helped this team perform at the level they did at Atlanta, it was the recovery program that was put in place…” Tour de France Legend Lance Armstrong also remarked “Recovery is the name of the game.. whoever recovers the fastest does the best.”

RECOVERY, often mistaken as just rest, is much more than just that. It is a very crucial part of training strategy that many amateur athletes are unaware of. Athletes are always looking to train and to find new ways to train to make themselves faster, stronger and better. Yet, in order for the body to adapt to the training at the high intensity, there must be appropriate recovery strategies implemented.

In the next few series of articles, I will share with you a number of recovery strategies that has been used widely by elite athletes and their coaches successfully.  These strategies are vital to aid the athlete to optimize their training and at the same time, reduce the risk of illness and injury. They include the use of compression garments, contrast baths, appropriate nutrition, passive and active recovery, sports massage and flotation tanks.

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