11 Post-Match Recovery Strategies For Soccer Players

Soccer matches can be extremely wearing on a person’s body. After playing a full 90 minutes of running up and down the field, it is important to start the recovery process right away so that the body is ready for practices and other matches coming up.

What are the best ways to recover as quickly as possible after a soccer match? Use a few of these recovery strategies to bounce back in a big way. Not all of them are necessary, but players who have struggled in the past can bounce back better with these tips in mind.


1. Running/Jogging

The last thing that some athletes want to do after running around on the pitch for so long is to go out and run some more. However, it does not need to be high-intensity running at all, as a low-impact run or jog can go a long way towards getting people back on track.

This is essentially a type of cool down so that the body can feel like it is not tensing up by any means. Players can use it as a way to move around and clear the mind as well. It is not recommended for athletes who might be dealing with some type of injury, but it is one of the easiest ways to recover for anyone.


2. Ice Bath

An ice bath will, without question, relax even the most stressed-out players in the world. They can be a little tough to get used to it first, but it cools down the entire body and allows for the recovery process to start right away.

It only takes a little bit of time to feel results, and it gets easier once a person gets used to it. Many professional soccer players use this tactic as a way to bounce back with another match looming.

Try to aim for about 5 to 10 minutes of ice bath recovery to cool the body down. If a specific area of the body needs attention, there is the alternative option of placing ice there only.


3. Biking

For a slightly different type of recovery that still gets cardio, biking is another option for those who do not want to run or swim. It all effectively works the same, as people are trying to get their body back and stretched out for everything to feel better later.

Whether it is stationary biking or going out and hitting the trail, it is a great way to recover the body and have very low impact overall. Players can use this strategy for just about any type of physical activity, which will be extremely beneficial.


4. Sleep

Sleep should never be overlooked as a way to recover from any athletic activity. It takes a little bit of time to wind down after a match, but it is better to have a lot of rest than to try to get by on just a few hours.

Proper rest should begin before a match, as this will give people enough energy to get through all 90 minutes. Afterward, the body needs some relaxation so that it can recover the overused muscles. Without rest, the body can’t genuinely start the recovery process the way it should.

Players may initially have some problems getting the right amount of sleep, as teams can play matches later in the day. It takes a little bit of time for things to wind down and sleep to become a reality, but there are some ways to go about that as well.

Ultimately, aiming for at least seven hours of sleep after a match is great. Anything more than that can be helpful.


5. Stretching

Soccer players can never do enough stretching after a long match. There are so many players out there who feel like they have put their body through quite a bit, and it just makes sense to do as much stretching as possible so that they can avoid any pitfalls.

One of the frustrating things about stretching is that there are so many people out there who feel they are doing the right things, but they are coming up short. No one should ever be at a point where they are in a ton of pain why stretching, but still, pushing the limits helps quite a bit.


6. Massage

Soccer players of all levels enjoy a good massage after playing in a tennis match. It can feel pretty relaxing, and the best massages can cut down on any muscle damage that occurred. Most soccer teams offer some type of massage therapy for their players, allowing for faster recovery overall.

Even if some of the benefits are exaggerated in the eyes of some, there is something to be said for feeling much more relaxed with a massage overall. There are way too many people out there who do not do enough relaxing after staying active and playing around.


7. Compression

More and more athletes are using compression as a way to help with recovery. It is a great way to get targeted areas a bit more recovered and ready to go overall. Compression helps the body function as it should, and the chance of any injuries occurring after the fact is reduced.

Compression can be used for the entire body, or to focus on one particularly troubling area. Soccer players will go ahead and use compression when they are playing as well to help with a lingering injury.

Try to wear the compression for the rest of the night, right up until sleeping. Falling asleep with tight compression might make a person feel poorly, so take it off before climbing in bed.


8. Swimming

The great thing about jumping into a pool and swimming after a soccer match is that it can help in a variety of ways. For starters, it is a very cool experience to be swimming, as most soccer matches are going to leave players dripping in sweat. When it is a summer match, a swimming pool can feel very relaxing as soon as a person jumps in.

From a recovery standpoint, it helps to cool down the muscles and let people stretch out a bit as well. Since a person needs to use their entire body when swimming, it gives players a chance to feel like they are recovering better than they ever thought.

Finally, the relaxing aspect of a light swim allows players to clear their mind. Mental fatigue is very much a thing, and doing a less strenuous, fairly mindless task will enable people to think about other things while swimming.


9. Electrical Stimulation

Some soccer players swear by electrical stimulation to help the body recover. While the technology is still a bit inconclusive, some believe that it can really help with quality muscular contractions thanks to stimulation.

The main thing that this stimulation helps with is combatting the amount of soreness in the muscles. Some options work better than others, and athletes are willing to try whatever it takes to get a feel they are looking for.


10. Eating (Nutrition Meal)

After a long match, players should consume some type of food to replenish the body as much as possible. It does not need to be much, but any little bit helps make a person feel better than ever.

Some players will opt for actual food, while others will go with a nutritional bar or even a smoothie. Whatever the case is, a person who goes without food for a long time can start to feel some of the repercussions.

Eating the right type of foods helps with recovery as well. It might be tempting just to eat anything, but picking a nutritional meal is the better way to go. Also, eating foods that are easy to digest will reduce the risk of a person feeling sick or having an adverse reaction.


11. Drinking Fluids (2-3 Liters)

Eating is important, but drinking might even be a more significant issue. After a match, the body is dehydrated as players find it very difficult to consume a lot of water throughout. This can be a very frustrating experience for those after a match in the heat, because they feel like they are about to pass out.

Water alone will do a great job, but there are ways to enhance water and provide some additional nutrients as well. Combine drinking water with some food, or at the very least, look for other ways to get nutrients, electrolytes, and more.

Connor Smith

I'm Connor, the guy behind SoccerPrime. I'm a former NCAA Div 1 college player that retired at the age of 21 due to injuries - which led me into a new career as a soccer coach.

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