How to Recover Quickly Between Hockey Matches

A common question I get asked is ‘what are some recovery strategies to help me recover faster between matches?’

In this article, I’m going to explain why this is ‘back to front’ thinking, and why what happens BEFORE the game is more important.

Wanting to recover quickly between matches is understandable, as the faster this happens, the faster you can get back to normal training. Tools such as ice baths, compression garments and recovery drinks have their place, but they miss one key element…

Being physically fitter is the single best way to recover quickly.

Think about it - if you put an international hockey player into a summer league game they wouldn’t be thinking about getting their recovery strategies in place straight after the game. They probably wouldn’t have to recover at all. 

This is because:

Recovery = Physical Resources - Physical Cost of the Match

A player with high physical resources (i.e. is fitter) experiences much less ‘cost’ as the game demands are lower for them. Put simply, the fitter you are, the less you have to recover from. 

If you score an 8/10 for physical resources, and the game is a 2/10 cost, you are going to be fine. However, if you score a 3/10 for physical resources and the game is a 9/10 cost, you will undoubtedly take longer to recover. And ice baths suddenly become appealing…

So the solution is to become as physically prepared as you possibly can be, for the physical demands of hockey. Think about recovery strategies like compression and ice baths as the ‘icing on the cake’, build on a foundation of great physical preparation.

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