The Canadian University Soccer season is here, and this year marks my 3rd season as Assistant Coach and Fitness Coach with the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) Ridgebacks Women’s Varsity Soccer Team. This season, I will be blogging every day with a ‘Tip of the Day’ – a small piece of information about the testing, training, monitoring, or performance analysis I am doing with the team.
Today’s Tip of the Day is all about recovery. In the university season, getting players to perform optimally is often a matter of keeping them healthy and on the field. Recovery and regeneration (which encompasses a wide range of activities, from nutrition/hydration, sleep, and active recovery such as stretching, foam rolling, and ice baths) is a vital component of our athletes’ physical performance. Without adequate recovery, players can loose strength, speed, power, and endurance, and will also be much more susceptible to injury.
In most of the higher level environments I have worked, including the university level, one of the greatest challenges has always been trying to get players to do the things they need to do and hold them accountable for their recovery. One unique strategy that was introduced to me by my friend and the current fitness coach of Montreal Impact in MLS, Paolo Pacione, has been to give players a Total Quality Recovery “Actual” (TQR-A) Scale. The TQR-A was created by sports physicians and fitness coaches from the Stockholm, Sweden, and comprises a 1-page score sheet, with points awarded to athletes for all of the different recovery activities they are expected to do each day. Athletes earn points for such activities as:
- 3 full meals per day
- urine color clear
- 30 minutes of feet elevated in 1 day
- 30 minute nap in 1 day
(Just to name a few). The total score out of 20 is reported. Athletes working with a Fitness Coach can examine their daily/weekly scores, and try to determine where they can look to make improvements. An additional benefit of using the TQR-A is that it gets athletes to constantly think about their recovery, and what they can do to make it better. Using the TQR-A has been very helpful to me in my career thus far, and I believe it is an excellent tool for fitness coaches working with athletes in a high performance environment.
I’d love to hear your thoughts about this topic. Drop me a line here to get the conversation started.