Of course it’s, playoff time and when most teams begin to make their respective runs at the state titles heath becomes a huge aspect to just how deep some teams will be able to go. Injuries or lack there of can make or break your teams efforts for success.
A few simple and easy tips that players can do not just during the playoff run but should become staples of their everyday life that will not only help your performance but can help with reducing injuries as well as recovery from practices and games. Every athlete at every level, regardless of what they are playing for wishes to run faster jump higher and recover form their performance.
For the sake of not over loading you with tips and nuggets of info to help you along your journey I’ll keep the list to 3 items for now.
Water! After all, 75% of our bodies are made of water. It might be a key component to being a human. Too many athletes turn to drinking water when they are thirsty and or when they are actually competing in their sport or activity. The problem is that most athletes compete, practice and train dehydrated. Players dupe themselves into thinking that because they drank a gallon of water at practice that they are hydrated. Your hydration needs to not happen during practice, an hour before practice or even the morning before a game or practice. Your hydration should be happening everyday and should become a habit not a band aide when you’re dying of thirst.
So the question then becomes how do I know if I am hydrated or not. The first and easiest way to tell if you are hydrated is the color and smell of your pee.
Yes, pee I said pee. We’re adults now so don’t freak out because I’m writing about what we all do and talk about. If your pee is any shade of yellow you have a problem. I always love it when athletes come into my gym and they tell me they feel tired and have a slight head ache. My first question to them is when was the last time you peed and what color was it. The resounding answer of course is always “it’s clear”. Which is a load of what should have been flushed, especially when I go into the bathroom and see drops of what appears to honey on the toilet seat.
Kind of gross but you know what I am talking about and the point is that we all tell ourselves what we want to hear. Are you hydrated? NO!! I’m dehydrated even while I write this.
Back to the question of how you can tell when you are hydrated. The color and frequency of you’re bathroom breaks should be 6-8 times during the day and should be clear or a slight hint of yellow or lemon.
Another aspect of being hydrated is that you will poop more frequently and be more consistent. Now what does poop have to do with the playoffs and your performance? A lot actually as the more efficient your systems from being hydrated the more efficient your body will function and there’s no reason to bring unwanted pooh in the huddles during the playoffs run. Yes the pun was intended.
The reality of being dehydrated is that you actually can reduce your performance by as much as 20%. Imagine if you took your stats and or even your teams win loss record and tacked on a 20% improvement.
How good would you be and or how many more games could you be playing in November? So staying hydrated is a huge part of performance and recover y but how can I stay hydrated? Gatorade? Water? Soda?
Water is the best for our body. Period! Gatorade is sugar and water as is Powerade. Do they have some salts and good things for hydration? Yes but they problem with Gatorade is its heavy with sugars and unused sugar gets stored as fat not to mention it often leaves athletes having a crash in their blood sugar and or energy level.
Being dehydrated not only can immediately affect your performance on the field but it can also effect my next tip which also important for recovery and that is your sleep.
Sleep is vital as this is when you and your body use to recover. I know I know the fellas are going out after to game to hang out with friends after we won the huge game. It’s great to hang with friends and do fun things after the game or during the week end but the issue is not how much sleep you are getting but the quality you are getting.
What I mean by this is that if you are used to going to bed every night at 11 and you get up at 6:30 each morning for school your body becomes used to this schedule and when you throw it off it can have a major effect on you on the field and in the classroom.
When you are sleep deprived it is very difficult to concentrate as well as very difficult for your body to function the way it supposed to. If your sleep schedule is similar to what I mentioned then you are getting around 7 hours of sleep, but lets say 8 hours to make us feel better, but Friday after the game you decode to go out and stay up till 2am the next morning and with our typical logic is that I’ll sleep till 10am and log my 8 hours just like every school night.
The issue is that from 11pm to 2am your body is expecting to be asleep and desires to be asleep but because its fun to be out late and you want to hang with friends you find ways to shut off what your body is telling you.
Your body is also expecting you to wake up around that time of 6:30 and when that is off it takes a few days to rest your schedule. Do you ever feel great after a long night out even if you get the same amount of sleep you normally do?
Chances are, and if you’re being honest with your self , you are tired and sluggish for most of the day and or the week end.
If your sleep schedule is off it also effects how well your body can repair itself and it can drastically effect your growth hormone levels as those hormones are released during our sleep.
Now for those looking for a legal and ethical edge to your performance and health as well as helping to reduce injuries you should just go to bed as close to your normal time as possible and if you desire to sleep in as we all like to do then set your alarm for an hour after you normally wake up.
If your sleep is off your recovery is compromised and you can increase your chances of injury and fatigue. Your body and your coaches will thank you. That’s assuming that your coaches take as good care of their bodies as they tell you to. Oops I’ll get back on track as that can of worms can be saved for another article.
The final piece of info that I’ll share is part of your nutrition. Now we all are beat over the head that you need protein. No other country in our world pushes protein more then America. Is protein important? Yes it is but the way we are told to consume it and how to consume it I have issue with.
However this final piece is not about protein. This about the one element your mother always told you about and you thought were gross. Veggies!! Why? Why you may ask?
Vegetables provide the vitamins and minerals that are vital to restoring your cells from trauma as well as recovery. For those athletes concerned about fat percentage and or muscles gain they key is veggies and lots of them. The greener the better. Don’t rely on some fake supplement to make up for your lack of discipline to eat what you need to. Oh you don’t like vegetable?
To bad, better man up and just eat them. The more you eat them the better they actually will taste and watch your energy level go up as well as your quality of sleep improve. Veggies also provide what your cells need to repair themselves and restore their integrity and function and if their function is compromised they won’t work as needed and you’ll be left susceptible to getting injured.
God has provided all we need to help our selves recover and perform at our peak. It’s up to you to make to decision to try these tips and I can, without a shadow of a doubt guarantee you that if you use these tips it will not make your performance and or recovery worse