The Student Newspaper of Westminster Christian Academy

The Wildcat Roar

The Student Newspaper of Westminster Christian Academy

The Wildcat Roar

The Student Newspaper of Westminster Christian Academy

The Wildcat Roar

How Should Athletes Recover to Perform Their Best


Kevin De Bruyne, captain of English Premier League side Manchester City and Belgium National team, is considered as one of the best midfielders in this generation.  On date he suffered a serious injury that will lead him to miss several months both club and national team.  Manchester City will have to suffer 3-4 months without their star player a loss which could potentially cost the team their 4th straight league title.  Currently in the top tier of English football, the Premier League, there are a staggering 124 players out due to some sort of injury across all twenty teams.  


Overtraining of athletes combined with improper recovery can lead to an increased chance of injuries and lead to decreased performance.  It is important for Westminster student athletes to recover well, as in one season they have to play many games.  For example, the girls volleyball will play 32 regular season games while soccer plays 21 games in the stretch of two months.  


Scheduling is an important process that is not random, but precisely selected by coaches to allow for their players to be properly ready for each game.  Varsity head coach Senor Legters talks about how schedule can become the most important aspect when trying to get players to perform at their highest level.  


“Tuesday and Friday games are always the best,” said Legters, allowing optimal time for rest, recovery, and preparation for the next game.  

When asking Coach Legters about the challenges of playing Tuesday / Wednesday he believes it comes down to scheduling.  

“I try to pick a schedule where we play the tougher opponent first, or a conference game.  These games are more important and allow me to maybe play the stronger team the first game and rotate players the second game of the week depending on how they feel,”  said Legters.  


Picking to play the most important game first in the week allows for much advantage.  Such as players being fresh and rested for the first game so they are fully prepared to perform optimally.  Mentally players can empty their tank in the first game knowing that there is no need to worry about saving energy for the next game.  They can do this because the second game is less important and the coach will manage the players for that game.  In the 2023 season Westminster Boys Varsity Soccer will have to play back to back games three times this season and endure the harsh reality of recovering quickly before the next game.

Whether it is running five miles while quickly making tough decisions on the soccer pitch or physically being tackled right before scoring a touchdown, athletes are exhausted both physically and mentally.  How are the student athletes of Westminster expected week in week out to perform to their best ability?  Westminster trainer Brooke VunCannon tackles this issue by talking about the various types of recovery and how they all impact the players.  


“Hydration is one of the most important things for athletes and it should start a week or two before the game or event.  Hydration helps cramps, muscle soreness and keeps your muscles running properly,” said VunCannon. 


 Water is essential for the proper functioning of your muscles.  Dehydration, when your body loses more fluid than you take in, can lead to muscle cramps and impaired muscle function.  This can lead to extreme soreness and injuries due to the athlete’s muscles not having the proper amount of fluid to function.  Proper hydration helps main blood flow and circulation of oxygen and nutrients that are needed for the muscles to perform at a high level.  Lastly, water is not the only fluid that is essential when trying to be hydrated.


“Electrolytes are important for the athletes because they need them in addition to simple water.  I suggest athletes to drink gatorade” said Vuncannon.  


Sweating during exercise can cause athletes to lose electrolytes, which are ions that are involved with improving muscle and nerve function.  Rehydrating with sports drinks are good ways to replenish electrolytes after hard workouts.  


 “Liquid IV is my first suggestion when evaluating an athlete who is dehydrated and needs electrolytes.  It has the ability to deliver sodium and potassium to athletes’ bodies efficiently,” said Nate Maynard, St Louis Academy sports scientist.


Additionally, epsom salt baths are a great way for your muscles to recover and relax. 


 “I enjoy taking epsom baths the night after a game when I have a game the following day.  This helps relax my muscles and makes me feel a lot better.” said senior captain of boys soccer, Levi Weik. 


When in an Epsom salt bath, the salt breaks down into magnesium and sulfate which is absorbed into your muscles.  Inside the body magnesium is able to reduce inflammation, help muscle and nerve function, while sulfur most commonly improves the absorption of nutrients and flushes negative toxins that build up in your muscles after exercise.  These two compounds are instrumental in aiding muscles back to their full potential.  Adding epsom baths to the athletes recovery process is instrumental in being able to perform at your highest level week after week.  


“Recovery allows athletes’ bodies to recover and repair since every time you exercise, you break down muscle, ” said Nate Maynard.  


Recovery can be done in many ways but knowing the significance of it is essential.  Rest days and recovery help athletes to prevent injuries, muscle soreness, and feel at their best.  So whether you are a high school athlete or a top professional like Kevin De Bruyne, focusing on your athletic recovery can help you stay at the top of your game.



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