If you want to perform at 100%, you need to know how to recover at the best of your ability. When it comes to professional sports, we often hear a lot of advice on how to improve performance – how to get faster, stronger, more agile, but we rarely hear tips on how to get our bodies ready to go back and perform, night after night.
Basketball is a physically demanding sport, it requires you to sprint, jump, turn, push, shove and all that while thinking about strategy and tactics. As it’s also a contact sport, the players tend to get a beating from falling to the ground, getting shoved all game and colliding with others at full speed (this doesn’t happen that often, but it’s still a possibility). For all those reasons, learning how to recover well is vital, if you want to be a high-level athlete, otherwise you risk injuries, fatigue and inability to give your best to your team in each game.
In this article, we’re aiming to help you get better at recovery by providing you with all the must-know tips that will make it easier for your body to go again after a grueling game or practice. So if that sounds like your cup of tea, then keep on reading.
4 Essential Tips for Post-Game Recovery
There are three main pillars of recovery: rest, nutrition and hydration. Those are the three key essentials that you have to keep in mind and follow, if you want to be able to bounce back quickly. With that said, there are specific things that you should consider when it comes to your rest, hydration and nutrition and we will dive deep into them in the next paragraphs.
Relaxation and sleep are vital for our recovery. When we sleep, that’s when our bodies are able to restore our energy levels, repair our broken down muscle tissue, reduce stress levels and help with boosting our immune system. That’s because at night, while we’re asleep, our bodies release hormones which are key to our recovery – one of them is the human growth hormone (HGH). Typically, it’s recommended that adults get anywhere from 7-10 hours of sleep per night and it’s recommended that two or three out of those hours happen before midnight, as those hours are more effective than the ones after.
Along with that, it’s important to give yourself time to relax and get your mind off sport. That can be done through journaling, meditation or indulging in other hobbies. By doing so, you give your brain a chance to relax and you’re lowering down stress and anxiety levels, something that’s key for professional athletes.
Having proper nutrition is vital for basketball players and for all athletes in general. By eating healthy and enough, you’re giving your body the right macronutrients and vitamins, so that it can recover better and become stronger and more resilient over time. When it comes to post-game recovery, it’s recommended that you eat a meal high in proteins and carbs, 30 minutes to an hour after the game has finished.
That way, you can replenish the glycogen stores in your muscles and you can speed up the recovery process. If you play late nights, it’s also key to get your meal in quickly after the game, so that you can digest it before you have to go to bed – otherwise, you risk having issues with falling asleep.
Of course, supplements also play their role in the nutrition of athletes. Things like protein powders, creatine and BCAAs can help your body recover faster, which is why they’re worth considering in your overall nutrition plan. Additionally, protein shakes are a great way to get your post-game nutrition done quickly as they can be kept in the locker room and consumed right after you come out of the shower.
When we sweat excessively, we lose not only water, but also vital minerals such as sodium, calcium and many more. These losses can lead to fatigue, cramping, even fainting, if we don’t replenish our bodies properly. Basketball is a sport that requires a lot of explosive movements and that’s what makes it a particularly sweaty one, which is why hydration is a key part of a players recovery process. Besides drinking enough water, it’s also important to sip on electrolyte drinks and to have magnesium and calcium, as part of your post-match drink. That way, you will ensure that your body is getting back all of the essential minerals that it needs to function properly and to recover well.
We can’t talk about recovery without mentioning stretching, mobility and foam rolling. After a long game or a grueling practice, your muscles will tighten up and you have to work on getting them loose – something that you can do with a good stretching and mobility routine. Additionally, things like foam rolling, massages or massage guns will help increase blood circulation in the muscles that have taken a beating, thus helping them recover faster.
Hopefully, this article helped give you a clear idea of what a good post-game recovery looks like. Still, if you have any tips that we might have missed, please share them with us in the comments section. And if you want to keep learning about proper nutrition, exercise and recovery, head on over to our blogs – we’re certain that they will be of interest to you.