Top 5 Recovery Tools Your Soccer Player Needs
While Spring may seem short, the season can definitely take a toll on any soccer player. Lots of practices, games, and tournaments packed into a short season leads to little time for rest and recovery. While many just navigate the wear on their bodies until the off-season, we need to make sure our athletes are actively PREVENTING injury all season. We get this question asked a lot, so we hope this list gives you a solid game plan for tools that can help your player recover. With a good soccer recovery kit, players can stay healthy, and more pain-free, and also tend to have stronger performance due to better mobility, more healthy muscles, and less pain!
Here’s our List of the Top 5 Recovery Tools all soccer athletes should have!
1) TENS/ENS Unit – This device basically uses low-electric pulses to stimulate muscles and relieve soreness. The TENS mode allows for recovery/relief of muscle soreness (i.e. post-training soreness) while the ENS mode is muscle recovery activation (stimulating the muscles to relax if they are tight). We’ve been using a TENS/ENS unit for the past three years and it has helped speed up recovery from slight strains and muscle tweaks. It also helps that this tool is small, easy to use, and almost always costs less than $100.
2) Thera Gun – This percussion massager is used to provide deep muscle relief. The portable device helps players recover faster from muscle tension and soreness. Think of a massage…only in your soccer bag. The two big companies in this field are TheraGun and HyperIce. In our opinion, you can find high-quality versions for much cheaper though. Most of these percussion massagers can hold a charge for 2-5 hours of use, which is great for long tournament days or during hours of camps. Our coaches use this on ourselves every day!
3) Ice Roller – The fascia and muscles on the bottom of our feet take a beating each season. This recovery product takes the old-school frozen water bottle technique and makes it easier (and less leaky!) to travel. Freeze for two hours and it will last for six hours. While most soccer players and other athletes use this tool to roll the arches of their feet, it can be used on any muscle set that needs cold therapy.
4) KT Tape – We know what you’re thinking…this is the tape that makes you look like a mummy. But don’t let that spook you. KT tape is one of our favorite recovery tools because it can help relieve pain and help athletes continue to play while recovering. How does it work? This isn’t your average Scotch tape. The elastic properties of KT tape help give support to the muscle while reducing swelling, increasing mobility, and improving recovery. A side note – You do need to learn how to apply KT properly or it will not be effective.
5) Foam Roller – The old-school tool that never fails. The idea is to use body weight to help roll out muscle and fascia tissue. You can pick these up for cheap almost anywhere sports equipment is sold. I’ve used tennis balls and soccer balls as an alternative as well. There are plenty of great YouTube videos out there with foam roller tutorials to guide you and help you target specific muscle regions to make sure you’re getting the best results.
The SworkIt App – This is an app we’ve been using daily for the last couple years. They have a couple of options, but we love the FREE stretching app. You tell the app how long you want to stretch and it basically coaches you through a short stretching session. Free, doesn’t require much planning, and starts to help your body maintain mobility on a regular basis (instead of realizing once you are tight or injured).
So there you have it! Our top recovery 5 items we recommend to both soccer players and all athletes. Not only do they help you recover, but they will help keep your body in better working order so you can make this year’s season the best one yet!
*Important note – Any injury that has heavy inflammation (i.e. strain, muscle tear, etc.) should be checked out by a licensed professional. Items like the TENS/EMS or Theragun should NOT be used on muscle tears or heavy strains.*