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Here are three truths that are worth remembering when trying to maintain fitness or trying to recover from injury.

It takes two good nights of sleep to repair your muscles more effectively

Most muscle repair occurs while you are asleep. This happens through something called deep orthodox sleep. Deep orthodox sleep last for 20 minutes on average and happens at most 4 or 5 times a night, but on average 3 times. You need 5 cycles to give the maximum muscle repair. A good night’s sleep is when you reach that 5 cycles, but for most that means two good night’s of sleep for fully repaired muscles.

Loss of performance through loss of water – think about the water intake timings

It only takes a loss of 3% of water from the body to impair the performance of most normal football players. Rehydration, the replacement of lost water, needs to occur on regular intervals, normally every 15 to 20 minutes. Ideally you need to replace the same amount of water with each drink.
However this sort of rehydration does not represent the game situations where water intake is not as controlled. If possible it is better to train as you play and this goes for rehydration. The body adapts through training to the conditions set, therefore benefiting the football player when they play in the game.
Don’t run through a stitch

The stabbing pain in the tummy, otherwise known as a stitch means that you have taken on too many carbohydrates before you started training. This normally means too much pasta, maybe an hour or so earlier, or after a big meal. What has happened is that there is a sudden rush of sugar, increasing the amount of insulin your liver has to cope with. The liver squeezes and this is where you feel the real pain – the stitch.
Action: you should not run through a stitch. The pain will mean that you are not able to maintain a proper body shape and might cause you to injure yourself in another way. It is simply a case of stopping and waiting for the pain to subside.
Get fitter players with no extra effort

How? A good night of sleep is vital to a football player’s physical and mental preparation for a game.
Although the amount of time that your players spend on fitness training and honing their basic skills is essential to improving performance, science and research shows that there is no substitute for a good nights’ sleep.
You might not think this is the role of a coach, but if your players seem to lack a healthy sleeping pattern, you need to advise them on the best way to address the problem if they want to be a professional team.
For good sleep and body recuperation you need total quiet, a dark, cool and well ventilated room, and a good-sized bed.
The strength benefits of sleep

Deep sleep is not solely associated with rest, as it also replenishes and strengthens joints, bones and muscles through the release of growth hormones. Use this point to promote the physical benefits of sleep to your players. It is probably the simplest and most straight forward thing you can tell them that will result in a marked improvement in performance.
Research has shown that sleep deprivation can lead to an 11% reduction in performance that is visible through a variety of symptoms:
Slow reactions
• Less energy and lower performance levels
• Can’t be bothered attitude
• Reduced short-term memory

• Make sure players relax before bed. They should avoid anything that is mentally or physically exertive beforehand.
• Encourage them to listen to what their body is saying and go to bed when they actually feel tired.
• Advise using fewer or more pillows to find better comfort. Maybe a different bed with softer or harder mattress will promote better sleep.
• Eating foods such as beans, peas, nuts, vegetables and cereals can improve sleep.
• Get them to consider going to bed an hour earlier before a match.
• Promoting sleep. A hot or cold shower or bath before bed can help as changing body temperature shortly before bed can lead to better sleep.


• Avoid huge meals mid evening, as leaving it too late to take food on board can lead to a bloated stomach. This is the last thing a player needs in preparation for bedtime.
• Neither should they go to bed hungry, particularly after training, so eat something light as a hungry stomach can disrupt sleep.
• Players shouldn’t drink tea or coffee past mid afternoon.
• They shouldn’t consume alcohol before bed before a match. You’re going to find it hard to stop your adult players from drinking at all, but limiting their intake to moderate amounts can help. Although alcohol can make players feel drowsy, it doesn’t necessarily lead to a peaceful sleep.


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