Fatigue is no foe with recovery strategies

Man looking fatigued
Author:  Angela Calder, Applied Sports Knowledge
Issue: Volume 8 Number 1

Fatigue is not something that officials should simply accept as part and parcel of what they do. It is possible — and necessary — to stay one step ahead and manage fatigue proactively. How well you can do this is in a large part responsible for determining whether you’re able to stay at your best during extended competition periods.

The process of recognising triggers for fatigue and identifying the best strategies for recovery should be planned and rehearsed carefully beforehand. Here are some steps that will assist you.

Performance planning: identify and manage your fatigue

  • Use a weekly diary to identify all your competition times, including time required for any pre-event warm-ups, personal training, debriefing sessions or other meetings.
  • Categorise the types of fatigue you will experience from your work and stress — whether it is physical, nutritional, psychological or environmental.
  • Manage your sleep carefully: the timing and quality is very important. If you are away from home, take your own pillow.
  • Practise beforehand and know the how, what and when of different recovery facilities and strategies. For example, the use of spas and pools, your own psychological recovery needs, etc.
  • Employ self-monitoring strategies each day. For example, check for hydration, fatigue levels and enjoyment.
  • Rehearse your competition plan beforehand.

Local environment and competition venues: reconnaissance

  • Prepare for fatigue from wind, cold, rain, heat, pollution, noise, etc.
  • Check the availability of recovery facilities at or near the competition and accommodation venues.
  • Note any limitation of access to these facilities, such as travel time, other users, etc.

Facilities and techniques to minimise physical fatigue: practise using these beforehand

  • Shower, spa, plunge pool, sauna, swimming pool, sea, flotation tank.
  • Quiet areas with access to TV and audio equipment.
  • Massage: planning, timing, access, familiarisation of practitioners’ techniques.
  • Time-out/down time from competition — plan how to manage this and what is available locally, for example: tourist sites, cinemas, shopping, etc.

Nutritional strategies: plan the type of fluid and fuel you need and when to have it

  • Plan your fluid and fuel strategies for your pre-performance, performance and post-performance needs. This includes the types of food, drink and planned meal and snack times.
  • Identify access to, and types of, fluid and food that will be available.

Psychological strategies: manage your emotions and learn to switch-off

  • Minimise and manage external pressures and stresses: media, players, coaches, etc.
  • Plan and rehearse strategies for staying in control of your emotions during events.
  • Train to switch-off mentally after competition.
  • Identify in advance coping strategies for dealing with unforseen stress, for example, personal trauma, injury, disappointment with performances, etc.
  • Plan how to manage the elements of celebrations including alcohol, media, sponsors, family, etc.

No results were found