Practical Guidance to Optimize Postmatch Recovery in Elite Male and Female Soccer: A Review


Background: Several recovery methods have been proposed to optimize postmatch recovery in elite soccer. However, practical guidance for the implementation of recovery methods that somehow confer benefits on the recovery process immediately postmatch (MD), 1 day postmatch (MD + 1), and 2 days postmatch (MD + 2) is lacking.

Purpose: This article aimed to review the existing literature and provide a practical guide for sports scientists, coaches, clinicians, and players concerning implementing the most-used recovery methods after male and female soccer matches. 

Methods: For this purpose, we first presented a general 5-level recovery model that divides the recovery methods according to their relevance in recovery, based on their effectiveness in recovery, frequency of use, and reported detrimental effects. In addition, practical recommendations were provided for implementing each recovery method following two days post-match according to the recovery of various parameters (i.e., physical, physiologic, and perceptual) and physiologic and psychosocial assumptions.

Conclusions: It was concluded that the application of recovery methods should be prioritized, periodized, and individualized over the recovery period postmatch. In addition, some recovery methods with limited effectiveness in postmatch recovery should be recommended based on physiologic assumptions and potential psychosocial benefits.

Article published in the Strength & Conditioning Journal on 15th November, 2023.