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As peak performance for the elite athlete continues to take
center stage across all athletic endeavors, the balance between training and
recovery has been brought to the forefront. The importance of “recovery” has
become an aspect highly valued in regards to performance. This recovery piece
of performance can only be furthered when the functioning of the elite
athlete’s organism and systems are understood to a higher level. Although this
is a current topic of interest to many, it is commonly applied in a broad
fashion merely with an attempt to cover our bases. If an off-season strength
and conditioning program was approached with this mentality, having no
thoughtful progression or reasoning for its structure, it is likely a coach
would not see tremendous results in performance while also potentially
increasing the likelihood of injury to their athletes. It should also be noted
that any overemphasis of recovery tactics is likely hindering an athlete’s
performance, rather than aiding it. As with most things in life, balance
between stress/training and recovery will determine an athlete’s long-term,
repeated success at an elite level.
are only realized when recovery is applied (adaptation takes place within this
timeframe). However, the timing of this recovery for adaptation is also
imperative to future success (in-season vs. off-season, time of week,
physiological system it is applied to). Common examples of potential poor
timing are provided below:
of recovery methods during off-season training. This may hinder
adaptations realized, ultimately reducing the effectiveness of the program
recovery methods post-practice or game immediately before an off-day. This
could inhibit the body’s ability to recover throughout the season.
recovery methods to a high-extent immediately at the start of the season,
which could lead to reduced ability to recover in the later portions of
The most intriguing “newer”
recovery methods throughout this manual involve that of the neurologic system.
This system serves to provide constant feedback to the body to create spatial
awareness and other basic “mapping” of the body. Although the availability of
recovery techniques are vast, the majority of these recovery tactics can be
placed into one of three categories. These three categories include the
proprioceptive, the visual, and the vestibular systems. Obviously modalities
that target the proprioceptive, or movement, system within the body are widely
utilized as this includes movement strategies and other similar concepts.
However, the visual and vestibular systems are much less understood, let alone
addressed or “recovered”.
methods typically aimed at the proprioceptive system, the pyramid below on the
left, demonstrates the most common approach taken by coaches in regards to
athletic performance. This gives the proprioceptive system the foundational
qualities and focuses on the brain (visual and vestibular) as the final piece
of the performance puzzle. We feel this fits closely to the old school model
that places volume/conditioning as the foundation to speed. Speed is a rare
commodity that should be given the utmost importance in training. When speed is
not available, it is irrelevant how “conditioned” an athlete is, they simply
will not win the races and battles commonly required in athletic competition.
Rather than place
emphasis on the proprioceptive system, we have come to the conclusion that this
pyramid should be flipped, making the vestibular, visual, and other neurology
components the more important aspects in performance. This manual represents
the early stages of a paradigm shift in the approach to recovery methods,
shifting the base of these modalities to the central brain and its critical
aspects of performance and away from the peripheral, proprioceptive system.
Similar to the recent adjustment by many coaches placing a greater emphasis on
high quality training (speed) over volume (conditioning), when power is given
to the brain and neurology is given priority, tremendous results can be rapidly
This manual serves to introduce new concepts and
methods as well as those that are better understood by many. This will continue
to allow recovery to be provided