The use of recovery modalities by elite South African team athletes
Athletes competing at the highest level, should optimally balance training and competition stress with adequate recovery. However, athletes are not always aware of the available recovery options. This study investigated the recovery modalities currently used by elite South African sports persons. Research questions focused on types and frequency of recovery strategies used by players from four different sport codes (hockey, netball, rugby and soccer), as well as from different levels of participation. A total of 890 elite South African team sport players (507 males; 383 females) completed a questionnaire, specifically designed for the study. Results showed that recovery modalities are used to varying degrees by players from the four different sport codes, as well as from different levels of participation. The postmatch recovery modality used the most by hockey, netball and soccer players was an active cool-down. Rugby players used a strategy for rehydration the most. The frequency of using an active cool-down and rehydration was not affected by level of participation. There seems to be an increased need for player and coach education regarding recovery modalities.
Key words: Recovery modalities; Elite team athletes; Hockey; Netball; Rugby; Soccer