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Dec 06, 2011   |  4:17PM AET

The busiest time of year

The busiest time of year

Three games in a week is always difficult, thus preparation and recovery is more important than ever.

This week has been busy starting with our game against Brisbane, mid week against Perth and away to Gold Coast on Sunday.

Three games in a week is always difficult, thus preparation and recovery is more important than ever. At Sydney FC we have a strong focus on recovery and at the core of this is a recovery log that the players maintain.

A recovery log is set in place primarily as an education tool for players so they understand what enhances the regeneration process. This year we have attached a points system to this log and players are required to get at least 100 points/week to ensure they are getting sufficient recovery.

There are a number of areas of recovery with the most important being efficient sleep and sound nutrition. Too often people look towards more technical methods of recovery such as ice baths and muscle stimulation without first getting the basics right.

We monitor our players sleep closely getting subjective scores on quality and also number of hours slept. If there are issues with sleep we have further investigation so we can improve this.

I am presently trialling an excellent product called ZEO, which is cost efficient and gives sound data for us to make positive adjustments. If we notice continuing issues we refer our players to a sleep clinic to get to the base of the problem.

Nutrition or effective nutrition is also vital for recovery and I am delighted to be working with some great dieticians from to ensure our players are maximising their nutritional intake.

Hydration is a major issue in performance and recovery and again too easily overlooked. We are obsessive about the quantity of fluid our players consume and at least 2-3 times/week we analyse their hydration status.

Massage is what I would term a stage 2-recovery method and during this week players have had at least 2 massages. Massage benefits most players not only physiologically but the relaxation associated with massage also helps psychological recovery.

We are fortunate to have a very good group of therapists to work with our team under the leadership of Mike Manoukian our head massage therapist.

Players will also have ice baths with this being compulsory after all games and optional after training sessions. Ice baths are a stage 3 recovery method and are less effective if you are not getting the basics right.

We also include Yoga in the regeneration process and players are also advised to wear compression garments post games. We are also fortunate to have a great supplement supplier and we will use specific supplements to help this restorative process.

Recovery is vital to maximise performance and in a busy week with multiple games and travel it is very high on our agenda. The key point is that you must get the basics right first (sleep and nutrition) before looking at more technical methods (ice baths, compression garments etc).

Sleep is probably the most underrated aspect of human performance but at Sydney FC we put it right at the top.