As the summer tournament season begins to heat up, the frequency of games in a short period of time can become a concern. Athletes may play multiple games on the same day or weekend, which can take a toll on a player’s body, causing fatigue and soreness, leading to decreased performance and increased injury risk. A quality training program includes stretching and cool-down exercises at the end of the session to decrease muscle soreness and improve mobility, but many athletes do not perform these exercises following practices or games. Leaving these recovery techniques can sometimes lead to increased muscle soreness and limited mobility.

A simple program following practices and games that include cool-down exercises, massage, and mobility movements, as well as proper nutrition, can lead to quicker recovery time so the athlete is better prepared for the next event. This program does not have to take a long time or need a lot of equipment; a quality routine can be done in approximately 15 minutes, and all that is needed is some space and a foam roller, lacrosse ball, or other self-massage equipment.

The following is a sample program of what can be done following a game or practice:

  • 5-minute light jog to cool down.

  • Using a foam roll or lacrosse ball, roll back and forth 10 times each way, targeting the following muscle groups: glutes, quadriceps, hip flexors, calves, and groin.

  • Static stretching of 15-30 seconds on each side of the following muscle groups: glutes, hamstrings, groins, hip flexors, and calves.

  • Ingest some sort of protein source, such as a shake or bar that contains approximately 200-300 calories and 15-25g of protein within 30 minutes of the end of the activity. These numbers will vary based on the size of the athlete.

  • Eat a well-balanced meal within two hours of the activity.


Chris Phillips is an Athletic Trainer and Strength and Conditioning Specialist with over 30 years of experience in professional sports. Chris is the owner of Compete Sports Performance and Rehab with three locations in Orange County, CA. He can be reached at