Team sport athletes’ perceptions and use of recovery strategies: a mixed-methods survey study

Crowther, Fiona, Sealey, Rebecca, Crowe, Melissa, Edwards, Andrew, and Halson, Shona (2017) Team sport athletes’ perceptions and use of recovery strategies: a mixed-methods survey study. BMC Sports Science, Medicine and Rehabilitation, 9 (6). pp. 1-10.

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Background: A variety of recovery strategies are used by athletes, although there is currently no research that investigates perceptions and usage of recovery by different competition levels of team sport athletes.

Methods: The recovery techniques used by team sport athletes of different competition levels was investigated by survey. Specifically this study investigated if, when, why and how the following recovery strategies were used: active land-based recovery (ALB), active water-based recovery (AWB), stretching (STR), cold water immersion (CWI) and contrast water therapy (CWT).

Results: Three hundred and thirty-one athletes were surveyed. Fifty-seven percent were found to utilise one or more recovery strategies. Stretching was rated the most effective recovery strategy (4.4/5) with ALB considered the least effective by its users (3.6/5). The water immersion strategies were considered effective/ineffective mainly due to psychological reasons; in contrast STR and ALB were considered to be effective/ineffective mainly due to physical reasons.

Conclusions: This study demonstrates that athletes may not be aware of the specific effects that a recovery strategy has upon their physical recovery and thus athlete and coach recovery education is encouraged. This study also provides new information on the prevalence of different recovery strategies and contextual information that may be useful to inform best practice among coaches and athletes.

Item ID: 47458
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2052-1847
Keywords: cold water immersion, contrast water therapy, stretching/flexibility, active recovery
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© The Author(s). 2017. Open Access. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

Date Deposited: 27 Feb 2017 22:06
FoR Codes: 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4207 Sports science and exercise > 420702 Exercise physiology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9501 Arts and Leisure > 950102 Organised Sports @ 100%
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