Effect of post-match cold-water immersion on subsequent match running performance in junior soccer players during tournament play

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Journal Article
Journal of Sports Sciences, 2011, 29 (1), pp. 1 - 6
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In this study, we investigated the effects of two hydrotherapy interventions on match running performance and perceptual measures of fatigue and recovery during a 4-day soccer tournament. Twenty male junior soccer players were assigned to one of two treatment groups and undertook either cold-water immersion (5 × 1 min at 10°C) or thermoneutral water immersion (5 × 1 min at 34°C) after each match. High-intensity running distance (> 15 km · h-1) and total distance covered, time spent in low (<80% maximum heart rate), moderate (80-90% maximum heart rate), and high (>90% maximum heart rate) heart rate zones, and rating of perceived exertion (RPE) were recorded for each match. Perceptions of general fatigue and leg soreness were recorded approximately 22 h after each match. There were decreases in both groups across the 4-day tournament for high-intensity running distance (P=0.006, Cohen's d=0.63), total distance run (P < 0.001, d=0.90), time in high heart rate zone (P=0.003, d=0.90), and match RPE (P=0.012, d=0.52). Cold-water immersion was more effective than thermoneutral immersion for reducing the perception of leg soreness (P=0.004, d=-0.92) and general fatigue (P=0.007, d=-0.91), ameliorating the decrement in total distance run (P=0.001, d=0.55), and maintaining time in the moderate heart rate zone (P=0.01, d=1.06). In conclusion, cold-water immersion mediates the perceptions of fatigue and recovery and enhances the restoration of some match-related performance measures during a 4-day tournament. © 2011 Taylor & Francis.
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