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J Sports Sci. 2011 Jan;29(1):1-6. doi: 10.1080/02640414.2010.512640.

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

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South Australian Sports Institute, Kidman Park, SA, Australia.


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.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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