Sports Medicine

, Volume 42, Issue 12, pp 997–1015 | Cite as

Recovery in Soccer

Part I — Post-Match Fatigue and Time Course of Recovery
  • Mathieu Nédélec
  • Alan McCall
  • Chris Carling
  • Franck Legall
  • Serge Berthoin
  • Gregory DupontEmail author
Review Article


In elite soccer, players are frequently required to play consecutive matches interspersed by 3 days and complete physical performance recovery may not be achieved. Incomplete recovery might result in underperformance and injury. During congested schedules, recovery strategies are therefore required to alleviate post-match fatigue, regain performance faster and reduce the risk of injury. This article is Part I of a subsequent companion review and deals with post-match fatigue mechanisms and recovery kinetics of physical performance (sprints, jumps, maximal strength and technical skills), cognitive, subjective and biochemical markers. The companion review will analyse recovery strategies used in contemporary professional soccer. Soccer involves many physically demanding activities including sprinting, changes in running speed, changes of direction, jumps and tackles, as well as technical actions such as dribbling, shooting and passing. These activities lead to a post-match fatigue that is linked to a combination of dehydration, glycogen depletion, muscle damage and mental fatigue. The magnitude of soccer match-induced fatigue, extrinsic factors (i.e. match result, quality of the opponent, match location, playing surface) and/or intrinsic factors (i.e. training status, age, gender, muscle fibre typology), potentially influence the time course of recovery. Recovery in soccer is a complex issue, reinforcing the need for future research to estimate the quantitative importance of fatigue mechanisms and identify influencing factors. Efficient and individualized recovery strategies may consequently be proposed.


Muscle Damage Eccentric Exercise Intraclass Correlation Coefficient Muscle Soreness Mental Fatigue 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



No sources of funding were used to assist in the preparation of this review. The authors have no conflicts of interest that are directly relevant to the content of this review.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mathieu Nédélec
    • 1
    • 2
  • Alan McCall
    • 1
    • 2
  • Chris Carling
    • 2
  • Franck Legall
    • 1
    • 2
  • Serge Berthoin
    • 1
  • Gregory Dupont
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Université Lille Nord de FranceLilleFrance
  2. 2.LOSC Lille Métropole Football ClubCamphin-en-PévèleFrance
  3. 3.Université d’Artois, UFR STAPS, Chemin du marquageLiévenFrance

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