ANTONIO TESSITORE, ROMAIN MEEUSEN, RITA PAGANO, CINZIA BENVENUTI, MONICA TIBERI, AND LAURA CAPRANICA.
Department of Human Movement and Sport Science, University Foro Italico, Rome, Italy; Vrije University of Brussels, Brussels, Belgium; Center for Preventive Medicine, Azienda Sanitaria Unica Regionale Marche, Ancona, Italy.
Tessitore, A, Meeusen, R, Pagano, R, Benvenuti, C, Tiberi, M, and Capranica, L. Effectiveness of active versus passive recovery strategies after futsal games. J Strength Cond Res 22(5): 1402–1412, 2008—This study aimed to investigate the effects of immediate postgame recovery interventions (seated rest, supine electrostimulation, low-intensity land exercises, and water exercises) on anaerobic performance (countermovement jump [CMJ], bounce jumping, 10-m sprint), hormones (salivary cortisol, urinary catecholamines), and subjective ratings (rate of perceived exertion [RPE], leg muscle pain, Questionnaire of Recovery Stress for Athletes [RestQ Sport], 10-point Likert scale), and hours of sleep of futsal players. Heart rate (HR), blood lactate, and RPE were used to evaluate the intensity of 4 futsal games in 10 players using a crossover design (P<0.05), randomly allocating athletes to 1 of the 4 recovery interventions at the end of each game. No significant difference emerged between HR, blood lactate, RPE, and level of hydration of the games. A significant difference (P<0.001) between games emerged for total urinary catecholamines, with an increase from the first to the second game and a gradual reduction up to the fourth game. After the game, significant reductions in CMJ (P<0.001) and 10-m sprints (P<0.05) emerged. No significant difference was found between recovery interventions for anaerobic performances, hormones, muscle pain, and RestQ Sport. Even though a well-balanced diet, rehydration, and controlled lifestyle might represent a sufficient recovery intervention in young elite athletes, the players perceived significantly increased benefit
(P < 0.01) from the electrostimulation (7.8 6 1.4 points) and water exercises (7.6 6 2.1 points) compared to dry exercises (6.6 6 1.8 points) and seated rest (5.2 6 0.8 points.), which might improve their attitude toward playing. To induce progressive hormonal adaptation to the high exercise load of multiple games, in the last 2 weeks of the preseason, coaches should organize friendly games at a level similar to that of the competitive season.
More than 12 million players in more than 100 countries play futsal, the official form of indoor soccer approved by the Fe ́de ́ration Internationale de Football Association (17). Two teams, consisting of five players, one of whom is the goalkeeper, play futsal games on a 38–42 3 18–25-m pitch. Official futsal games consist of two 20-minute clock time (i.e., excluding breaks in play) halves, so that a game may extend to 70–80 minutes (12). In Italy, university team players might play 2 games on a weekly basis (for their institution at mid-week and for their club on weekends). Such an unrelenting game schedule is also common during international tournaments and has been hypothesized to determine the players’ underperformance and burnout (36). Despite the growing popularity of futsal, there is scant information regarding the physical load imposed on players during games. In fact, compared to soccer, the reduced dimensions of the pitch require players to perform frequent bouts of high-intensity activity with limited rest periods that are not sufficient for full recovery (3,12). Considering that the recovery process is strictly related to the previous exercise stress (6), an optimal balance between exercise load and recovery is required to maintain a high physical performance. Thus, coaches need to adopt effective recovery strategies to preserve the athlete’s best performances throughout their competitive season.