About this Article
“Supplements for Soccer Players” is an opinion piece written by a guest author. It in no way reflects the opinion of Complete Soccer Guide. That said, it presents an important topic regarding supplements and their role in our game. I believe the analysis is thoughtful irrespective of where you may or may not stand on the benefit of the supplements listed. I would love to get your opinion in the comments below.
Can Supplements Help Prevent Injury and Aid in Recovery?
A soccer match poses three times more injury risk for players than in practice. On average, players experience 16.9 injuries per match as compared to 5.1 injuries per practice, per 1000 players, as reported by Datalys Center for Sports Injuries. Additionally, soccer players are at a unique risk of muscle strain injury compared to other athletes because of the quick direction change movements required of soccer athletes. By incorporating natural, wholesome supplements to their diet, soccer players can take steps on their own part to prevent the likelihood of injuries or bounce back to a quicker recovery in the event of one.
Navigating the Market
In the UK, the market for dietary vitamins and supplements was valued at £431 million in 2016, and that number is only continuing to grow (Optimum Nutrition). Both non-athletes and athletes alike need to be well informed on what they’re taking and its use for the body. There are many supplements on the market that use artificial chemicals to achieve the same result as a natural product. Reading labels and doing research is one such way to be well-informed on what you are ingesting. Many of these scam ingredients are marketed to support your health, but unfortunately do quite the opposite. One such way to avoid these scams is to buy directly from trusted consumers, avoid knock-offs or cheap brands, and consume products manufactured from areas such as the US or Europe that have strong food safety legislation in place.
Boost Your Body’s Performance
There are many natural supplements, approved by doctors, to prepare the body for physical training and endurance. For example, nitrate, a chemical produced in small amounts in the body, helps lower oxygen consumption during strenuous activity, according to Gatorade Sports Science Institute. In addition, nitrate helps regulate blood flow and eases contractions of muscles during exercise, which is essential for soccer players. One perk of nitrate is that it naturally occurs in foods (like leafy greens and beetroot) and needs no tablet or pill to supplement your diet.
Creatine, which can be found in fish and red meat or can be taken in pill or powder form, also boosts athletic performance. Soccer players often sprint across the field and creatine helps aid the body in this task. Creatine is considered by many to be the top sports supplement for all athletes. Athletes experience a boost in muscle performance and strength when supplementing creatine in their diet.
One simple supplement that boost pre and post-training is caffeine. Considered by many to only benefit before matches or training, caffeine also aids in post-training muscle recovery when taken in small doses (like tea or coffee), with a carbohydrate rich meal. It helps remarkably restore muscle glycogen level boosting a fast bounce back between matches.
Athletes can source beneficial supplements through simple incorporations, like beetroot juice, caffeine, or creatine powder into their diet. These natural supplements, whether in food or tablet form, help aid the body in performance, endurance and recovery.