Recover, prepare, play
Fremantle’s preparation for this Sunday’s match against Port Adelaide at Patersons Stadium began moments after the final siren sounded at Gold Coast’s Metricon Stadium last Saturday.
The importance of recovery was paramount considering a one hour bus ride to Brisbane Airport to catch a five-and-a-half-hour flight home awaited the team.
To speed up the recovery process, Freo’s players received a series of quick-flush massages and ice baths in the change rooms after the game, along with plenty of stretching and fluid replenishment in preparation for the long trip home.
Sports science manager Jason Weber said following these protocols was vital to aid recovery after a game.
“Flush massages assist the body in re-circulating blood and waste products that have pooled in the peripheral musculature following extreme levels of endurance activity,” he said.
“Ice baths have several purposes. They cause a constriction of peripheral blood vessels which assists the return of blood to the heart.
“They also calm the neuromuscular system which may be overactive following exhaustive activity and the cold contributes to reducing the inflammatory process, which is very active following heavy contact activities.”
Weber said re-fuelling the tired players through food and a continuous intake of fluids was also important.
“Fluids allow the body to re-hydrate and delivers nutrients that are critical to commencing the muscle repair process,” he said.
“The bulk component of dietary intake post-game is delivered via whole foods where possible, which is a combination of non-processed carbohydrates and proteins.
“Most frequently, this is in the form of low-fat pizzas and sandwiches which are logistically easier to manage on bus and plane trips.”
To help alleviate the effects of flying, the players wear compression tights on the plane, have access to ice machines and stay active throughout the flight.
“During flights, the players get up and move around every 30-40 minutes, completing stretches and low level strength activities designed to maintain joint range-of-motion and prevent blood pooling in the periphery.”
The option to stay overnight in Brisbane and fly back to Perth on Sunday morning was available to the club, but forward Chris Mayne said that meant compromising the players’ routines.
“It gives us an extra day to prepare for next week’s game,” he said.
“Most of us struggle to sleep after a game as it is, so the thought process behind flying straight after the game is to get back home and get straight back into recovery and routine.
“Players can get treatment straight away for any niggles, and that gives us a better chance to get up for next week’s game.”