Trouble With Cramping?
How frustrating is it when you are having a great match and all of a sudden you feel a cramp. It's knowing that at any point a debilitating cramp can halt the progress you are having in a match. These are some of the fears players have when preparing for a huge match that could change your life. I remember before really big games I would have restless nights sleep because I was worried of something like a cramp stopping me from playing well or playing at all.
Now cramps are not 100 percent avoidable. You could do everything right, drink the proper amount of liquids, stretch and get the rest you need then still get a cramp when you least expect it. This shouldn't discourage you but it's the reality of being an athlete and pushing your body constantly to its limits. It's bound to happen, but you can take steps to make sure it happens at a less frequent rate.
Get in your Electrolytes
The electrolyte that is most needed is sodium. Found as sodium chloride in table salt. We lose more sodium in sweat than the other electrolytes. Both water and sodium is lost when we sweat. Replacement of water without sodium can lead to dangerously low sodium levels called Hyponatremia. Cramps occur when the concentration of sodium in the blood decreases. Consuming sports drinks and other athletic supplements such as protein bars before and after any training session or match will decrease your chances of falling victim to a cramp.
Carbohydrate depletion will also lead to muscle cramps as well. Carbs are the primary fuel used during strenuous exercise. There are a huge amount of carbohydrate stored as glycogen in our muscles to provide the energy to train at a high level. Once that store of glycogen has been depleted, we are at high risk for muscle cramps.
There has only been a hand full of times that I had to leave a match because of a cramp. I attributed this to overuse and over training without putting in the right amount of fuel in my body. I had a simple routine that I followed and it helped me reduce the amounts of cramps I had during a match.
3. Ice bath after every hard training session and match
4.Stretch / foam roll