Postmatch recovery of physical performance and biochemical markers in team ball sports: a systematic review

Steven Doeven, Michel Brink, Koen Lemmink

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background Insufficient postmatch recovery in elite players may cause an increased risk of injuries, illnesses and non-functional over-reaching.
Objective To evaluate postmatch recovery time courses of physical performance and biochemical markers in team ball sport players.
Study design Systematic review.
Data sources PubMed and Web of Science.
Eligibility criteria for selecting studies This systematic review was conducted according to Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and
Meta-Analyses guidelines. The Critical Review Form for Quantitative Studies was used to evaluate quality. Studies were included if they met the following criteria: (1) Original research evaluated players’ physical recovery postmatch;
(2) team/intermittent sports; and (3) at least two postmeasurements were compared with baseline values. Results Twenty-eight studies were eligible. Mean
methodological quality was 11.2±1.11. Most used performance tests and biochemical markers were the countermovement jump test, sprint tests and creatine kinase (CK), cortisol (C) and testosterone (T), respectively.
Summary/conclusions The current evidence demonstrates that underlying mechanisms of muscle recovery are still in progress while performance recovery
is already reached. CK recovery time courses are up to ≥72 hours. Soccer and rugby players need more time to recover for sprint performance, CK and C in comparison to other team ball sports. There are more high-quality studies needed regarding recovery in various team sports and recovery strategies on an individual level should be evaluated. Clinical relevance Ongoing insufficient recovery can be prevented by the use of the presented recovery time courses as specific practical recovery guidelines.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2018


  • team sports
  • regeneration


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