Graham took over at the wheel yesterday leaving me free to read the sports pages of the Guardian. Here, my sense of who Theo Walcott might be was enhanced somewhat as, in the photograph accompanying the player’s baptism of fire to the Premiership, he was pictured displaying a dog-tag in his hand for his late pet Gypsy.
Elsewhere I learned that Alan Shearer has introduced punctuality, shared mealtimes and the ice-bath to the Newcastle United playing staff. We discussed the purpose of the ice bath; none of us knew what it was. Below follows the science. The secret element of the new Shearer regime that the Guardian report neglected to mention was how he’d coached his players to dive to the ground as if hit by a sniper’s bullet at even the slightest approach from an opposition player.
By Craig Smith, Lancashire CCC physiotherapist
In simple terms, it’s about helping the muscles, tendons, bones, nerves and all the different tissues used in sport recover from their workout. Just like Michael Schumacher’s car needs a complete overhaul with new parts and tyres after a Formula One race, the body needs to service itself and its parts for the next day, next race or next match.
The body does this with the help of the blood vessels that bring oxygen to the tissues and remove the waste products of exercise, the most common being lactic acid. Too much lactic acid build up can cause the muscles to function poorly and over a long period of time feelings of fatigue, heavy legs and general tiredness can set in.
So how do ice baths help to boost the body’s recovery processes and prevent injury? When you get into an ice bath for five to 10 minutes, the icy cold water causes your blood vessels to tighten and drains the blood out of your legs. After 10 minutes your legs feel cold and numb. When you get out of the bath, the legs fill up with ‘new’ blood that invigorates his muscles with oxygen to help the cells function better.