A number of intermittent team sports require that two consecutive periods of play (lasting for ~30?45 min) are separated by a 10?20 min half-time break. The half-time practices employed by team-sports players generally include returning to the changing rooms, temporarily relaxing from the cognitive and physical demands of the first half, rehydration and re-fuelling strategies, addressing injury or equipment concerns, and receiving tactical instruction and coach feedback. However, the typically passive nature of these actions has been associated with physiological changes that impair performance during the second half. Both physical and cognitive performances have been found to decline in the initial stages of subsequent exercise that follows half-time. An increased risk of injury has also been observed during this period. Therefore, half-time provides sports scientists and strength and conditioning coaches with an opportunity to optimise second-half performance. An overview of strategies thought to benefit team-sports athletes is presented; specifically, the efficacy of heat maintenance strategies (including passive and active methods), post-activation potentiation, hormonal priming, and modified hydro-nutritional practices are discussed. A theoretical model of applying these strategies in a manner that compliments current practice is also offered.
- sports medicine