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.