Sleep Right, Play Right! A New Series From TTi Sports Science Manager, Ed Shone

January 2nd 2019

Ed Shone, TTi Sports Scientist will be sharing a series of articles throughout the year with the objective of helping TTi players succeed on and off the field.

“Sleep is such an important factor for players at all levels, a rested player is always going to be successful” Said Sporting Director, Lee Cullip “Ed’s articles will help give non-specific advice to players in order to help them through the process off the field - the place that can give you most edge” Cullip concluded.

The schedules of youth soccer players and their families are becoming increasingly crowded. Activities such as practice, games, school work, extracurricular activities, social lives, family time & “being a kid” all need to be taken into account, not to mention the travel involved in the modern youth soccer landscape.  

One area though that is often overlooked is the importance of sleep on youth development.  A good night’s sleep can be the difference between a good and great game, a productive practice or not.

Recent research into sleep patterns has shown that it takes longer for a soccer player to fall asleep and that adolescent players who got more than 8 hours of sleep per night had a reduced risk of injury and acute illness. 

Parents and coaches need to be aware of how important sleep is to a young player.  A tired player makes more mistakes (Technically, tactically and decision making wise), is more likely to get injured and miss out on key development phases and more likely to drop out of playing all together if they are no longer enjoying the game.

Some strategies for improving sleep:

-      A regular schedule (not only getting 8 hours but the same 8 hours!)

-      Taking a warm shower before bed (Has been shown to improve the time to get to sleep and the efficiency of their nights rest)

-      Associating their bedroom with only sleep (no phones, TV!)

-      Napping!

-      Talking to coaches when you feel tired, either physically or mentally or both!

-      Tracking how well you sleep and what might have led to good or bad sleep.


Fullagar, H.H.K., Duffield, R., Skorski, S., Coutts, A.J., Julian, R. & Meyer, T. (2015) Sleep and Recovery in Team Sport: Current sleep related issues facing professional team sport athletes.  International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, 10, 950-957.

Taylor, L., Chrisma, B.C.R., Dascombe, B., Chamari, K. & Fowler, P.M. (2016) The importance of monitoring sleep within adolescent athletes: athletic, academic and health concerns.  Frontiers in Physiology. 

Stracciolini, A., Sugimoto, D. & Howell, D.R. (2017) Injury Prevention in Youth Sports.  Pediatric Annals, 46(3), 99-105.


Lee Cullip