Off the pitch with Kirsty Barton
We caught up with professional footballer, Kirsty Barton, (Brighton & Hove Albion WFC), to find out what it takes to play at the highest level, the Women’s Super League, and whether there’s hope for us yet…. although probably not!
She started her career when she was just 11 years old, playing the Sunday League. Shortly after she was scouted for Chelsea Women’s Academy where she played for 7 years before moving to Brighton and Hove Albion WFC. Nearly a decade later, she is their longest standing player, and is still at the top of her game and looking forward to the season ahead.
So what is the secret to 16 years in the game with no signs of slowing down… we decided to find out!
⚽ So Kirsty, football is such an intense, fast paced sport. What does it take to make sure you can perform at your best on match day?
Well I generally train 5 times a week and each session can last up to 2 hours so that really helps to build up the stamina needed for the games.
⚽ Yeah, we bet it does! I don’t think we’d last 2 minutes let alone 2 hours…
(She laughs) It isn’t all about intense training though. I make sure I have gym days and sessions where I just focus on injury prevention. My training programmes change too depending on whether it’s pre-season or the actual season.
⚽ We’re still not convinced, we’d be up to scratch. What’s the difference between your pre-season and season training?
Pre-season is definitely the more intense of the two. It’s physically demanding because you’re prepping for the games to come. During the season of course you still need to train but you have to be careful not to overdo it as there’s less time to recover between matches.
⚽ Yes, we can imagine you need to recover after all the training, not to mention 90 minutes on the pitch! What’s your day to day recovery regime like?
It varies to be honest but generally I stretch loads, foam roll, flush my legs by doing 20 minutes on the bike, have ice baths (not the best bit) and hot baths with Epsom Salt. .
⚽ How often do you have an Epsom Salt bath?
I love Epsom Salt so as much as I can really. On average I would say 3 times a week – it’s a big part of my recovery as it really relaxes my muscles. So I usually have a hot bath with lots of Epsom Salt (I do use quite a lot) to make sure my muscles are fully relaxed and ready for the training or game the next day. I also find it really improves my sleep. Probably because I’m so relaxed by the time I get into bed so it’s great for that too.
⚽ Absolutely, we may be a little bias but Epsom Salt is a wonderful muscle relaxant and our Epsom Salt crystals are 100% organic too so your muscles get the full benefit of the natural magnesium…
Definitely! I have to say, your salts are amazing. They don’t feel as rough as others I’ve used and they are great on my skin as I have eczema; so they work wonders for my body inside and out.
For my muscles, I always have an Epsom salt bath the night before a match – without fail. It really helps to make sure they are at their best for the game. And if I any muscle soreness or muscle strains – Epsom Salt is the answer.
⚽ Ouch! Muscle strain sounds painful. How long does it take to get over that?
It all depends on how bad the strain is so I just do everything I can to treat it as soon as possible like having sessions with my physio and using loads of Epsom Salt to help speed up the recovery. This is why the prevention stretching is so important because the last thing you want during the season is to get an injury.
⚽ That must be awful to be out of the game, after all the training that has gone into preparing for the matches.
It’s not great to be honest but as with any sport, injury is inevitable part of the job. Unfortunately, like many footballers, I have suffered an ACL injury before and that was tough as I was out for about a year. It wasn’t easy but you do come back from these things and I do think it’s made me stronger.
⚽ Oh no! We’re sorry to hear that but so pleased you’re back on the pitch now and better than ever! Having had the highs and the lows, and come back from a tough injury, what would be your advice to other footballers out there?
Training, training, training is not going to make you the best! Of course, it’s super important but recovery is a massive part of your success. If you don’t recover well you’ll never be able to improve. It’s something I learnt throughout my career and speaking from experience it really is the key to being your best and performing on the pitch!
The season starts again in August and we can’t wait to see Kirsty and her team in action.
Check out more about Kirsty’s recovery regime and what she had to say about our Newton Wood Epsom Salts….