The coaching staff will monitor your training during official practices. It is your responsibility to take care of yourself outside of practice time and during the off-season. You have to decide your own level of commitment to your performances and to the goals of the team. Always keep in mind your own personal goals and the goals of the team when you are making decisions.
Your body cannot recover – and definitely cannot build – if you do not get sufficient rest. This is a significant challenge for most college students! In order to maintain good sleeping habits, you must plan your time carefully. Stay on top of your school work, start papers and projects early, and try to be consistent with your bed time and wake-up time.
Your mom nagged you about eating your vegetables…she was right! Along with sufficient rest, your body must have sufficient nutrients to repair and build muscle tissue and red blood cells. Nutrient deficiencies can lead to symptoms of overtraining (lack of enthusiasm, diminishing performance levels, etc.) and they can leave you susceptible to illness. Make sure that you are eating a balanced diet that provides enough calories for GROWTH. As very active young adults, your caloric needs are far above the American “norm”. Most of you will be starving your bodies and inhibiting proper adaptation on 2000 calories a day. If you are not sure about the quality of your diet, keep a two-day log that includes what, how much, and when you ate. Try to estimate the number of total calories and calories from fat, protein, and carbohydrates. Look at the variety of foods you are eating to help determine if there may be any vitamin or mineral deficiencies. Talk with your coaches and training staff for more assistance.
At every stage of life, stress becomes more prevalent and more intense. We must continually learn new ways to manage these stress loads. The stress of college is a significant step above that which you experienced in high school. Do not be afraid to ask for help or advice in dealing with new challenges in your life. Your veteran teammates have probably been through most of what you are experiencing and may be able to offer some guidance. Your coaches have also been through the rigors of college and have watched hundreds of others go through the process, so we may be able to answer some of your questions and offer some advice that can help you. The right kind of stress, channeled properly, is what allows us to compete and perform at ever-higher levels. It is important that you learn to manage your stress load so that you are able to perform at your highest level.
An established routine can help you manage rest, diet, and stress. This routine should be maintained as much as possible through competitions—the morning of a meet is not a wise time to try new foods, bedtimes, or emotional environments.