Thursday, October 2, 2014

Things I Wish I Would Have Known... (Part 1 of 2)

High School - Long Jump
Andy and I both coach high school athletes.  I am the head volleyball coach, and he is the head Track & Field coach (and I his sole assistant coach).  We had the high school athletic experience, but we also had the experience of college athletics.  Since then, I also have had the continued experience of post-collegiate competition.  These athletic experiences have taught us a lot.  When we look back at our high school sporting memories, we shake our heads a bit at ourselves.  Hindsight shows us just how clueless we were, and working with high school athletes today, we are continually reminded of this.  I think Andy and I both wish at times that we could take our level of experience and knowledge and be able to go back and apply it to our former teenage selves – and kick a lot of butt in the process.  While we can’t do that, we do strive to teach the student-athletes that we work with much of the knowledge we wish we could go back and teach ourselves.  Here I’d like to share some of our take-aways:
1)     What you think is hard, isn’t really all that hard.  It’s all relative.  If I had to do college workouts when I was in high school, I’d have started to learn what hard work really looks like when it comes to training.  It took me 3-5 college years to acclimate to the college level of training, but the rewards were phenomenal.  Somewhere amongst those college years, I actually became a real athlete.  Now a lot of my training is a lot longer in duration, but it can still be super intense.  I have learned to dig deep and suffer like I never have before.
2)     Lifting will turn you into a beast.  I mean this in a good way.  It can really transform the type of athlete you are and take you to a whole different level of athleticism.  The benefits of a good, consistent weight training program are immense and should not be overlooked.
3)     Sleep has ALWAYS been important to me. Even in college, when it was bedtime, I just went to bed.  I never pulled a single all-nighter.  However, some athletes do not understand just how important sleep is in the recovery process and getting the body ready for the next training session.  Having a kid, whether newborn or sick, makes one really realize how much of a difference sleep makes.  Make sleep a priority. 
4)     Nutrition.  While I know proper nutrition is important, I didn’t know how big of an effect proper fueling and refueling could have.  Proper fueling gets your body optimally primed to train and compete.  Proper refueling helps your body to not only fully reap the benefits of your workout, but it also aids your body in rebuilding and repairing so you can recover faster and be better prepared for the next training session.  I grew up on a dairy farm, but since we got our milk straight from the bulk tank, we didn’t ever buy chocolate milk or drink much of it (except at school where it was available).  Fortunately, I married young to a man whose second love is chocolate milk, and it has since been a staple in our house.  Chocolate milk is being marketed as a top-of-the-line recovery beverage because of its ideal ratio of carbohydrates to protein.  The carbs refuel your body, and protein repairs and rebuilds muscles.  On top of that, chocolate milk also provides calcium, potassium, sodium and magnesium.  Some endurance athletes consume salt tablets or take magnesium supplements (to increase energy and endurance), but with chocolate milk, you get both.  Many athletes (including me still), tend to eat a lot of bananas for the potassium to help prevent fatigue and muscle cramping.  Calcium is also important to build and maintain strong, dense bones.  With chocolate milk, you get the benefits of all of these elements – in one place!  It doesn’t get any easier (or tastier!) than that.
Definitely High School... much to learn!

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