Here are the top things I fell victim to during my years of preseason training, and the reality behind them.
MYTH: I’m training so much I can eat whatever I want!
REALITY: If you’re an offensive lineman, or trying to gain some serious weight, then by all means eat whatever is in sight. However, for the majority of athletes looking to maximize the most of preseason, one of the biggest reasons behind success will be nutrition.
Due to the fact that you are slaying through calories through intensive training, you will obviously need to eat a substantial amount of food to maintain the right level of intensity. That doesn’t mean junk food, doesn’t mean fast food, doesn’t mean endless buffet. (Although…buffets are pretty hard to turn down.) If I’m deep into training, I tend to look at food as fuel, and whatever I put in my body will directly reflect how I perform. Many professional athletes will attest to this mantra.
I rely heavily on trial and error and so can you. Which proteins, which carbs respond best to your specific body? I always seem to make a reference to nutrition to you guys because no matter how hard you train, or how often, you can’t out-train a bad diet. Eat often, eat when you’re hungry, but keep it clean and thank me later.
MYTH: Holy cow, I’m so sore, I can’t possibly train again!
REALITY: It sucks…but you can still train. Okay, there is a huge difference between training with an injury, and training while being really sore. Sometimes the two can be confused. You might feel like you’re hamstring is pulled–trust me, I’ve been there. Literally, I told strength coaches I pulled my hamstring even though it wasn’t. In reality, it’s just sore as Hell. Moving around will actually help.
I know you’re thinking, Steffi, I have to grab onto the bathroom railing just to sit down to use the restroom, you think it’s okay to actually go and workout? You’re encouraging this? My answer is yes. Sitting and not training because of the soreness will just make your muscles tighten up even more. The key for recovery is stretching, rest, and proper hydration. Your body, however, can handle it. When your body is suffering from tightness, get to practice early and give your body more time to warm up than if you weren’t as sore. Plan ahead.
MYTH: Voluntary workouts are voluntary, it’s fine to skip.
REALITY: Wrong. I have no issue stating that voluntary workouts actually mean mandatory. I’ve been in the trenches before and I know that when someone mentions voluntary, what it really means is, Hey, come if you want, but you are serious about your sport, that means you better have your behind there. Coaches keep tabs on those things. They want leaders, people who don’t have to be told to be somewhere because they choose to be there. Maybe there is a practice in the a.m., and an optional/voluntary weightlifting session in the p.m. Guess what? Go and lift some weights because you should be there. Voluntary equals mandatory.
MYTH: Preseason isn’t AS important as tryouts.
REALITY: Tryouts undoubtedly are important because it’s about making the roster, which obviously is the ultimate goal. Let me tell you something, though: there will be many close decisions when it comes down to finalizing a roster.
Let’s say a coach has to decide between two players–player A who coasted through two weeks of training, finished middle of the pack, came to workout sometimes, sometimes didn’t but performed really well at a 2-hour tryout…or player B, who busted their backside everyday in the double-sessions, first in sprints, but didn’t quite have the performance at tryouts as player A. I would honestly put my money on the coach taking player B over player A.
I’ve had tryouts that weren’t my best showing. I had bad games in front of scouts. I had performances at colleges camps that didn’t show my true potential.
So why did I end up where I did? The work that I was willing to put in when no one was looking, or when it wasn’t pretty. When it wasn’t tryout day.
One bad day compared to days upon days of relentless effort is what matters the most. Don’t bank on just killing it on the day of tryouts. The mentality is building up to that day so that you are confident going into them.
Leave an impact!
Follow Steffi on Twitter at @steffisorensen