No Days Off: How to Survive the First Week of Practice This School Year

Well guys, it’s not sweater weather just yet, but fall is right around the corner and I’m here to help walk(JK) run through some tips on how to get through that tough first week of returning to school.

Just to backtrack a little, I want to remind our audience out there reading that I was a three-sport athlete, so the fall for me was a double…no, make that a triple whammy. Class, basketball, and my other sport which was golf. For some of the multi-sport athletes out there gearing up to juggle your fall sport, your main sport, and school, listen up. For those who are solely focused on class and hoops, listen up as well. All can be applied.

Fall is arguably one of the busiest and most demanding times in high school. So many things to do, so many hours in the day. You have to begin to prioritize your time to get the most out of each day. Back when I was in high school, I knew basketball was what I wanted to go to college for–the other sports I competed in were beneficial, but my priorities were straight. I never blatantly skipped golf practice to go to a basketball practice or open gym. I worked with both coaches together to make sure we were all on the same page. That is a step I highly recommend. On the high school level, certainly coaches want you to be dedicated to your sport, and you can be. If you’re reading this it’s likely you’re dedicated so I’m not worried about that. It’s the effort of communicating, prioritizing, and balancing your time that should be priority one. For example, if I had an open gym practice right after school for basketball, and golf practice started 45 minutes after class ended. I would make open gym, perhaps leave early, and then head to golf practice.

Speaking of practice…those first few weeks? Whew, ROUGH. The good news is you guys have all been dominating over the summer taking care of business so your struggle may be real but it doesn’t have to be so real that you can’t move for a week like other people who didn’t keep up all summer.

I knew fall season would be hard, but because I worked my backside off in the summer it was a challenge I was ready to tackle. That being said, here are three things to keep in mind during these first weeks.

1. Hydration
I can’t express how important this is especially while juggling multiple things. Your mind and body are still adjusting so keep drinking water, G2, or Powerade Zero during the day to keep you hydrated so you are set by the time after school activities come about.

2. Nutrition
I was very fortunate in high school to have a parent who made sure I had a proper lunch and snack after school because she knew how much work I would be doing. Starting off the day with protein and complex carbohydrates (think oatmeal and eggs) will jumpstart your day. A lunch with protein, complex carbohydrates, and vegetables or fruit will get you through those awful fifth and sixth periods. After school, you need another round of food (sandwich and apple/banana) to get you through those workouts.

I remember the tough days of leaving my lunch bag at home, or forgetting snacks, and going on an empty stomach for two hours. Miserable. There was no question; on those days I would feel as if I couldn’t run another suicide. I want you to be calling for more suicides–well, at least in your head–because you are hydrated and fueled up for it.

3. Rest
Stop scrolling on Instagram at midnight and close your eyes. Sleep, and getting adequate amounts of it, is just as beneficial to this cycle. Aim for 7-8 hours a night and that way it’s not just your muscles getting enough time to rest and recover but also your mind.

***As a bonus, here are three simple suggestions that will help you leave your mark on the first few weeks:

1. If you are running sprints with teammates, be first, not last. Don’t settle for middle of the pack. Set yourself apart.
2. Be unselfish and vocal and be willing to push others. Doing so will only increase your energy and leadership.
3. Do the extra work. You may be juggling a handful of responsibilities, but 20 minutes of ball-handling each day or extra conditioning or weight lifting will only benefit you in the long term. Plus, no one said it would be easy to successfully dominate the game. If it was easy, everyone would do it.

Go get ya some!

Follow Steffi on Twitter at @steffisorensen

image via Mathew Ursua/Flickr Creative Commons