Conditioning for the modern student athlete

Preparations for preparation

By Chad Clinger -

On Thursday, August 1, the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s 2019 fall sports season officially kicked-off with day one of practices allowed to be held. That meant that student athletes participating in football, golf, soccer, cross country, volleyball and girls tennis were hard at work in preparation for the upcoming season.

For the squads participating in the outdoor sports, the athletes and respective coaching staffs couldn’t have asked for more ideal conditions as it was warm but the slight breeze made it a bit more comfortable given the date. Plus, the squads that began their season early in the day were treated to temperatures in the 70s.

With sports gearing back up and the workouts being held to ready the youngsters for their schedules to follow, conditioning plays a huge factor in the overall success moving forward into the actual competition portion of the season, as well as the 2019-2020 school year.

Football has a mandated five-day acclimatization period which can be found on the fall sports article here in the Galion Inquirer, as well as on the OHSAA website. But, not all sports have that same rule in effect. With that being said, a few things are vital to remember in the early stages of late-summer practices and throughout the season.

When it comes to the athlete, not everyone is created equal. There are some that are what they call “natural born athletes” and then there are some that go out for a particular sport because of their love for the game, their friend plays or it just gives them something to do. Whatever the case may be, the below listed things are integral regardless of one’s intentions. Another thing to remember is that these “tips” are not just for the “student athlete” but can be applied to anyone at most any age.

Hydration is key, always. Without water, we as humans are nothing. During the hot summer days that August is sure to throw our way, always keep water close by or take water breaks. This applies to everyone, everywhere, any time. No one wants cramps or worse and the best way to combat that and keep on going during two-a-days or whatever have you is to hydrate.

While hydration may be something that seems abundantly obvious, let’s take a look at things that may get placed on the back-burner when it comes to training and, not just the season ahead, but life.

A good diet is a huge factor when it comes to staying in shape and health overall but it is possible that, with all of the distractions available to teenagers these days, that this is one key role that gets overlooked. It is vital to have a routine when it comes to what you put into your body because what you put in will help dictate what you can put out. I’m in no way telling anyone how to eat or how to live their lives but I know from experience that time management of meals, snacks, protein supplements and whatever have you play a big part in what you can expect from your body. Don’t bog yourself down with greasy, fatty foods that are going to stunt your performance before a big game, match or meet. Personally, I would a plant-based diet but that’s only because I myself abstain from the consumption of meat and, when I can, animal by-products in general. And yes, there are ways to get protein as a vegetarian or vegan! When it comes to a food regimen, know your body and do what you know is going to best to perform at the level that you’re hoping to achieve; in sports and in life.

So, you’re staying hydrated, your maintaining a solid balance in the foods that you consume but what else can a person do to get the most out of their hard work? Rest!

While you’re keeping an eye on what goes in to your body, you also have to give it time to recover and trust me, when you’re 35, you’ll thank me! If you have to be up at 6 a.m. for the first part of a two-a-day, don’t go to bed at 1 a.m. Again, I am in no way telling you how to live your lives, just simply giving you ways to get more out of it. Just as a heavy, unhealthy diet can cause “the bogs” so can (obviously) a lack of sleep and recovery time. Sure, your friends may want to hang out late and go do whatever it is that kids do these days but please, be cognizant of what effect it all could have on your upcoming schedule. I would love to tell you all that there is all the time in the world to make memories, both on and off the field, but time management will play a factor into every day of your life, be it at 15 years old or 50 years old.

Exhaustion will happen, injuries, although unwelcome, may occur but it us up to us to do everything that we can to be mindful of our body and its’ limitations. You may feel the need to push now and that’s great but make sure that it is a well-rounded and educated decision. Lastly, if anyone, athlete or otherwise, has any questions about how to go about eating and staying healthy on a more plant-based diet, feel free to ask! You may email me, find me on some form of social media or stop me and ask me about it at a sporting event or any time that you may see me. If I can help anyone in any way, then I’ve done my job.
Preparations for preparation

By Chad Clinger

Follow Chad on Twitter @GalionSportsGuy

Reach Chad at 419-468-1117 x2048

Follow Chad on Twitter @GalionSportsGuy

Reach Chad at 419-468-1117 x2048