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The Routine Of Recovery As A College Athlete

Sam Edwards

Routines are useful. They help establish habits that promote health, responsibility, and diligence. As a student-athlete, I participate in routines on an hourly basis. For instance, I walk the same route to my classes each day. I follow a specific warm-up pattern before each workout and practice, wearing a specific schedule of gear. I eat in between classes and after practice. I walk a certain way back to my dorm.

Certainly, the life of a collegiate athlete is hectic. There is a lot of physical effort put into training and practice. There is both emotional and mental strain, considering an athlete’s intrinsic motivation to perform, daily critiques from his or her coach, and personal comparison with teammates. On the academic side, there are countless hours spent studying in the library, not to mention homework done on the road. Exams and assignments may be rescheduled, often earlier than the rest of the class, to account for away competitions.

All this preparation for success on the court & in the classroom will go to waste without establishing the routine of recovery.

However, all this preparation for success on the court and in the classroom will go to waste without establishing the routine of recovery. It is essential to reaping the benefits of hard work.

For the student athlete, this is a difficult concept to grasp. Some may think that recovery or resting constitutes laziness. Others may feel it allows their competitors to gain an edge over themselves. I struggle to recover for these reasons and others, namely that I think I will always benefit from more repetitions or activity. Although the human body is an amazing feat of design, it needs proper rest to function optimally. It needs to “deload” from the chronic stress of student-athlete life.  

Recovery is individualized. It will vary based on the athlete, his or her physical and mental fitness, and his or her personal preferences. For instance, I enjoy waking up early on the weekends and walking or riding my bike. I love talking to my parents over the phone about how things are at home. I also like going to church with friends on Sunday. Some of my teammates enjoy sleeping in, reading books, and going on hikes. These are all different ways that we recover and rejuvenate for the coming week.

Establishing a routine of rest is an important part of success as a student-athlete. It does not guarantee better performance or strength. Instead, it provides the energy to enjoy the sport you love.