The 24-hour athlete is a term that I got from Vern Gambetta, I believe, and have used with players for years. Essentially, the idea is that as an athlete, you train with your coach for 2-3 hours per day, leaving 21-22 hours of the day to enhance or detract from the training. During these hours, the athlete has to recover, eat, drink, sleep, and prepare for the next training session or game, and the way in which the athlete approaches these hours in between sessions can be the difference. In that sense, even though an athlete trains only 2-3 hours per day, he or she needs to think like an athlete for all 24 hours in the day to maximize the benefits from the training, and ultimately performance.
This weekend, my team had a long road trip, and the players did not handle it well (which started before we left). Today’s practice will start with a discussion of the 24-Hour Athlete. I also have compiled infographics from the Internet to put together into a handout for the players on some of the topics which I have discussed or mentioned, but thus far they have dismissed. The below contains much of the handout and comes from different sources that I found through google searches. The main topics are: sleep, recovery, nutrition, and soda.
Some of our players have not been taking care of their bodies. Consequently, I cut back on the intensity and volume of training, as I worried about overtraining too early in the season after a long summer of general inactivity. However, I have learned that the problem is not the amount of practice, but the lifestyle habits of the players, with not sleeping (and partying) being a huge issue:
On our trip home, after having guys cramp during games from dehydration and after me telling them not to drink sodas, nearly every player ordered a soda at the restaurant for our post-game meal. The below graphic is not as specific to sports as I had hoped to find, but it covers the issues with health pretty well.
Since soda was a beverage of choice, I wanted to find something on hydration. This was not as sports specific as I wanted, but it contains some good information that hopefully will lead to more informed choices.
As I mentioned, we had some issues during our games this weekend, which was partly attributable to the travel, but also to poor choices. The players should have known what to expect, as they had made this trip previously. I was the one out of my element, yet I was better prepared nutritionally than most (any?) of my players. After watching their food choices before and after games, I needed to find something on nutrition and recovery.
The following also shows a good example of the essential vitamins, and more importantly, where to get them.
These did not cover everything, but the following is a nice summary of recovery.
Again, I did not create any of these infographics, so there may be parts that I do not agree with 100% or have not verified 100%, but this gave me a good starting point and something to hand out to my players to educate them on proper training and recovery to take care of their bodies and maximize their development and performance.