Tips for returning to practices and workouts

By Julia Sparco

Elm Staff Writer

After the Centennial Conference approval announcement of athletic competition in December, all Washington College student-athletes have begun mental and physical preparation for their sport seasons. 

After not playing for almost a year, it can be challenging to get back into an athletic mindset and physique. 

“Don’t be frustrated if you start off at a lower level than where you left off,”  senior WC women’s swimmer Allison Gallagher said. “It will take some time to get back to where you were before the break.” 

According to The Athlete Blog, an online blog dedicated to athletes, it is best to take returning to athletics as slowly as possible. They recommend the 10% rule. 

This 10% rule states that intensifying training by 10% each week in areas of strength, mobility, and endurance while training is the best way to return. This method can also help in preventing injuries, according to The Athlete Blog. 

After not playing for so long, it is easy for student-athletes to want to pick up right where they left off. Once realizing they physically cannot, it can become a mental game. 

“It’s all about your outlook on your sport and the goals you want to achieve,” senior WC women’s volleyball player Abigail Smith said. “Once you start changing your mindset and equating more pleasure than pain with your responsibilities, you will start mentally and physically feeling great.”

“Staying positive is a really important part of getting back into it,” senior WC men’s swimmer Brett Edwards said. “A lot can happen, but having a good mindset can definitely help.” 

According to Time Magazine, student-athletes should also remember that a lifestyle change cannot happen in a day or week; workout and nutrition habits should be altered gradually so that the body can get used to it. 

Time Magazine also said that staying hydrated while returning to athletics is extremely beneficial. Hydration helps prevent injuries and replenish athletes as their bodies adjust to sweating more than usual. 

Student-athletes are fortunate to have their teams to motivate them while returning to play. Leaning on teammates when feeling unmotivated or tired can help athletes stay positive and motivated. 

“When it comes to getting back into working out, I just look back at the memories I’ve had on the field to motivate me to get back into shape,” senior WC men’s lacrosse player Burke McFillin said. “Along with the excitement of maybe being able to compete against another team is something that’ll always get me to go into the weight room.” 

Overall, it is important for student-athletes to remember that starting a season after potentially a year of not playing their sport will be a challenge, but with hard work and a positive mentality it can be done. 

“This time especially reminds us why we play D3 sports– because we love it,” Smith said. “There’s no better time than now to play for the number on your back, your teammates, coaches, and family.”

Featured Photo caption: Senior softball player Chrissy Segrest. Photo by Mark Cooley. 

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