May 10, 2018
Hey everybody! Some of you might have seen the “Day in the Life” series chronicling a couple of our RIT/NTID student-athletes!
The first one was with Mia White, a member of the women’s soccer team. Our talented RIT/NTID student photographer Amelia Hamilton decided to follow her around for the day. Thanks to the community for their suggestions, we’ve decided to revisit this project but with more details! (Click on any photo to see a larger version within a slideshow of all the photos).
At 6:00 a.m., Mia and another RIT/NTID student-athlete, Emily Thiel, get ready to go into the weight room. Our strength and conditioning programs are designed to do two important things—get our athletes stronger and prevent injuries. We believe that injury prevention is done through strength training, as stronger athletes are capable of handling increased workloads on the field as well some physical contact.
Our head strength coach, Heather D’Errico, likes to put the athletes through a specific routine of stretching, breathing, and mobility work before lifting weights. We utilize a few different equipment, kettlebells, chains, sleds, bands and so on. We also incorporate an app for student-athletes who are out on co-op, so they can put in their lifting data to see where they stand, and track their progress.
We tend to start with foam rolling and some lacrosse ball work to try to loosen up tight muscles. In Mia’s case, it’s the legs, because soccer is all about the legs. Tight legs and no mobility work prior to training is a perfect recipe for a future injury.
We move on to stretching the bigger leg muscles such as the quads, hamstrings, glutes, adductors and abductors. Lunge stretches, squats, and butterfly stretches as seen here. You can expect to see athletes doing these exercises as a part of their warm-up regime.
Now it’s time to get the training program. Heather will walk the athletes through the exercises if necessary, and then the team gets after it.
The key to athletic success oftentimes lies in one’s core strength and explosion. It applies to a baseball swing, a lacrosse shot, a hockey slap shot, and being able to dominate your opponents on the pitch.
Onto the second half of the training session—front squats, hang cleans, core stability work and kettlebell work. There are millions of different exercises, and they all work in a variety of ways. We work hard to find the ones that work the best for each one of us. Incorporating a variety of exercises into our regimes will help the student-athletes improve their overall athleticism, continue their muscular and neuromuscular development, and develop the ability to adapt faster to a variety of factors that take place during a season.
The heavy lifting of the day is done. It’s widely discussed that the “anabolic window” of 30 minutes post-workout is the most important 30 minutes you need to capitalize on. It’s the period where you need to take in all of the protein, carbs, calories and the additional nutrients to help you recover from workouts as fast as possible.
It’s important to spend time with your inner circle. Collegiate sports tend to do a good job at throwing things out of whack. Student-athletes, especially deaf and hard-of-hearing athletes, need to balance both deaf and hearing worlds the best they can. Mia has to maintain relationships with the Deaf community while doing the same for the soccer team and the rest of the hearing community.
Throughout the day there are different groups of people to interact with such as classmates, teammates, professors, staff and others. It’s important to build a relationship with every one of them because it takes a village to raise a student-athlete.
The fun part of being a student-athlete…homework! A lot of people tend to whine about athletes and how they get away with a lot. Little did they know that student-athletes regularly post higher GPAs and overall academic performance on a daily basis. The NTID Athlete Development Program’s average GPA as a whole has never gone below 3.0 since its inception.
There always will be a discussion on diet in college, and for student-athlete it’s a whole other ball game. The “Freshman 15” is inevitable, but student-athletes almost always put on the right kind of weight- muscle. We burn so much calories throughout the day with lifting weights, practices, walking around campus and much more. It is imperative that we consistently fuel ourselves throughout the day through a variety of snacks, meals and drinks.
Student-athletes need to pay attention to three big areas of diet: protein, carbs and calories. These three will keep you fueled for the rigors of a soccer season. It is always encouraged that you eat your fruits and vegetables, and we have people at RIT/NTID providing proper resources and advice on how you should eat for optimal performance. Mia is hitting her meal plan right on the nail.
In college sports, it’s always “student-athlete”, not “athlete-student.” This means we have to attend classes and put in the work. Some classes are fun, some aren’t. We encourage recruits to come into college knowing what they want to do because they still have the fire, the passion and the energy to perform well both in academics and athletics. If you’re a student-athlete and hate the major you’re in, you’re in trouble.
In Mia’s case, she wants to go into sports marketing, so every class she takes, she tries to apply what she learns into the sports industry. She tinkers with social media, campus events, working in the athletic department, and everything that presents itself. Again, it’s important that you know what you want out of your academic major, and apply the same amount of passion into academics as you do in sports.
Back to the pitch. And it’s only been a day in Mia White’s life.