Top athletes prepare mentally and physically for competition

Tyler Cole and Luke Dietz

At Canfield High School, the Letterman’s jacket is a symbol of an athletes accomplishments for their sport. It portrays the countless hours of hard work and the immeasurable dedication towards the different sports the students take on day in and day out. Although when taking a glance at a Letterman’s jacket one may only see a phenomenal athlete, it most certainly represents many things beyond the sport itself, such as the intense preparation an athlete endures in order to be successful. Since there are over fifteen sports offered here at Canfield High School between boys and girls, we wanted to find out how different athletes prepared for their different sports.

To begin, we posed five questions in order to adequately understand the psychological and physical preparation in different sports, such as the following: 

  1. How many times do you practice a week/how long is it?
  2. What do you eat before a game/meet?
  3. How do you get in the right mindset beforehand?
  4. Are you ever nervous before a game or race?
  5. Is there any superstition?

As for Junior swim and dive team leader Ty Schaab, he directly portrays the characteristics of a dedicated athlete when in preparation for a meet. Schaab’s urgency to become a better athlete is shown through his undergoing an immense amount of training and harsh workouts.

Schaab said, “I usually practice six out of the seven days of the week with the swim team, then weight lift at least three days a week starting at six in the morning. We also will have meets on weekdays and weekends.”

Schaab clearly makes sure he keeps his body in nothing but the best shape, especially when bigger meets draw closer on the calendar.

He said, “During tournament season we do what’s called ‘taper’ which is basically going easier in practice so our bodies are well rested for the following meets.” 

When asked about Schaab’s very specific diet he answered, “For big meets, I tend to carbo load weeks in advance to get the proper energy for my races. The day of the meet I always eat an egg, sausage, and cheese breakfast sandwich to get my necessary proteins and dairy products in.”

As for Schaab to get in the right mindset before a meet he proclaimed, “Before my races I like to visualize my race and think about how I am going to swim it, I also listen to the same song every time before I race called ‘Hard’ by Tay-K. It hypes me up and gets me excited to swim.”

Nerves play a huge role in how Schaab prepares for a meet, for the bigger stages he said, “I do get very nervous before my races at big meets, but nerves is apart of the sport, so I try my best to get comfortable in the atmosphere of these intense meets and all I can do is try my hardest and make the most out of my performance.”

Superstition is a belief for many athletes that certain actions before an event are in direct relation with the outcome of their event, and Schaab most certainly has his superstitions.

When asked if he too has any superstitions he said, “I do the same stretches before all of my races. When I get up on the block before i’m about to do my start, I put my fists on the sides of my head and swing my arms down, and as I’ve mentioned before I listen to the same song before every race.”

As for another select individual named Matt Scolieri, he too goes through an intestine preparation routine

Sophomore Scolieri is to be one of the best players on the Canfield Hockey team and it doesn’t just come naturally. He works hard for his talent in preparation.

“We practice two days a week for about an hour but off the ice I do weight lift training to keep my body strong and in shape,” Scolieri said.

Hockey players need to be in top shape and very muscular, so it is imperative to have a good diet.

Scolieri said, “Before my practices and games I will usually eat a chicken wrap or just anything chicken in general so I can gain more muscle mass and have a full stomach.”

For Scolieri, mentality is everything before a game. He makes sure he gets in the right mindset by being one with himself before games.

“Before my games I just play my music to clear my head and zone out and think about nothing but the game ahead of me,” he said.

Hockey is a very rough sport, and most players are prone to getting injuries. Most athletes worry about injuries,and how they can play a big effect into the nerves. But the case is not the same for Scolieri.

He said, “I used to get nervous all the time…I get nervous about close games, injuries, and if I’ll mess things up. But not anymore, I’m comfortable on the ice now and know that I’m a threat to other players.”

Many athletes have their own superstition, but Matt is the other side of athletes who have their own belief.

Scolieri said, “I really don’t have any superstition with the game other then how I get dress for my game but I don’t think that’s gonna be the deciding factor of if we win or lose.”

For athletes, the preparation that goes into their sports means everything, on and off their big stages. A Letterman’s jacket without the countless hours of hard work would be nonexistent, because an athlete can not expect to receive the reward of accomplishment, if they do not put the work in. So next time you see a red and black jacket with a big red “C” on the back, remember that the athletes who wear them, work harder off the field then they do on it.