From the lanes of the swimming pool to the baseball diamond, athletes here at Florida A&M University endure a lot before game time.
Being on a sports team isn’t just about showing up and playing.
Athletes say their respective sports involve lots of training, both mentally and physically, practice and healthy eating habits.
When spectators show up at various sporting activities they see the results of many long hours, and early mornings of practice and conditioning.
The Rattler baseball team’s season, for instance, does not commence until February, and already the team is practicing six times a week.
Although the season opener is a three months away, freshman Tim Jones from Atlanta said it is essential to practice and condition so far in advance.
Junior Evette Young, 22, a criminal justice student from Ft. Lauderdale said the women’s basketball team has the same attitude as the baseball team.
When the semester first started, the women were on the track at 5:45 a.m. every morning running to build their endurance, which is a requirement on the court.
Athletes said conditioning, which includes lots of running to build endurance and weight lifting, are just as important as actual practice.
Conditioning is very important.
For Rattler swimmer Jack Dash, 19, a sophomore industrial engineer student out of Charleston, S.C., he must keep his muscles working in order to prevent common swim injuries- injuries in the shoulder- from occurring.
Dash said if conditioning is taken lightly, athletes are unable to reach their full potential.
“If you aren’t healthy you can’t go all out [when you are performing] because you are in fear of ripping something,” Dash said.
However, conditioning may not always prevent injuries.
This is an unfortunate scenario that happens quite often on the collegiate and professional level.
Young is all too familiar with that scenario. She had surgery on her shin for a stress fracture in March and is still recovering a half-year later.
“I am going to therapy three days a week and eating healthy,” Young said.
Young undergoes the intense therapy sessions so that she will be able to play when the season begins.
Despite the injuries and time-consuming workouts, there is one thing these athletes have in common when it comes to staying in shape to perform- that is eating healthy.
Jones says he has started eating more fruit and is avoiding greasy foods.
“I try to stick to the salad,” He said.
Carlos Rolle, a senior linebacker from Tallahassee, said fans should realize athletes have a 24-hour job of staying healthy and staying in shape to bring home a win for FAMU.
“Some realize but some don’t, they just want us to win the game,” Rolle said.