It is generally safe to assume that college students everywhere are counting down the days until the next school break, the moment when they can get away from campus and stop worrying about essays and projects for a few days. With Thanksgiving break just ending and the end of the semester right around the corner, Drew students are no exception to this universal excitement. However, while breaks offer a nice respite from classes, they can be problematic for students who participate in activities that may not occur during this time off. One prominent example is student athletes who are mid-season.
How do mid-season breaks affect athletes’ performance in their sport? For some, shorter breaks, like Thanksgiving break, have a minimal effect on training schedules because competitions continue as normal. For other athletes, there is no training or competition during the break at all. Hence, the athlete becomes solely responsible for ensuring that they find sufficient practice time during the break.
Each sport is unique and will have different schedules over mid-season breaks, but it is important to recognize how members of Drew’s student-athlete population may be affected. Drew Women’s Basketball player Kyra Mann (’23) and Men’s Swim & Dive team captain CJ Talerico (’24) offered two different perspectives on the impact of mid-season breaks on athletic performance.
How do mid-season breaks for holidays and such affect your training?
Talerico: “Mid-season breaks are definitely difficult for me, mostly because I don’t have a coach or my teammates in the lanes next to me to motivate me while practicing on my own. I do make the effort to practice (swim and lift) while at home, but it’s absolutely more of a challenge without having people there to hold me accountable.”
Mann: “For Thanksgiving it doesn’t affect our training cause we only got two days off and I only got one day off. So I wish we had more of a break. Christmas break doesn’t affect us either, we need that week off.”
Is it hard mentally or physically to return from almost a week off and get back into a full training schedule again?
Talerico: “I would say it is more physically a challenge than mentally when returning after a break. Mentally, I’m usually in a great state after not having to worry about the stress that comes with managing between classes, practices and whatever else, but returning after not being kept on a strict practice schedule definitely makes the return a challenge.”
Mann: “For me I don’t think it is, because basketball is a really long season, so a week off is a good refresher.”
Do you think having breaks from training in the middle of the season influences your performance, especially with competitions coming up right after the break?
Talerico: “I think that breaks right before a large competition may not be the best, because it may get in the way of the coach’s practice plan/taper; however, if incorporated into the schedule and players hold themselves accountable to work hard while not at home I don’t think it is always a negative and definitely can help.”
Mann: “No, having a break in the middle of the season from training doesn’t affect my performance.”
Charlotte Wells is a Junior majoring in English and French with a minor in humanities.