Winter Track’s recovery day should be followed by all sports

Rest and Recovery are essential functions for an athlete. Currently, the winter track team spends lots of time on rest and recovery, while the hope is other sports will do so as well.

Photo Credit: Wiki Commons

Rest and Recovery are essential functions for an athlete. Currently, the winter track team spends lots of time on rest and recovery, while the hope is other sports will do so as well.

by Andrew Kastelman, Staff Writer

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How important is rest and recovery for an athlete in their second consecutive sports season? What are the necessary steps to not get injured?

While there’s no official school or state rule that New Jersey high school sports teams must have a day off once a week during the season, most teams do have a rest day on either Saturday or Sunday. While I believe teams are making the right choice, since rest and recovery are essential parts of all active sports, more most be done in order to keep athletes healthy and performing at their highest level.

One such way to do this is by adding a recovery day once a week to all 19 sports’ teams weekly schedules, a practice currently only done by the winter track team.

In order to give athletes time to recuperate, the winter track coaches have instituted a weekly ‘recovery day,’ in addition to a day off over the weekend.

Recovery day is a staple once a week, and coaches try new techniques to help the athletes recover. These techniques range from stretching to yoga, and sometimes a complete day off.  

I believe this system is effective and should be migrated to other athletic programs. Part of recovery is making sure your body does not get hurt, and that’s why players stretch. However, just as important is making sure the mindset of the athlete is in the right place, and that’s why yoga and off days are implemented into the schedule.

Offseason recovery is another essential feature of an athlete. For track athletes, it can be complicated. Many winter track athletes run cross-country in the fall and spring track. This gives them little time between seasons, and therefore little time to rest their body. To make sure they stay in peak condition, many of the runners will get extra time off at the beginning and during their seasons. However, these cases are individual to the runner.

“It all depends on the athlete,” Glen Rock High School Special Education teacher and Winter Track coach J.P. McCarten said.

I think this strategy is important and effective. Many athletes need different treatments to rest and recover at their best.

Rest and recovery is essential for basketball players as well, as the long season can lead to players being tired when the state playoffs arrive.

“As a basketball player myself, I know the toll that frequent and long practices can take on a player. Rest is extremely important when it comes to a player’s mental and physical health. And when you don’t get enough, it can negatively impact your performance,” Connor Cunningham, a Glen Rock High School Basketball player said.

Furthermore, this day off allows students to have time to do homework, and relieve stress in their life, which I think is essential for all high school athletes. McCarten shared similar thoughts.

“Stress in high school students nowadays are tremendous…… There’s a lot of science behind if you’re stressed out going into an athletic competition, you will not do well,” Coach McCarten said.

Overall, rest and recovery is essential for an athlete. However, there is more to it then staying in shape and taking days off. Limiting stress and staying organized is key, and more sports need to realize this. But, most importantly, trying new techniques and finding which suits your body so you don’t get injured will help lead you to your ultimate goal: peak performance in your sport.