Hours a day in the gym, extra sessions, private lessons, stretching at home, run throughs, showcase….”run it again. run it again. run it again.”
Recently, I had a wonderful chat with a mom from the other side of the country (oh, the wonders of the internet). She has a daughter that has been a school cheer athlete for sometime. Recently, their team had begun to prep for nationals and the mom could tell that her daughter started to drag a little. She had never done competitive cheer before and her coaches had decided this was the year.
There can be many reasons that athletes go through a funk with their sport. It could be lack of sleep, other life factors may be on their mind, injuries, disagreements with a coach or other athlete, etc…but this mom had one particular question and that is, “is it possible to burnout or overdo it”.
It would seem like a pretty straight forward question with an easy answer, but the truth is, the answer isn’t clear cut. I shared with this mom one of my favorite quotes…
“There is no such thing as overtraining, only under sleeping and under eating.”
While this oversimplified approach is not true for ALL people, the point is simple. As long as you are taking the steps necessary for recovery to MATCH the work done, physical burnout shouldn’t happen. (Mental burnout may be an entirely different post)
So, if we are only doing 1-2 hours a week of cheer related activities, the need for recovery efforts will be minimal. However, if we are practicing many days a week for multiple hours and doing extra on the side, bigger steps for recovery have to be a priority.
1. Sleep enough
2. Get enough protein in the diet for muscles to recover
3. Foam roll/lacrosse ball and stretch
4. Proper warm up to prevent injury
These easy steps are CRUCIAL for athletic development. This isn’t true just for cheer, but all athletes. You would be amazed at how much the body can handle before it reaches failure; amazing things….all it needs are the tools to do so.