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Day in the Life of Yale Football Player, Jaelin Alburg

#6 Jaelin Alburg

CLASS Graduated
POSITION Cornerback
2018: Played in all 10 games and started 9 at cornerback. Made 14 total tackles and 4 pass breakups

The life of a Yale football player means hard work, sacrifice, and dedication. In my experience, there are three distinct periods of the year for football players: in-season, offseason, and spring ball. The most significant difference in these time periods is “accountable hours” that the NCAA allows per week. In season and during spring ball, the NCAA allows 20 hours/week and only mandates 1 day off from mandatory activity per week. In the offseason, this drops to 10 hours/week with 2 days off.

Related: Flaws of the 20-Hour Rule

The typical in-season days for me begin with team breakfast. Everyone on the team has to sign in to eat by 9:30 am. This turns the dining hall into the football team’s personal banter room, which is fun for all of us.

Class and Nap Time
After breakfast, I head off to class. We can schedule classes up to 2:15pm, because pre-practice meetings start at 2:40. The number of classes varies by day, but no matter what, I make sure to have nap time every day. I usually eat lunch around noon and watch film or go to the training room before heading back to my dorm for my daily nap. 

Yale’s football locker room, practice facilities, and the Yale Bowl are all off-campus, so we have busses that shuttle us back and forth.

Meetings and Practice
When I wake up from my nap, I head over to the gym to hop on the bus to go to meetings and practice. We have various special team meetings and positional meetings, and we watch film of previous games/practices. After the meetings, I head to the locker room to get ready for training by getting taped up and dressed down. It’s here that the team loves to joke around with one another.

Our practice times and the daily intensity of the practices vary depending on the day and how close we are to playing a game.

Related: 9 Essential Game Day Rituals from Yale Athletes

There’s only one dining hall that stays open after practice, so we typically have a big team meal to wrap up the day. After dinner, we all settle down to do our homework.

I don’t mind the off-season because it gives us some much needed free time.

The day starts with our team breakfast; this is a year-round thing for us. Go figure.

After eating with some of the guys, I roll into classes for the day. We have a lot more freedom with our class schedule in the off-season, so this is usually when we will take more classes. My usual nap rule still applies to the offseason, especially if I plan on functioning properly throughout the day. Around noon I’ll grab lunch before heading off to an afternoon class. 

Related: Importance of Sleep as an Athlete

After I’m done with my classes, I’ll grab some more food before heading back to my dorm. I usually get back and squeeze in a few episodes of The Office, or I will play video games such as Fortnite before lifting.

Pro Tip: The Office is the best show ever, and I recommend you see all nine seasons, if you haven’t already.

Related: Why You Need to Take Time to Do What You Love

Next, I will head off to the training facilities where I will lift. Keeping in top physical condition is essential when it comes to playing football, so I give 110 percent to my training.

With more free time in the off-season, I will hang out with the guys, and we will do things that are not football-related. For me, I usually play video games, typically NBA 2k, Fortnite, or FIFA. This gives me the time to relax and have my own time.

Related: Athletes: Starting Your Book Club

Spring Ball
When spring ball rolls around, it’s time to put away the video games and get to work. 

I wake up and start getting ready at 4:45am to arrive at the field at 6am. The team practices for about two hours. After that, I head back to campus and grab a quick breakfast before heading to my morning class. 

Film and Lunch
After class, I will head over to watch film from the morning practice, and by this time, I am starving, so I head on over to the cafeteria for some lunch.

I devour my lunch then go to class. After class, I gobble down a snack as I head back to my dorm.

Nap Time
Once I return to the dorm, I’m super excited because it’s my favorite time of the day: nap time! After my quick nap, I’m off to the training room to loosen up my muscles. I get parts of my body worked on for preventative measures before lifting and heading to dinner to wrap up the day. The days usually end earlier during spring ball than in-season training.

If you work harder than the next, then you too can be a successful football college athlete. Good luck! Go Bulldogs!

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