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The huddle

July 5, 2018

Northwestern University: The Life of a College Basketball Player

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Although the life of a collegiate student-athlete is demanding, it’s rewarding and an experience like no other. Some days are good, and some are tiring, but when you look back, you will be so thankful for the time you spent and the memories you made with your team. Here is my life as a collegiate basketball player.

My day typically starts around 5:20 am— after a few snoozes of course— as I wake up and prepare for my morning workouts. After getting dressed and going to the bathroom, I walk across the street to Patten Gymnasium, the home of my team while the 110 million dollar renovation for our arena is being completed. I head straight to the locker room, grabbing a few snacks— typically a string cheese, clementine, and granola bar— for breakfast before changing into my workout clothes. Some of my teammates greet me as they walk in, while others still seem to be half asleep.

Around 5:50, we head to the gym for conditioning— my least favorite part of working out. We start with a dynamic warmup and stretching. Then, we go through some footwork and speed training— using ladders, mini hurdles, resistance bands, and harnesses. Then comes the fun part— timed sprints. Our strength and conditioning coach always mixes up our running at the end, but it is still hard no matter what we do. Nevertheless, she expects us to give full effort during each sprint— she wants us to be the best that we can be.

After completing our sprints and being doused in sweat, we head to the weight room at 7:00. We usually go straight into the workout that involves working all different muscle groups, and we typically end with an ab circuit. Some of the favorite exercises we do throughout lifts include: back squat, deadlift, bench press, chin ups, pulls ups, box and hurdle jumps, kettlebell swings, and planks. After an hour of lifting, we have completed our morning workout by 8:00. If it is a Tuesday or Thursday, however, we do not have conditioning, and we have basketball workouts instead in the afternoon.

After lifting, we head back to the locker room and shower, and then everyone heads to the dining hall to have a team meal together. Afterward, everyone disperses to different places depending upon their schedule— some to class, some to the training room, I go back to my room to take a nap at 9:15.

My 10:45 alarm wakes me up, and I walk to my 11:00 class. One thing about being a student-athlete is that you need to have the grades to be able to compete. My coaches are always on us about performing well in the classroom, and it is expected that we work hard in the classroom in addition to on the court. After my 80 minute class, I stop at the cafe to get a quick snack— a cup of cheese and grapes— before heading off to my next class at 12:30. After that 80 minute class, I head to the dining hall at 1:50 to grab a quick lunch with my friends. At Northwestern, there are always athletes in the dining hall, so I usually go and sit with a group of them as I enjoy my food and daydream about my next nap.

After lunch around 2:10, I head back to Patten to get ready for practice at 2:30. I quickly change, stretch and see the trainer, and get a few shots up before practice begins. For the next hour, we have individual workouts, so myself and three other guards on our team work out with the wing position coach. We go through a whole series of drills— ball handling, shooting, and footwork— to strengthen our skills. During every workout, our coaches push us to get better, and they also expect us to push one another because that is how we get better as a team and become more successful. Then after practice, we typically stay to get up a few more shots.

Then, I head back to the locker room to work on a little bit of homework, while the second group of players has their individuals. At 4:45, we have a pickup, where the players on my team, along with some of our male practice players come to play a few basketball games for fun— but it often gets quite competitive. After about an hour or so of games, I head back to the locker room to shower, and then head to the dining hall for dinner around 6:00 with my teammates again.

After dinner at around 6:30, I head to my room, and I do homework for 2 to 3 hours. Most of the work that I usually have is reading for my classes and writing papers. After finishing up work, I will typically hang out with friends for a bit or watch an episode on Netflix— right now that would be Riverdale. After a long day of workouts and classes I am usually exhausted and longing for my bed so I go to sleep between 10:00 and 10:30.

YOUR JOURNEY STARTS HERE