The Gain Train Has Left The Station

By Alex Bires

The baseball season is beyond its halfway point, and that means mid-season fatigue is setting in. Fastball velocity can dip a couple miles per hour, the break on curveballs becomes less crisp, and hitting batting practice home runs becomes a struggle. The cause is known as “the grind”. Daily practice for two months finally takes its toll on even the most athletic players, resulting in a 1-2 week drop-off. It can be easy for slumping athletes to turn to the weight room. Although natural, this reaction can be detrimental to a recovering body, and dig the player a deeper hole.

Mid-season fatigue is pervasive throughout Tam athletes, as senior basketball player Noah Haynesworth can attest.

“Yeah, it definitely hits you, because you’ve been going at it for so long,” Haynesworth said. Girls’ basketball player and fellow senior Kimi Wu echoed his statement.

“It can get really exhausting, especially for the girls who play a lot,” she said. Coming back from fatigue usually doesn’t take more than resting outside of practice and getting more sleep. But for the few that can’t rebound quickly, panic that you’ll never get back to peak form can mount. Jack Duboff, another senior basketball player, knows the downsides of overexerting the body during season.

“It can make[fatigue] worse if you are overworking yourself,” Duboff said. He’s supported by medical science: according to Monica Hubal PhD, an exercise physiologist, “You want to go into a maintenance phase.” In other words, using a minimal exercise routine that targets a few key muscles with low intensity is best. A regimen that puts too much stress on sport specific muscles is a recipe for injury.

According to Wu, the girls basketball team doesn’t participate in in-season lifting.

“[We] spend more time recovering by taking care of our bodies outside of the gym,” she said. Instead, the girls use ice, heating pads, and a rigorous stretching routine to stay in shape. It’s no mystery to me that the girls team has won 23% more of their games than the boys in the past 5 years. Among other factors, allowing and helping the body to recover is certainly a cause for the girls’ success, who haven’t been under .500 since 09’-10’.