Getting an edge: How athletes prepare for their sports

How do different sports athletes’ routines compare with each other that help them perform to their best ability? Sports vary in different ways, like time, strength, and endurance. For example, soccer, baseball, and track and field long jump are three different sports. Soccer requires a lot of endurance because of constant running, baseball requires short bursts of energy and a quick reaction time, and track and field’s long jump involves a combination of strength and endurance. With research, I dug a little deeper into these sports.

Joe Young dribbles the ball around the opponent. Photo Credit: Stacy Young

Many know that a lot of running is involved with soccer. Players have to train for endurance, and it requires good leg muscles and an excellent heart to pump blood around the body: “I usually run and lift to get in shape for soccer. The most important [thing] is just continuing to practice,” Joe Young, class of 2025, stated. Young says that lifting for reps and running daily helps him through his JV soccer season at MSJ.

Drew Rybinski ’25 in a baseball game. Photo Credit: Perfect Game Staff

In comparison to soccer, baseball consists of fast, quick reactions and power. To generate this power, Drew Rybinski of the class of 2025 explains how he trains for power: “Most days, about 5 days a week, I try to lift weights because baseball is about strength and less about endurance, so [there is] not as much running but more about deadlifting heavy for quick, explosive movements.” Drew also practices his catching and hitting skills daily for an hour to prepare for a game.

A sport that people may not be as familiar with is the long jump event in track and field. To understand more about this sport, I asked class of 2023 Thomas Johnson III to explain his routine to prepare for a long jump event. “For long jump, I mostly just stretch then head over to the pit, where I do whatever drill my coach tells me to do,” Johnson said. “After practice most days, I go into the weight room and lift for reps.” Johnson also talked about how long jumping involves more strength than endurance because, “you want to run fast, jump high, and go as far as you can.” Comparing all three in the training aspect of the sport, the long jump, and soccer require lifting for reps, while baseball consists more of heavy, explosive lifting. All three sports require consistent days of training to get in the best shape.

Thomas Johnson III ’23 in a long jump event. Photo Credit: Caleb Turner

Aside from daily routines, athletes must watch what they eat to do their best in a game. Coincidentally, Joe Young, Drew Rybinski, and Thomas Johnson III have similar pre-game foods. Joe Young stated, “I usually don’t eat much before a game. I like to make sure I feel good, and my stomach sits right, so usually, I eat a protein bar.” Like Young, Rybinski does not eat breakfast but drinks a caffeinated energy drink right before a game. To combine Young and Rybinski’s pre-game snack, Johnson “eat[s] a protein bar and a protein shake with caffeine.” As you can see, these different sports have a similarity in pre-game meals, so any athlete can do their best.

Wrapping everything up, while many think that completely different sports require different training, most routines of any athlete are alike. For example, soccer and the long jump require lifting for reps, but baseball also is similar to the long jump because they are both strength sports rather than endurance sports. Comparing the foods, the three athletes, Joe Young, Drew Rybinski, and Thomas Johnson III, all eat minimal food before a game. Choosing and applying similar routines from all athletes can create a great all-around athlete.

Collin Park is a sophomore member of the Multimedia Journalism Class.