Morning Practice: The Time Crunch


Sangeet Brar, Reporter

5:30 a.m.: Time to get up for morning practice

5:45 a.m.: Morning practice begins

7:00 a.m.: Morning practice ends, and it’s time to get ready for class

7:45 a.m.: Classes begin

2:45 p.m.: School is out

3:30 p.m.: After-school practice begins

5:15 p.m.: Practice is over, and its time to go home

7:00 p.m.: Begin homework

11:00 p.m.: Sleep

This is the schedule for an average Varsity water polo player. These athletes and many others at school have a lot to do on a single day. With multiple practices and homework, many admittedly feel that they have too much on their plates.

With morning practices a couple times a week, girls have to get up at least two hours earlier than they would on any other day. Additionally, because of practice after school and tons of homework when they get home, they don’t go to bed until 11 p.m. or later.

Six hours of sleep is not enough for a developing teenager. According to UCLA’s Sleep Disorder Center, adolescents need around nine to ten hours of sleep per night. Without an ample amount of rest, performance in athletics, school and health begin to deteriorate.

Though morning practice is held in order to enhance the athletes’ ability and work on things that the team doesn’t have time for during after-school practice, the athletes themselves say it is becoming increasingly harder to manage their work. “Personally, I get really tired,” says senior Sophie Post, a Varsity water polo player. “On A Days it’s kind of hard because we’re here for like 12 hours.”

But varsity water polo coach John Muir values morning practice because it is a time for his athletes to become better and stronger players. During this time the girls stretch, run and swim. While other schools like Mitty don’t allow the extra practice, Presentation does, and he says, “It’s an opportunity that we need to take advantage of.”

With the extra practice in the morning that is focused on conditioning, some students agree that their morning practices help them become a stronger athlete. Varsity field hockey player Emma Russell says, “It helps us get in shape, and I like it.” Varsity field hockey only has morning practices on Fridays, and Russell says the only downside is that she has to get up at 4:45 a.m. on that day to get to school by 6 a.m.

Indeed, according to Fox News, “Working out in the morning can boost energy for the rest of the day. An a.m. workout jump-starts the metabolism in the same vein that eating breakfast does. The thermal effect of exercise lasts at least four hours after a workout.” This not only increases the amount of calories an athlete burns but also helps her focus in class.

But views differ within field hockey. “Morning practices are usually for conditioning,” says junior Senna Kadah, a J.V. field hockey player, “I think it’s beneficial, but it’s not what we really need for the team. We need to work on our stick skills rather than just running.”

For field hockey, the athletes only have one practice a day, so if they have morning practice they don’t have one after school.With only one practice the field hockey girls are able to finish their homework and get the proper rest they need.

Similarly, in cross-country, girls only have one practice a day. On Tuesdays and Fridays the cross-country athletes meet at school at 6 a.m. to begin their run – usually 5 to 6 miles for varsity. “Morning practice days are the best,” says Mary Claire Simone, a cross-country runner, “if you don’t finish homework, you can get it done in the morning after the run. Plus, after school we have so much time since we don’t have to go run somewhere.”

Morning practice may affect some players negatively by preventing them from doing their homework or getting enough sleep, but many of the athletes, including Simone, mention the importance of time management. If you get enough sleep the night before, organize yourself for the next day, and save long-term assignments for the weekend, morning practices are “worth it.”

Simon says not only strengthens their running ability but also their bond as a team, which is why morning practices are essential. “Since it’s one of our relaxing days it can be fun because we don’t have pressure to run fast. It’s freezing and dark, and I think it brings out the sassy side of our team because we are all usually bitter and cold, but we suffer together. So it’s definitely a bonding experience.”