Imagine finally laying down in bed for the night. As exhaustion takes over your body and your body finally relaxes, you get to sleep, but as fast as sleep comes, it goes away. The sound of your alarm wakes you from the deep slumber, and you’ve only gotten five hours of sleep.
Still tired, you get ready as you know the priority you hold to the team and yourself to go to the morning practice. You sit up and get ready for another long day ahead of you.
If there is anything that most people can relate to, it is the contentment of being able to get a good eight to nine hours of sleep a night. However, there are a handful of people who give up that happiness in order to play a sport that they love. While most high school sports have after school practices, the hockey and swim/diving team have morning practices as well.
A couple drawbacks of morning practices are lack of sleep and exhaustion. Students also have more stress because they have less time and energy to work on school work or to hang out with friends and family. A few good things about the practices are that they help players improve their skills and get more time to bond with their teammates.
Two sports that hold morning practices are swimming and hockey. Both sports are time consuming with with either practices or games at least 6 times out of the week. It’s no wonder the students who participate in these sports are exhausted.
In a study done by Nationwide Childrens, a website that researches children’s and teenager’s ways of living, says, “Teenagers need about nine to nine and a half hours of sleep at night.”
The main cause of the lack of sleep in teens is a shift in their sleep schedule, like not going to sleep at a regular time every night or waking up at different times in the morning.
Loy Norrix senior Noel Cavey plays for the Kalamazoo United (K.U.) hockey team. He has been playing hockey for 12 years and four of those have been in high school. Cavey says he wakes up at 5 a.m. for his 5:45 a.m. morning practice. Though morning practice for the hockey team is only once a week on Fridays, it is still a struggle for Cavey and the team to wake up early every week.
“The worst part of morning practice is waking up and not getting enough sleep the night before,” Cavey said.
When asked how many hours of sleep he gets a night when having morning practices, Cavey said about 6 or 7.
Jacob Remelius is a senior at Loy Norrix who also plays on the K.U. hockey team. Remelius shares the same thoughts as Cavey, although Remelius wakes up at 4:40 a.m. on morning practice days and gets only four hours of sleep, so he is more tired than Cavey.
Though morning practices may be tiring to the players, morning practices are also beneficial to the teams, as demonstrated by K.U.’s 2015-2016 hockey season. Cavey had the team’s highest statistics with 15 points through goals and assists. Remelius received eight points with goals and assists before he missed the last half of the season due to injury. Now, during the 2016-2017 season, both Remelius and Cavey currently have the highest statistics on the team in the two games they’ve played in the current season. Both players have helped the team progress with more points, leading to more wins.
Not only is the morning practice helping out the hockey team, early morning swimming helped the Loy Norrix swimmers improve.
The men’s swim and diving team put in a lot of work during their last season as well. The team’s overall record now stand at eight wins, one loss and one tie. Hockey and swim teams have improved their overall records since last year. For the first time in years the hockey team is currently undefeated as they are 10-0. The men’s swim and diving team had an overall record last year of 8-1-1 and are currently 1-0-0 as they begin the season. It’s easy to see that both hockey and swim teams are benefitting from the extra morning practices that they have fit into their schedules.
Jim Youngs, junior at Loy Norrix, has been on the swim team for all three years of high school. Youngs wakes up at 5:00 a.m. for his morning practices begin at 6:00 a.m. The men’s swim team practices four times a week in the morning.
“The worst part of morning practice is waking up for it and [getting in] the cold pool, it’s awful,” explained Youngs. “I get seven hours of sleep if I’m lucky.”
Although most of the players on both teams aren’t excited to have morning practice, there are a few who see the morning practice as a way to improve the team performance.
Loy Norrix senior Vaughn Taylor, like most, isn’t fond of morning practices because of the lack of sleep and how tiring it can be. However, Taylor believes they do help the team improve.
“Morning practices are essential to us to become better swimmers,” explained Taylor. “I try to get as much sleep as I can and I sacrifice other time that I could spend doing fun things so that I can go to morning practice. I think that it helps propel us as a team to our end goals.”
Even though morning practices aren’t a favorite, they are helpful to the teams and allow players to improve. Though the players on both teams may be suffering from lack of sleep and exhaustion due to the practices, the players are getting more goals in hockey and setting personal records in swim with their hard work and dedication.