July 26, 2018

The Pro Player Timeline: Daily

This is the final overview post for The Pro Player Timeline. The other ones are the year Overview and for a strong Weekly schedule. After these overview posts will come the individual months and days (Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday-Friday-Saturday-Sunday) broken down to really stay organized and on task throughout the entire year.

The individual month posts will be posted on the first of each month in 2019. However, the Google calendar is already available to be accessed and used!

Each day is the backbone of how your life will look like and build up around you. The details aren't just important, they're everything. Of course, nobody needs to feel trapped into a certain routine; the idea is to create positive habits that contribute to your success in life and in sports.

These habits are guidelines to what you can do to make your day-to-day activities support your athlete lifestyle and can be tailored in any way to fit you best.

Wake-Up Time

Based on when you have to be where for your team, this time could be anything from 6:00 AM to 10:00 AM. I recommend something generally between 8:00 AM to 9:00 AM to feel your best. Keeping your wake-up time consistent will keep your body in rhythm and start each day the same.

First Thing

My first thing is to drink a glass of water then catch up on the emails and texts from the night before. Some might take a shower, others go straight to their breakfast, some want to read a book, others do best by brushing their teeth and getting dressed right away. Whatever your thing is, make it your way of waking up fresh and ready to take on the day.

Morning Nutrition

People don't just say, "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day," for fun. It's because it actually is. I know way too many people who say they can't eat breakfast. Your body may not be used to it and that's why it feels weird, but making breakfast a priority will eventually bring your body around to the idea that you can be a breakfast person. You shouldn't drive a car on an empty tank of gas, and you shouldn't start your day on an empty stomach either!

Quiet Time

This can be as simple as taking five minutes to just be silent and calm. You can do breathing exercises, have a meditation session, or use it as your prayer time. You can even just read a chapter of a book or write in a notebook/journal to create this space of silence that can prepare your mind and heart to absorb the rest of the day. This may seem like an awkward time for super social people or for someone who doesn't like being quiet or alone...but that means this time is especially crucial for you to actually self-reflect and listen instead of allowing distractions to fill up the sound space.

You can also use this time to reflect on your actual sport performance in practices and matches. It is a great decision to take notes on what you have learned, how your body felt, any interactions you noticed within your team, and what you want to improve. This can be done with a pen and notebook or digitally in your mobile phone notes section.

The idea to keep a sports notes journal is from volleyball players Cassidy Pickrell and Mira Heimrich.

Morning Activity

For most pro athletes, this activity is morning workout or practice. For others who don't have double days everyday, this time frame can be used for an outing, finishing up chores, running errands, or a creative project. Whatever it is that you'll be doing, your previous actions in the morning need to support the energy your body will need. The most important key is to not waste this time or give it up to laziness! "Morning movie time" should not become a thing, because all that's doing is taking hours away from the awesome life that waits outside your door in a totally unexplored world!

Midday Meal

Depending on the tightness of your schedule, you may want to consider preparing this meal in the morning or even the night before. If you have a solid chunk of time, you can use it to prepare a great lunch that replenishes your body after your morning activity and also prepares it for whatever is left in your day. Include a lot of water to maintain a high hydration level.

Early Afternoon Activity

This is either your choice or a team practice of some kind. If you have practice in the late afternoon/evening slot instead, this can actually be a good moment to rest and, yes, even take a nap or watch a movie. Pay attention to how your body reacts to napping and/or movie watching; I know for me, any practice I've ever tried to do after napping - no matter how many hours before or not - has been wacky. My body does not recover after naps well enough to perform sanely in a practice, so I use this early afternoon time to get things done. If I get totally caught up, then I use this time to prepare for the next day, whether it's meals, clothing choices, backpack packing, etc.


My go-to's are a granola bar and a banana. Make sure your snack fits with wherever you will be at the time; for me, I'm at the gym already, so it has to be quick and easy to eat with no clean-up. When I'm at home and can prepare a snack straight from the refrigerator, I'm making a fruit salad or enjoying vegetables and hummus. Definitely consider your schedule and how much time you have before your training begins because this should determine the kind of food you consume, how much food to eat, and exactly what time of the day to do it!

The idea to consider the timing of your food throughout the day is from volleyball player Caitlin Genovy.

Late Afternoon/Evening Activity

For most pro athletes, this is the main team practice of the day. If you're one of the lucky ones with an early afternoon training schedule, you can use this time to go out with friends, do laundry, or start making an elaborate dinner. The rest of us are sweating at training, and need to make sure we have brought all the necessary items with us to the gym. My bag always includes: the aforementioned snack, 2 pairs of sports shoes, ankle braces, knee pads, towel, full water bottle, elastic band for warm-up, foam roller, shampoo, change of clothes for after shower, and athletic tape. The earlier I have packed my bag for practice, the less I have to think about the rest of the day and can focus on what needs to be done in training. It is our job, after all.

Evening Refuel

Not pizza. Not French fries. Not cheeseburgers. Not ice cream. Not fast food or junk food of any kind!!! This is not about binging because we exercise a lot so our bodies can handle bad food. This is about what our bodies need to recover from the day and go into the next day strong. A variety of healthy vegetables and proteins is what your body is asking you for, so find your favorites and meet some new ones to create dinners both you and your body will love.

Recovery Habits

These can occur throughout the day as well. Ask around for a mobility and flexibility program that aligns with what your body needs. Incorporate yoga poses, set aside fifteen minutes for stretching, use the foam roller while watching TV, icing, heating, mashing, whirlpooling, soaking, whatever! We all have our preferred methods of recovery and some work better than others. The key is not only finding the method that works for helping your body feel strong, but also something that relaxes your body and mind to be able to go to sleep that night and feel rested again when you wake up the next day.

Sleep Routine

We are all relatively young when we start the pro athlete journey. Meaning we may still like staying up past midnight, playing video games late, Skyping with friends and family back home at odd hours, and so on.
Your sleep is your most important detail in your healthiness and preparation for playing sports. 
You should be doing this for at minimum eight to nine hours per night. You don't eat for that many hours, you don't do recovery exercises for that long, and you won't even usually work that many hours as a pro athlete. But, you do need that much sleep. Make sleep your priority.

Creating a "going to bed" routine can really help with your consistency. You can drink a tea, take a nice bath, listen to calming music, and start other healthy habits to get your mind and body ready to rest. I know for me personally, once I start brushing my teeth, my sleep routine begins.

Turn your phone to "do not disturb," or, even better, turn it completely off. Shut down your devices and the voices and the noises and rest your mind. By sleeping well, you'll be able to maintain that consistent wake-up time and be strong and ready to go for whatever your morning holds for you.

The idea to officially call it a "sleep routine" is from volleyball player Emily Thater

This basic daily schedule arrangement can be designed exactly to what your day needs. Sound off in the comments below with other tips and ideas you've used or seen work, too!

More info: Play Abroad 101
Navigating Sports Abroad

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