The Committed Athlete, On And Off The Field

Over the past two years, Pleasant Valley High School and Chico High School have implemented an initiative called Athlete Committed, helping to educate over 4,000 parents and student athletes on how to get the best out of their athletic ability and to perform at their highest level. In partnership with Butte County Behavioral Health’s Prevention Unit, Chico Unified School District is the first school district in California to take on this initiative. Athlete Committed provides support to local athletes, coaches and parents, and urges athletes to renew their commitment to living a life of excellence on and off the field.

Here are some tips for achieving your goals:

Commitment

  • Living the life of an athlete means waking up every day with a purpose of working toward your goals. Train your mind, your body and your spirit, so that you know you have done all that is possible to prepare and to be your best. Think about the choices you make off the field, as they affect what you do on the field.

Excellence

  • How important to you is your athletic career? Are you focused? Are you doing anything that prevents you from achieving your goals? Choose a destiny of excellence – the more you think about it, talk about it and write about it, the more you increase the chance of it happening. Dedication really is worth its weight in gold (and silver and bronze too)!
  • Surround yourself with positive people, places and things. Refuse to associate with any person, place or thing that keeps you from your goals. For example, there is more of a chance you will drink or smoke if you hang out with people who are drinking and smoking.

Health

  • Sleep is a clear predictor of performance! With eight to ten hours of sleep athletes perform faster, stronger, and with more accuracy. A Stanford University sleep study shows that the average teen in America today gets a mere six hours and forty minutes of sleep per night!
  • “Post exercise” nutrition is critical to recovery. The John Underwood American Athletic Institute recommends that athletes consume a sweet drink with electrolytes (4-6oz.), and consume a liquid protein (12-16oz.) and carbohydrates (75g). Within one hour of training, eat a nutritious meal (i.e., dinner).
  • Consumption of alcohol directly relates to decreased athletic performance in key factors related to the success of an athlete: alcohol use decreases speed, acceleration, endurance, agility, strength and concentration. The residual effect of alcohol or a hangover has been shown to reduce performance by an average of 11.4% in elite athlete performance. According to the American Athletic Institute, one night of heavy drinking projects losses of as much as two weeks of training effect.
  • Do not let other people choose if or when you will drink alcohol or use other drugs. Make that choice for yourself. Don’t let alcohol keep you from reaching your full potential and goal of excellence. Your team, your school and your community are behind you.
  • A UCLA study on brain development reveals that the most significant period of mature brain development in the human lifespan occurs during the ages of 12-21. If athletes and teams do not unite to eliminate underage drinking and drug use, the result may be lost dreams, lost futures, lost hope and lost lives.

Photos: Steve Chollet

Take Action

People and programs earn more respect for the way they do things than for the fact that they win games – that’s what sets them apart from others. Your own character is reflected most by whom you choose to be with. Choosing not to drink or use drugs isn’t enough. Choose not to drink alcohol or use other drugs AND choose not to be in the presence of anyone who is drinking alcohol or using other drugs.

  • The way you conduct yourself prior to, during and following a game unquestionably impacts everyone involved. Make those who came before you and those who will come in the future proud of your team.
  • In team meetings discuss the team formula for success and what that looks like on and off the field. Organize post-game events for your team that do not include drugs and alcohol. Check in with your teammates to seek out parties where no alcohol, tobacco or other drugs are available. Support each other and hold each other accountable.
  • Be a good role model for younger athletes – they watch you and wait for the day to wear your jersey. Teach them how to be committed and how to strive for excellence.
  • Share your athletic goals with your family and friends. Get them involved in your commitment to be an athlete who leads with passion, dedication and determination. Your family and friends can help you reach your goals.

Raise the bar to create your own personal best! As track and field coach and co-founder of Nike, Inc., Bill Bowerman says, “Great things only happen to people who expect great things to happen to them.”

Danelle Campbell
About Danelle Campbell

Danelle Campbell is Program Manager of the Prevention Unit for Butte County Behavioral Health. In addition, she provides consultation, facilitation and training at local, state and national levels.

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