There’s a simple reason football, and really most other sports, has grown into a year-round pursuit for many athletes.
The body is a machine that requires constant upkeep to operate at a peak level. The skills surely matter too, and there are arguments about honing them constantly or diversifying to avoid overuse.
But athletes can gain a lot from living well and treating their bodies correctly. It’s not always the easiest to get a young person, athlete or not, to do that. College football players fall into that category, and while teams can do a lot, with offseason-scheduled lifts and training tables to feed players, much falls on their shoulders.
“Anybody can do what’s asked of them when they’re in the building,” South Carolina offensive line coach Eric Wolford said. “What about when you’re away from the building?”
To a degree, that’s about getting in extra time in the weight room. He said in the past, a player like Blake Camper only attended when things were scheduled. Tight end Hayden Hurst, now getting ready for the NFL draft, was known as a constant presence on those weekends when no one said he needed to come in (and it paid off).
Wolford had some other key tips:
▪ Get eight hours sleep
▪ Taking care of one’s body
▪ Eating, especially enough protein
Although Wolford didn’t mention it, Will Muschamp has pointed to hydration as something players are responsible for numerous times.
The head coach had to have a talk with tailback Rico Dowdle, potentially his top running back, about what he called “hydration, living the right way, getting the right amount of sleep and straining all the time.”