This is the second article for Empire of Soccer by the NWSL and Boston Breakers player Tiffany Weimer. The Connecticut native and former star at Penn State who has played professionally in the U.S., Canada and abroad offers an inside look at the care and feeding of a soccer player. This week focuses on the importance of good habits.
By TIFFANY WEIMER
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Preseason is over. The 2017 National Women’s Soccer League season is here.
That means we are sailing smoothly into our own routines we’ll be able to uphold for at least six or seven months.
This brings me to one of my favorite books, “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg.
“When a habit emerges, the brain stops fully participating in decision making,” he writes. “It stops working so hard, or diverts focus to other tasks. So, unless you deliberately fight a habit — unless you find new routines — the pattern will unfold automatically.”
The more I’ve lived, the more I’ve learned that the fewer decisions I have to make in a day, the better my day is.
I wake up between 6:30 and 7 a.m. every day. I take all my old-people vitamins and chug water. We are required to fill out an app called Fit for 90 every day. We are to provide information like how many hours we slept, how our body feels, our stress levels and hydration level. It’s quite detailed and the coaches receive the information before we train.
Breakfast I have been eating the same breakfast on training days for the past seven years: Oatmeal, honey, peanut butter and a banana with a cup of coffee. I am lucky I found something that works with my stomach and energy level. Since I’m not living at home during the season, I make my bed and also wash my own dishes … booyah mom.
Before leaving my apartment, I have a packing check sheet: Clothes to change into; protein bar; protein shaker bottle; lunch.
Then, I’m on my way.
The players arrive at training having done our Fit for 90, with our shaker bottles, by 9:30 a.m. Failure to comply results in a fine.
Once in the locker room, we can get treatment from the trainer for anything that might be bothering us … heat with some heat packs, chats, and get dressed for training. That includes a sports bra to hold a GPS tracker and a heart-rate monitor. Failure to have those and return them after training also results in a fine.
Next Step Weigh-in, check our ankle and hamstring mobility, and get to foam rolling, stretching and muscle activation, which are done inside.
After a morning full of good habits, it’s finally time to step on the field for training. Training usually lasts for 90 minutes to two hours. Some days we have tactical meetings afterward, some days we have weights in the gym. We’re lucky because all our facilities and resources are in the same location on the campus of Harvard University.
Doing the little things is a reminder that we are professionals and performing at our peak depends on them.
With training over, the players fill out their Fit for 90 again so coaches know how difficult training was for each individual. Then it’s shower, eat and home for the day.
On a typical day, we get home between 2 and 3 p.m.; then the rest of the day is ours, which I’ll can get into more in future communiques.
Some quick hits:
This Week’s Mission Prepare for our first game of the season against FC Kansas City on Sunday
Company Shout Out Trimino protein infused water
I’m Reading “Mind Gym” by Gary Mack and David Casstevens
I’m Watching “Baby Daddy” (on Netflix)
Coffee Break Crema Café in Harvard Square
Teammate of the Week Morgan Andrews. She has a great attitude. I haven’t heard her complain at all and she handles herself in a mature way for a rookie. After training, I’ve seen her help the staff pack all the gear.
Advice If you’re waiting for someone to tell you what it takes to become a professional soccer player you might end up like the skeleton in the anatomy classroom waiting for your big break. Take it upon yourself to make your life what it needs to be to get where you want to be. Don’t wait for someone to save you from yourself.