Hockey teams face challenges of before school practices

Emma Kahn, Staff writer

Beep! Beep! Beep! You hit your alarm clock with as much force as you can muster for 4 a.m., sink back into your pillow, feeling your tired eyes close, then quickly jolt up. It’s time for hockey practice. Yes, hockey practice at 5:30 in the morning.

Though these practices build team morale, ultimately, the early morning practices are hard on the players of girls and boys hockey teams.

According to junior Isabel Howell, girls varsity hockey has morning practice twice a week at 5:30 a.m., and they are expected to be at the rink at 5 a.m. The boys varsity hockey team also had morning practice twice a week at 6 a.m., but they recently got rid of these practices according to the team’s captain senior Leo Battite.

“On Mondays, it’s easy to get up because you have a good night’s rest after the weekend, but Tuesday is definitely hard because you have stuff going on after school and you don’t get to bed until late, and then you have to get up like five hours later, so it’s pretty hard to get a good night’s sleep early in the week,” Battite said.

Howell also said that the practices are hard on her sleep.

“In order to get at least eight hours of sleep before your early morning practice, you have to be in bed at like 8:30, which is not possible for me because of the amount of homework I have,” Howell said.  “And then in the morning after practice, I physically have to drink a whole cup of coffee in order to stay awake, which isn’t the healthiest.”

The performance of the athletes is also not optimal in the morning, according to Battite.

“I think that some people don’t perform as well in the morning just because they’re still half-asleep, especially if they didn’t get a good night’s rest, opposed to if they were having practice during the afternoon or at night when they’re awake,” Battite said.

Sophomore Nick Dahlborg explained that practices are more beneficial after school.

“I think it’s way more beneficial as a team when you’re awake so you can learn all the plays properly instead of getting up so early and working out before school,” Dahlborg said. “I don’t think that’s really as beneficial as after school, but I do still think that it does help benefit the team.”

However, according to Howell, the timing of the practices can be nice because you can get your exercise done in the morning.

“Once you’re done exercising in the morning, you have the rest of the day to do homework and then you can get to bed earlier hopefully,” Howell said. “They’re just as relevant as any other practices we have although we bond a bit more in the morning because everyone’s all tired and groggy.”

Howell believes that the practices bring the team together more.

“It’s just kind of another thing that when you’re going through something like this with your team and you have to get up early and you have to stay late at night, it shows the commitment to the team and I mean, this is why I do it, I love hockey,” Howell said.

Though she procrastinates less so she can get to bed earlier, the lack of sleep contributes to difficulty concentrating in class, Howell said. 

“I’m getting up so early in the morning that sometimes it’s hard for me to focus in classes, so if I don’t have caffeine to motivate me and to help me stay awake, if I don’t get a good enough sleep, I’ll be falling asleep in class, which is really not that good,” Howell said.

According to Battite, if mornings were the only time their team could practice, it would be fine. However, now mornings are not the only time to practice. The boys varsity team now practices at 8 p.m., Battite said.

“I’m overall happy because I’d rather just have practice at night because it’s more convenient, and I’m not tired during school,” Battite said.

Battite believes the schedule changed because the school realized it was difficult for athletes and coaches to practice that early.

“We all like to play hockey, we know we have to practice, but if there was a different time or a different location we could do, that would be much better because getting up at six on Mondays and Tuesdays just kind of messes up your week,” Battite said.