A Cavalier's guide to success

Fueling the body and mind as a Cabrini athlete

By Samantha Taddei
October 30, 2022

Many weights and exercise machines fill the room.
Cabrini's strength and conditioning room. Photo by Cabrini Athletics.

There is no doubt the Cavaliers leave it all on the field each game, but how much of their success is due to pre-game rituals?

“There is a lot more that goes into preparation as an athlete than just the practices,” Jalen Hammond, junior soccer defender for Cabrini men’s soccer, said. “There is meal planning, physical training, mental preparation, and so much more.”

Fueling up

Natalie Morris, sophomore midfielder for Cabrini women’s soccer, and Amanda Elwell, junior forward for Cabrini women’s soccer, have a strict routine when it comes to their eating habits on game day. The night before a game, Morris and Elwell stock up on carbohydrates and eat a pasta meal so they’re energized to perform at a high level the next day.

Amanda Elwell throwing in the ball. Photo by Erica Zebrowski.

“We definitely try to fuel up and eat healthy, eating lots of chicken, pasta, and carbs,” Elwell said. “We also make sure to drink a lot of water the 24 hours leading up to a game.”

Morris and Elwell said their breakfasts consist of electrolytes and protein. They don’t overeat on game days and prefer playing on a somewhat empty stomach. Morris said she won’t eat anything two hours prior to game time.

“As a student athlete, it is vital that we are putting the nutrients into our bodies that will allow us to perform at our very best for each and every game,” Morris said.

Staying in top physical condition 

Jake Eagle, junior first baseman for Cabrini men’s baseball team, broke down all the ways he and his team stay active and loose for game days.

The day before a game, the baseball team will usually lift weights with Strength and Conditioning Coach Dustin Malandra. Eagle said on the morning of games, players lift in the gym before meeting at the field to get their bodies ready.

Jake Eagle is pictured front left with the Cabrini baseball team. Photo by Tyler O’Connor.

Eagle said another part of his routine is stretching in the training room.

On game days, Eagle said the training room is packed with student athletes. They utilize Cabrini’s trainers to heat and ice sore muscles, get scraped and taped, and make sure their bodies are ready to withstand the physical strain and demands of their sports.

“I always like to make sure my body is in top condition as an athlete,” Eagle said. “I have learned the hard way that neglecting the proper care of your body will only hurt you in the long run.”

The right mindset

Staying in top physical condition is vital for every athlete, but for Eagle, the most important preparation for game day is the mental aspect. Mental attributes like self-confidence, motivation, and focus help athletes advance to a higher level of performance.

Getting his team and himself hyped up is what really gets the team ready for game day. “When we are warming up before the game, that is where all the energy comes from,” Eagle said. “We all take that time to cheer each other on while we are making plays which keeps our energy high.”

Optimizing performance involves more than increasing technical competence; it goes hand in hand with meal planning, physical care, and mental readiness.

“Game day preparation is important for athletes because preparing properly puts you in a great position to perform to the best of your ability. Without it, it’s very likely you can go out there and get injured, or walk off the field wishing you did more or planned better,” Hammond said.

Samantha Taddei

Samantha Taddei is a junior here at Cabrini University. She is a 20 year old Communications major with a minor in Leadership studies and business. Sam is also a student athlete and plays on the Cabrini softball team. In her spare time, she likes to read and write. Her love for writing is what inspired her to join the Loquitur. She has also recently joined the Cabrini Communications department's new project, House 67, where she will be talking all about Cabrini athletics every Thursday night on air. She hopes to one day become a journalist and share her work with everyone on a national scale.

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