Morning Practice Harms More Than It Helps

Sophomore+Mariel+Salem+and+Junior+Varsity+Coach+Brad+Allen+strike+a+sassy+pose+in+front+of+the+set+for+morning+practice.

M. Rogers

Sophomore Mariel Salem and Junior Varsity Coach Brad Allen strike a sassy pose in front of the set for morning practice.

Meghan Rogers, Staff Writer

Your alarm goes off at 5:15. In a sleepy stupor, you collect everything you need for the day and drive to Miramonte, two and a half hours earlier than all other students. No, you’re not here for military training, but morning swim practice. As you crawl into the lukewarm water and begin to swim in the darkness, you wonder if this practice is really helping you become a better swimmer. It’s not.

Morning practice is a well-known part of all high school swim teams and is dreaded throughout the year.  For JV, it happens every Thursday and for varsity every Monday and Wednesday.

The be-there time is 5:30, so getting up in the early hours of the morning is bad enough alone. Most high school students need roughly nine hours of sleep each school night. On a day with morning practice, students would have to be asleep at 8:30 to get these nine hours. Of course, this is almost impossible for most. Many students would find it difficult to finish their homework before then, on top of after school activities. Waking up so early also disturbs families, as many swimmers are unable to drive themselves to practice and require a parent to drive them.

Waking up so early is one thing, but the main problem with morning practice is what follows it. Swimmers must dress in the locker room after practice and go to class as a normal student, and after school attend the afternoon practice from 3:30-5:00. This means that on days with morning practice, swimmers have 12 hours of class and swimming alone, not to mention homework hours. This is far too long of a day for students.

Although students enter first period with energy, it quickly winds down until hitting exhaustion around fourth period. This is very unhealthy for students and can result in a decline in academics.

If the goal of morning practice is to have five practices a week, why not practice on Saturdays? Many other Miramonte sports have their practices on Saturday mornings, which would likely cause some complaining but is far better than a weekday morning. Two practices sandwiching a school day is too difficult and long of a day for a student, so being able to move the extra practice over to a weekend would be a wise choice for the health of the athletes.

Morning practice has always been a part of the swimming and water polo culture. But at what cost? Waking up early is not going to make you better at your sport and may even inflict harm on student athletes. Therefore, the morning practice should be moved to a weekend day to reduce stress.