By Andrea Hudy, Sports Performance Coach for the NCAA Champion Kansas Jayhawks and author of Power Positions.
The term “Grind” is a word used in a variety of ways as it pertains to training. The definition of grind can mean different things to different people.
At Kansas University Athletics, we define “Grind” as the amount of consistently performed quality reps over time, whether they are physically exerted reps or behavioral reps for recovery.
If this were a math formula it would be:
Grind = Reps/Time
Sometimes the grind can be intense, but there are times when the grind can be less strenuous. What matters is the intent of what is being performed during this period. All repetitions need to be deliberate and skillful with the intent of developing recovery, athletic skills and position specific sequences that are outlined in Power Positions: Championship Prescriptions for Ultimate Sports Performance.
Different aspects of the grind include:
Rest and Recovery
One of the most important habits to develop is proper rest and recovery. Sleep is a big component in helping an athlete maintain a high level of performance. Proper sleep habits require 8 to 10 hours a night of quality sleep. This is directly related to reaction time and recovery, as well as memory and cognitive performance. Sleep deprivation can cause an inability to read patterns and remember important game strategies in an action-reaction sport setting. It is difficult to make up this deprivation from a tough week even over the course of the following few weeks. Healthy sleep habits will also help with hormone balances that can affect immune system functions.
Nutrition and Hydration
Nutrition and hydration are just as important in the off-season as they are in-season. Protein intake, hydration, and vitamins and minerals need to be examined and adjusted for the individual athlete.
- Protein Intake: 1g/lb bodyweight. (e.g. 200lb person needs 200g of protein per day)
- Hydration: 1 oz/lb bodyweight
- Vegetables: (8 servings/day) ensure proper vitamin and mineral levels
Self-Myofascial Release Techniques
Self-myofascial release techniques during the season help maintain healthy tissues to stay injury free. Examples include foam rolling or rolling on a lacrosse ball or softball. This is used to flush fluids and toxins out of the muscle to manage fatigue and decrease muscular stiffness.
Skill Development & Weight Training
Do you have enough reps under your belt from off-season training to be confident when you step on the court in season? Practice needs to contain obstacles and challenges to develop the persistence to take you through a long season. Strengths need to be maintained, but the focus should be on weak points. The more reps you practice, the more natural the movements will become.
When we talk of ‘The Grind,’ we talk about the Sleep, Nutrition, Hydration, Soft Tissue, Skill Development, and the Weight Training GRIND, because the process off the court is just as important as the performance on the court.