For athletes competing in the Big Ten, the off-season means anything but taking time off from their sport. Recovering physically and mentally from a long season is part of the routine: the time to build strength, improve flexibility, and sharpen the mind for the demands of sports such as tennis, golf, gymnastics, rowing, and track and field. Five Scarlet Knights who compete in spring sports reveal their off-season routines.

Emily Mills
Sophomore, Golf

“We hit the gym and develop core and grip strength. I work on my 125- to 150-yard shots, yardages that are a strong aspect of my game. It’s easy to hit ball after ball at your target in practice; being able to perform under the pressure of competition is definitely a challenge.

“To overcome fear and doubt, you have to believe you’re a great player and capable of whatever you set your mind to. Golf is 100 percent mental.”

Bailey Irelan
Senior, Rowing

“My long-distance rowing and endurance can get me through any race, but the power I apply to every stroke could improve. I’ve been getting stronger in the weight room and practicing training at high stroke rates and high power output. I’m relatively small for a rower (5’6”), so that’s always been a struggle.

“Visualizing our race plan helps me prepare. And making a technical change in the boat or mastering an exercise in the weight room is a chance to improve. Overcoming obstacles makes me stronger.”

Emma Hoffman
Red-shirted senior, Gymnastics

“I’m trying to upgrade my floor routine, to where I was before my Achilles injury. In the off-season, we work on conditioning and strength so that when the time comes, we can put everything together.

“I picture myself doing the routines over and over, knowing that I can do everything in competition that I’ve done in practice. There’s definitely fear to overcome. I tell myself that the coach would never ask me to do anything he didn’t think I was capable of doing.”

Mariam Zein
Senior, Tennis

“I work on strength and weight lifting twice a week, practice tennis twice a week, and do three days of conditioning.

“I work with my coaches on foot positioning for the forehand before the opponent’s shot crosses the net. Nerves sometimes get the best of me; that affects footwork and shot making. The most challenging part of mastering my forehand has been my confidence to hit good forehands when matches are close.

“By visualizing myself playing good tennis during a match, hitting shots I know I can hit, I put myself in the most confident state of mind to compete.”

Gabrielle Farquharson SAS’15
Graduate student, track (sprints and jumps)

“I’m coming back from an injury to my hamstring. When I feel pain, it’s time for stretching, exercises in the weight room, and lighter work on the track to avoid irritation. I changed my diet to stay healthy.”