As an athlete, achieving optimal performance involves practicing hard, hitting the weight room, and being on top of your game, both mentally and physically. This is true whether you play on an intercollegiate team, a club team or recreational team.
However, many athletes understimate how alcohol, even a few drinks, can nullify hard work by erasing the effects of your workouts, reducing your endurance, and compromising you mental game.
It is important to know the facts, so that you can weigh both the cost and benefits of alcohol use.
Why Do Athletes Drink?
- Stress from hometown/family expectations for success on the college level
- Academic stress—There are tests, exams, quizzes, papers, and presentations in addition to practice, film, weights, long bus rides, physical therapy, and games.
- Coaches/team pressure to perform - This may cause stress and anxiety that is temporarily relieved by the effects of alcohol.
- Campus, community, and national fans' expectations – Athletes may be expected to be "super human". Players often have to cope with their everyday issues without it changing their performance. "When you step on the field or floor, nothing else matters."
- Missing out on a social life—Between academics and athletics, there is little time to have fun in a social setting. When there's finally a day off from practice, it's very tempting to "make it worth it" which leads to increased use in one sitting.
- Success and notoriety perks - Free alcohol and other drugs from fans, admirers, and friends at parties
- Popularity and social setting expectations - "Loosening up" with a few drinks to be more social and appealing to others.
How Alcohol Affects Muscle Development and Recovery
How Alcohol Affects Your Ability to Learn New Plays and Strategies
How Alcohol Affects Nutrition and Endurance