For those of us who do football in the fall and basketball/hockey in the winter, the beginning of February is when we can start to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Don’t get me wrong, I love every second of it, but I can’t help but feel worn down this time of year. Many factors go into this feeling, including: late nights, early mornings, long drives, and way too much gas station pizza. On the other hand, tournaments and playoffs are just around the corner, and we as broadcasters want to be at our very best. Here are a few tips from my experience that have helped me to finish the season strong.
Get Sleep When You Can: Full disclosure, this is not a big problem for me anymore. Most of the teams I cover are within 45 minutes of my apartment, so I don’t have many super late nights. However, during my five years covering an NAIA college I had plenty of experience getting home well past midnight on a consistent basis.
What I found during this time is that it was extremely important to get sleep on off days. No going out or staying up watching the west coast games on TV. If I knew I was likely to be home at 3am the next day, I made sure to be asleep by 10-11pm at the latest the night before.
On the occasions when there were back-to-back games, or for whatever reason going to bed at a decent time wasn’t an option, finding a time to get a 15-20 minute cat nap an hour or so before I was scheduled to leave really helped to refresh me for the evening. Just make sure to keep these naps short. If you sleep too long and get into the deep sleep cycle it will make you groggy and slow, the opposite of what you want.
Carbo Load: While broadcasting is far from manual labor it does take energy to talk with inflection and enthusiasm for hours at a time. This time of year I make sure to get a meal with good complex carbs sometime during the day. I can say that I personally keep the area Subway in business. I also make a habit of chowing down on a granola bar upon arriving at the gym.
Last Resorts: Sometimes the world conspires against us. We get home late, get up early, and are so busy that there is no time for anything but snacks or fast food before a game. When this happens I always grab a Cliff Bar, a bag of Skittles, and something caffeinated. I consume the Cliff Bar and caffeinated drink right as I get into the gym and eat half the bag of Skittles for a sugar rush right before pregame. The combination of sugar and caffeine gets me off to an energetic start and as the game continues adrenaline takes over. If for whatever reason I find myself dragging at some point late in the game, a few more Skittles during a break provides another short energy burst to get to the finish line. This is obviously not an especially healthy practice, so only use this as a last resort.
Remember You Love This: Before my last game as I walked into the gym a fan said, “Another night of basketball huh?” I said yes, but that there is nothing I’d rather be doing. I still get a rush every time I hear the opening imaging and welcome the audience to another broadcast. Even when I’m running on fumes, I still love what I do and remind myself how lucky I am to get paid to watch games!
I’ll be ready for a few weeks off the mic to recover in mid-March, but for now I’m tired but excited for an exciting finish to another season broadcasting basketball!
Do you have any methods to get through the late season grind with your sanity? Leave a not in comments section below!