Summer Workouts: Ignore at Your Own Peril

My transition to St John’s University was not an easy one. I made a last-minute decision to leave Siena in upstate New York, and instead further my academic and athletic career somewhere else. By April I reached my decision to attend St. John’s in the Fall semester of 2011.


I was so excited about my decision to leave Siena. For one thing, I was going to be in New York City studying journalism, which everyone knows is one of the media capitals of the world.


In addition, I was going to be joining a program in the Big East, one of the best Division I conferences. Knowing all of this, I was truly focused more on the long-term benefits rather than short-term benefits.


Going into summer of 2011, I was probably only focused on being in New York City and enjoying all of the sights and opportunities that awaited me. Volleyball was the last thing on my mind, which is funny because volleyball was one of the main reasons why I chose St. John’s in the first place.


I didn’t train this past summer the way that I should have. I actually did not touch a single volleyball for that entire summer. I thought, “I was a Division I athlete at my other school so how can the two programs be THAT different?”


Boy, did I miscalculate. When our team was ordered to arrive on campus by Aug. 8, 2011, I had my work cut out for me. The second day after arriving we were tested on fitness, which proved to the coaching staff and the athletic trainer whether we trained like we should have in the summertime.


I had spoken to my teammates about the physical aspect of the program consisted of and from what they told me I knew I could handle it. The requirements seemed easy — run a mile under ten minutes and do sprints. Well, I ran the mile in under ten minutes, but apparently that wasn’t good enough since we had a punishment right after everyone had finished.


All I could think was, “what on earth did I get myself into?” I would receive emails from the athletic trainer recommending that the volleyball team perform certain tasks. I did some of them but it obviously wasn’t enough. It wasn’t just me that wasn’t in top shape — half the team seemed to have done nothing either. That is definitely a reason why we had such a poor season.


At least I was prepared for the academic aspect of being at St John’s. Luckily I have never had any issues performing well in the classroom, and I have one of the highest GPAs on the team. At least I know I contributed in that sense.


However, for the physical part, I relied too much on my natural athleticism and didn’t take training as seriously. This is one of the reasons why I did not get as much court time as I had hoped.


Because of what happened when I underestimated what I signed up for by being on the St John’s team, I now overdo every little task that is thrown my way. Going through what I went through in the preseason was awful and I personally believe it is better to perform everything at 150 percent effort rather than 50 percent.


Brennan Johnson is a junior on the St. John’s volleyball team. She will be writing about her experiences throughout the semester.