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Men's gymnastics team balances training and academics

BY JACK ROSSI | DECEMBER 19, 2013 5:00 AM

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The end of the semester, for many, is time to study rigorously for finals. However, for the men’s gymnastics team, it will include keeping a balance between working in the gym and succeeding as a student-athlete.

Head coach JD Reive and Company will work on a limited basis this week in the gym while also having to deal with finals. For most of the Hawks, the key is to stay focused during a stressful time of year.

Reive knows that this week will be rough for most guys, and he has planned accordingly for a drop in performance. Gymnasts may come and go as they need to so long as they get their assignments done for the week.

“It’s really hard to stay focused over these last two weeks. Everything is voluntary at this point in time as far as practice goes,” Reive said. “We reiterate continuously what we are training for, that first meet in mid-January, and keep reminding them that the meet is the focus. It is real easy to go down after the Black and Gold, and the intensity drops a bit, but they have done a good job of keeping that up.”

For junior Lance Alberhasky, the gym is actually a place of tranquility in which his mind can relax and where school is not the No. 1 priority.

“Coming in [the gym] takes my mind off of things. Once I come out of it, I am refreshed, and I can study a little bit more,” he said. “I can’t study in bunches, so it’s good to break it up.”

This is also the Hawkeyes’ longest break between meets, and while down time is not the greatest thing for gymnasts, it will definitely help their bodies as they recover from training.

“It can be good, and it can be bad,” junior Mitch Landau said. “Sometimes, it sucks because you can get a little lenient and get out of the mindset of competing … It’s nice because the off time gives us a lot of time to rest our bodies to get ready for the next practice.”

Reive knows that the gymnasts are progressing even though they are spending less time training in the gym.

“This is all factored in; we work really, really hard so that this is a deserved break, and physically, they get benefit from it,” he said. “In that sense, we are still progressing as long as they put in the work prior, then the recovery time physically and mentally is beneficial to them.”

The team will return from their winter break on Dec. 30, and they will hit the gym with great intensity. Most likely with two-a-days for most of the rest of break until the academic year resumes on Jan. 21, 2014.


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