High school athletes: Train hard, but find time to enjoy your summer

For high school athletes and educators throughout Maine, this is a fantastic time of year.

For educators, another school year has just wrapped up. The same goes for Maine’s best scholastic athletes, whose seasons came to an end last weekend with state championship hardware being handed out in baseball, softball and lacrosse. Some are saying goodbye to their high school academic and athletic careers, while others are preparing for another year of the grind that is high school.

We all know in Maine, winter is always just around the corner, even when the thermometer climbs well above 80 degrees. There are too many recreational opportunities that our state provides to even list in this space.

As a teenager, the time spanning mid June to mid August meant barbecues, swimming, lots of time with family and friends, playing golf, and pounding the pavement around greater Bangor.

Yes, for any high school athlete, summer training is a vital part of success, in particular for those who play a fall sport. Before we would embark on summer vacation, my cross country coach at Brewer High School, Glendon Rand, would map out training plans for all of us before practice would start up in mid-August.

When I’m not writing for this newspaper, I’m a fitness trainer at Union Street Athletics, and of course, I believe in the value of hard work. But I also believe in the value of enjoying precious moments with those close to you, and savoring memories outside of the athletic arena.

On a typical summer day at USA, our weight room is filled with high school and college-aged athletes, rigorously training for their next athletic season. Hard work is extremely important, but finding that proper balance is just as key.

The last thing young athletes need to do is burn themselves out at a young age. I was thankful enough to have coaches who believed in the importance of not overtraining, and a lot of high school coaches in Maine echo that sentiment.

You don’t have to train every day to be in prime shape for the upcoming fall season. However, in a lot of cases nowadays, we see a lot of athletes participating in organized organizations, such as American Legion or Senior Little League baseball. There are also plenty of summertime basketball leagues, such as the upcoming Clarke Noonan tournament in Bangor, which pays tribute to the late Bangor High and Saint Joseph’s College player.

Rand always encouraged me and my teammates to participate in summer road races, and the culmination of my training was always the Beach to Beacon 10K in early August. Once that came and went, it was time to focus on the upcoming season. Every summer, I would participate in more road races, and it only made me better.

To the high school athletes throughout Maine, train hard and enjoy your summer. Remember, a dip in the lake with your friends or enjoying a burger or an ice cream with your parents is just as important as a lifting session, shootaround on a local basketball court or a 5-mile run.

Ryan McLaughlin

About Ryan McLaughlin

BDN sports reporter Ryan McLaughlin grew up in Brewer and is a lifelong fan of the New England Patriots, Boston Red Sox, Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins. In "The Boston Blitz" he'll be sharing his perspective with BDN readers about what's happening on the Boston professional sports scene.