Rituals and Routines
In this piece Ben Carlson, from the superb Ritholz stable in NYC, writes about elite baseball players use a relatively straightforward routine which allows them to maintain strength and fitness over a long and demanding career: “Dana Cavalea became the strength and conditioning coach for the New York Yankees at the tender age of 23.
He quickly learned professional athletes who play more than 30 pre-season games, 162 regular-season games, and potentially dozens of more games in the playoffs need to have a structured routine in place in order to succeed.
In his book, ‘Habits of a Champion’, Cavalea described a typical day in the life of a Major League Baseball player:
For 8 months out of the year, you’re doing nothing but playing baseball.
- Workdays consist of sleeping in until 11 am or noon.
- By 3-4 pm, you’re expected to be at the “office”.
- Soak for 20 minutes in the hot tub to loosen up.
- Your clothes are washed and ready to go when you arrive.
- Personalized stretch and workout from the strength and conditioning coach for around 40 minutes.
- Grab something to eat.
- Head out to the field to stretch some more.
- Batting practice and throw some balls.
- Pre-game meal.
- Stretch yet again.
- Play the game which can last anywhere from 3-4 hours.
- Post-game cold tub, shower and eat (likely at a world-class restaurant).
- Go to bed well after midnight.
When Cavalea was asked why he did not inject some variety, some change in these routines, he explained how people who vary routines to spice things up miss the point of the whole exercise: “Cavalea explained how Mariano Rivera, arguably the greatest closer of all-time, had the same exact warm-up routine during every single game:
But what many do not know about the Sandman is that two innings before heading out to the bullpen, he was on his back, listening to salsa music, getting stretched and massaged by yours truly. Every, single, game. When that 5th inning came around, if I didn’t have his green tea and a granola bar waiting, he was not a happy man. Screaming my name like a lunatic throughout the clubhouse. He was consistent, and he expected consistency. That was his method.
The tolerance for repetition here is astounding.”