The benefit of being tired, sick, and miserable going into finals week

Cal Dietz, strength coach at the University of Minnesota, has a surprising philosophy about this:

“My goal every May is to have as many of my hockey players sick with a cold or the flu going into finals week. I know that sounds terrible, but a sick athlete is an early warning sign of an overtrained athlete. When athletes are severely stressed and overtrained, their immune system is compromised and they get sick. During finals, there is a ten-day period when I’m not allowed to train the hockey players at all. Therefore, I overreach them going into finals (they are tired, sick, and miserable). Coming out of finals, however, when they get back to training ten days later, it isn’t uncommon to see twenty- to thirty-pound increases in most of their major lifts as well as faster sprint times.” (p. 16)

I’m a big proponent of feeling good, but maybe if you’re always feeling good you’re not pushing yourself hard enough.