My name is Ben La Rue, and I play lacrosse at Arcadia University. This webpage was designed based off of my personal experience here as a student athlete, as well as the experiences of a few of my friends, who I asked for post ideas.
My sophomore year I switched from being a Video Communications major to a Corporate Communications major. This was a big deal to me, but when I’d see my friends all they’d ask me about was lacrosse. How could I escape just being a lacrosse player, when I knew I was more? This web page is a way for me to shed some light on what it actually means to be a student-athlete. From the academic side, to the athletic commitment itself, I thought I did a decent job exhibiting this lifestyle on this website.
Beyond the sport, I enjoy fishing, snowboarding, and the outdoors in general. My favorite spot, however, is on the beach, where I tend to alternate between building sandcastles and reading my latest book.
About half of the games the student athlete plays in a season require travel to another university. It is important for the student athlete to mark these dates on their calendar, as they must prepare for that date ahead of time. Of course, the knight before that away game, the athlete must check all their equipment is organized so that they show up to their games prepared. Imagine showing up to a game without your helmet, stick, or cleats, it would be embarrassing, not to mention the player might not play because of it!
The greater preparation of course is in the classroom. it is up to the student to make up all missed work on these days where they are not on campus, and in class. Because of this, student athletes must remain in constant contact with their professors or else they might miss important details on assignments, tests, and projects.
Once everything is organized, teams wait inside of the Kuch Center for their travel bus to arrive. Athletes, under the direction of their coaches, bring all required equipment to the bus, and store their belongings in the underneath compartments. As everything is packed up and the students are ready to go, the team files onto the bus. Many students try to work on their homework during these bus rides, but there is usually a movie playing on the bus in case the student athlete would rather relax prior to their game.
What many do not realize is that away games tend to take away more then one class. In the MAC Commonwealth Conference, many of the teams are located at a minimum of 2 hours away. The round trip (game duration included) takes away free time that could be used for anything from leisure to studies. As a result, time is a luxury that student athletes are mostly without, especially in-season.
It is expected of student athletes to participate in the strength and conditioning program set in place by Coach Barnes, but student athletes are not limited to Coach Barnes’ training regiment. Though it is not required, many student athletes seek additional training. For some it might be a hobby, but many student athletes work out to gain an edge in their respective sport. Creating time for extra training proves to be a difficult feat, as student athletes most fulfill their academic requirements and standard training requirements. Put simply, the only options for student athletes seeking extra training are to either workout at 7am when the Kuch Center facility opens, or at the end of the day because most classes are scheduled for the middle of the day.
In addition to strength training, student athletes often opt to practice their craft on their field of play. Lacrosse players tend to shoot at the cages on Jean Lenox-West field, as do field hockey and soccer players. Baseball, Softball, Volleyball, and Basketball can be found in the Gymnasium, which houses the amenities each athlete needs to improve their craft (the coaches offices are in the Gymnasium, so it looks good for the athlete putting in extra time).
In addition to its esteemed athletic training staff, Arcadia also employs a strength and conditioning staff that prepares student athletes for the demands of their sport. Each team at Arcadia has its own specific workout to complete. At the head of this staff is Todd Barnes, who works upwards of 60 hours a week to condition student athletes. As a result, student athletes are not only stronger, but their chance of injury is reduced. In the off-season, teams work with Coach Barnes and his lifting program tirelessly to achieve the best results possible. For many teams, this will mean that they work with Coach Barnes five days a week. Three of the five days are usually spent in the weight room, and the other two are spent at either the Gymnasium, Jean Lenox-West Field, or the Dome. In order for student athletes to be able to compete and condition with their teammates, athletes follow a lifting schedule. Normally athletes will work with Coach Barnes for about an hour each day, but sometimes these training sessions extend beyond the time allotted. During the season, lifting and conditioning is lessened, as student athletes must already manage the burdensome rigors of their sport. The lifting in season acts as body maintenance, as athletes can’t afford to lose their strength or risk an in-season injury.
On a greater scale, this training, much like academia, prepares the student athlete for everyday life in a habitual sense. Student athletes need to wake up, they need to eat, they need to show up to lifts on time, and they need to work through the training. The results will vary for each athlete, but generally, hard-working student athletes that trust the process of an everyday ground n’ pound training regimen see the best results. The pace student athlete learns in training can prime them for the pace and preparation required of the working world.
Lacrosse is my passion, but the fact that I love lacrosse doesn’t mean that the love is reciprocated. Since enrolling at Arcadia University I have sustained at least one injury per year as a member of the men’s lacrosse team. Like so many other student athletes sharing similar circumstances, I have undergone injury protocol, which requires that we (student athletes) rehabilitate ourselves with the support of our athletic training staff. Injury protocol is simple:
Student rehabs a knee injury
The student athlete meets consistently through the week with one of Arcadia’s esteemed athletic trainers and rehab injuries. Some student athletes meet with the training staff more often than others; sometimes it is difficult for student athletes to schedule times that do not conflict with class schedules. Once the student athlete arrives for their scheduled appointment, they are then at the athletic training staff’s mercy. Each trainer has a wealth of knowledge regarding injury rehabilitation, and countless methods to facilitate such rehabilitation. Each athlete may be prone to specific injuries, so it is up to athletic trainers (and, depending on severity, team doctors) to identify these weaknesses. Depending on the severity of these weaknesses, it may not be safe for athletes to continue competition in their sport. Until the athlete is healthy enough to compete, the student athlete is confined to the trainer’s room. Typically, athletes report soreness and are directed to use foam rollers and lacrosse balls to “roll out” the pain and tightness that comes with playing college sports. Trainers will also direct student athletes to use resistance bands to assist them in stretching their legs. Stretching and rolling out are common methods student athletes use to manage soreness and tightness. Though it may be frustrating to be confined to the training room on a daily basis, it helps secure the greater overall health of the student athlete, which is more important.