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Sleep, Rest and Play
12 November 2016
WAFC Foundations workshop
5 November 2016, All Saint's College

story by Brad Scott: WAIS & Athletics Australia athlete, Paralympic Games 800m, 1500m runner

Being a left-hander, I believed that I had an advantage in many sports. Like cricket & tennis. However, there was one sport that frustrated me constantly. A sport where you will never see a left hander on the pitch… That sport is hockey! Unfortunately, there are only right handed sticks. No longer was being a left hander a positive. To say I struggled was an understatement.  Anyway, enough about my failed attempts at becoming a hockey superstar, I’ll leave that to WA’s talented juniors. Which just happened to be the lucky group Heather and I had the opportunity to present the new Foundation workshop to on Saturday.

One of the big reasons I love the new program is the heavy emphasis on the amount and quality of sleep athletes require to perform. This is a current topic of interest for me, I recently read a book by Shawn Stevenson called ‘Sleep Smarter’. My eyes were opened by how the simplest adjustments in our routine can make a huge difference. So for about 30 minutes, we all discussed the things we can change to improve the quality of sleep. Did you know that the blue light (backlight) on your mobile phone can significantly affect your quality of sleep if used before and during bed time? A simple way to improve this is by not using your phone for at least an hour before bed time. But if you must use it, iPhones now have an awesome feature where you can turn off the blue light on your phone. There are many more, but this seemed to be a common area which could be improved for the athletes. I challenged them to give it a go… What about you? Want your sleep quality to improve? Give it a go!


We also discussed ‘where time goes’… As we know, there are 24 hours in a day (168 hrs / week). Let’s say that 8 hrs are taken by sleep (up to 12 hrs for most athletes), so that means we have 16 left… How do we spend them? Things like school, homework, paid work, training, and games easily come to mind. But what about; meals, travel, social and family time?  Your time can easily seem to disappear. However, once we put a number of hours to each activity the athletes found that they had between 15-40 hours spare per week. Where does it go? Social media, computer games etc.? Remember that can be okay. Every athlete needs their own down time and spare time as long as it’s done with a purpose.


Sleep is a critical priority for anyone, especially high performance athletes. It’s important to understand your routine and ensure that that it’s affecting your performance positively. The same can be said for your 168 hrs every week. How can you use them to ensure that you are at your best?  Walking away from this session I felt that the Hockey WA Development athletes really took away some valuable tips that can help them excel to their own peak performance. 

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