Demands of IC Athletics

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by H2Opolodude, Feb 12, 2013.

  1. H2Opolodude

    H2Opolodude Member

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    Hello all,

    As a new appointee to the class of 2017, I have been mulling over the possibility of playing water polo at the Air Force Academy. (I have been in contact with the coach, but I'm not a recruited athlete)

    I came across a good thread in which Christcorp posted some great answers regarding the following questions, but it was from 2008 and I'm hoping to possibly hear from a few current athletes or from anyone who has any details to add.

    Regarding the day-to-day life of an athlete:
    What are the (extra?) demands that come with being on an intercollegiate team in comparison to an intramural team?
    I'd imagine that the teams travel and probably have longer practices, so does this ever cut into class time or other activities?
    Also, being a former high school and current college athlete, I'm used to having multiple practices a day--does any athletic training serve as an alternative for (military) physical training? Or do the teams just do PT together?

    Thank you all for your help!
     
  2. melindayching

    melindayching Member

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    This could vary from sport to sport, but I'll give you a bit of insight based on my daughter's experience. Since she finished BCT, she has been in practice from 2-6 M-F and has another 4 hours on Saturday morning unless it's a football day. Her schedule is arranged such that she finishes all classes in the morning. She eats lunch at "ramps", which is with her team. When the squad is doing PT, she does it with them if it is not during her practice or during her season when her coach specifically tells them not to because of injury possibility; otherwise, she goes to practice. Her team takes the PFT and AFT together when they're not in season; I believe they are exempt when they are in competition season and their coach assigns them their physical fitness score, but someone could correct me on that. My daughter says that sometimes it's tough because squad PT will have started before she heads off to a meet or practice and she tries hard not to disrupt or seem like she is being given special treatment. She recently experienced the hardship of team travel; she was away from USAFA from Thursday to Saturday and came back to makeup tests, projects due and knowledge tests. Needless to say, her Sunday was not fun and she got little sleep. And the makeup test was significantly harder than the test her classmates took, in her view...but that could just be her own subjective view of things. My daughter is in the Honors program and takes her academics very seriously, as well as her sport, so she had a rude awakening this week! It takes some serious dedication to be a part of a sports team AND keep your grades up AND do enough around your squadron to earn a decent military score and just as importantly the respect of your classmates.
     
  3. H2Opolodude

    H2Opolodude Member

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    Melindayching- thanks so much for the insight! 2-6 seems like a long practice, is that all practice time, or do they integrate weightlifting/other sport-specific training as well?
    I like hearing that most things are done as a team-I bet it's great for the younger cadets.

    Could anyone provide any details regarding the "day-to-day" of playing intramural sports?
     
  4. H2Opolodude

    H2Opolodude Member

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    -and that definitely sounds like a tough schedule. I'll admit, it's a bit intimidating but I suppose it pays off to be able to represent the Air Force academy in your sport.
     
  5. MN-Dad-2016

    MN-Dad-2016 Member

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    Re: the life as a Doolie and athletics.

    My DS was not a recruited athlete but has an IC schedule this semester. For some background, every male at the academy has to take boxing as a class. He loved it so he wanted to try out for the team. He practiced when he could to get better (maybe 6-8 hours a week). But his school schedule didn't align perfectly when the team practiced. Therefore it was structured like an intramural sport for his 1st semester.

    IC athletes usually take less credits for the 1st year (around 13-15 credits if I understand things correctly). But it varies to help ease the demands. Of course nothing stops you from loading up if you feel you can handle it. IC athletes also do not have to participate in conflicting events like military training, etc. Putting it another way, a non IC schedule is equally brutal in other ways.

    The coach re-arranged his class schedule for 2nd semester so that he could workout with the boxing team. My DS already signed up for 21 credit so he kept those classes. Now I think he works out from 2-5:30PM. But it's 6 days a week.

    As a Doolie, he is still taking out the garbage before bed time for an hour a night and wants to participate in all of the training with non-IC's even if he could dodge it. My DS is also in the Scholars program so there is a lot of reading and writing. It's not uncommon for him to go to bed at 1-2AM. But ironically he said that when he barely can walk out of the gym because he is exhausted, that is the very reason why he can handle the stress and pressure. So says he does better academically because of boxing.

    We are flying out to see him box for the 1st time ever in the Wing Open quarter finals next week. That's going to be a different experience as a parent. Wish us luck seeing him get punched for the 1st time. If he wins this bout, he will be in the Wing Open finals and be rostered as a Freshman. He would then be in Reno over Spring Break. Of course he has to beat a Junior next week who is on the team already so I am not holding my breath that he is going to win. But it illustrates that there are different pressures for some IC's because they have to give up important breaks. It should also help you gain insight why some IC's feel the need to quit their sport that they love. The juggling pressures are brutal.

    There is a lot of pressure as a Doolie. He has to have something to look forward to. I know his eye are focused on Recognition Day which is a month away.

    At the end of the day, I really don't understand how these young men and women can do it. The education that they are getting really is amplified by the mental and physical pressures for 4 years. I for one could not handle it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2013
  6. melindayching

    melindayching Member

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    H2O -- The schedule is indeed a killer. 2-6 includes conditioning and stretching. Daughter is a gymnast, and because of the repetitions and stop/start nature of the workout, they need 4 hours to get everything done and condition as well. She goes to the trainer often before and after for ice and other therapy if necessary, grabs a quick dinner at Mitch's after and then is back at studying right after that. Like MN Dad's cadet, my daughter tries to do as much in the squadron as she can when she's there. She never gets enough sleep. She has the same workload as everyone else; perhaps other teams take a lighter load, but she has the same as all other C4Cs. BUT: She is SO glad to be part of a team and is extremely proud to wear the USAFA colors and compete. And for those athletes who have spent countless hours at your sport for most of your life, it's hard to imagine life without it. By the way, my daughter was not recruited either. So definitely get in touch with the coach and see what the prospects are if you really want to play.
     
  7. skt

    skt Member

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    IC demands

    My DS is an IC and has roomed with other ICs (in different sports) and non-ICs. I would say the demands are different - in a way easier, in a way more difficult. As menioned above, ICs generally have all their claseses scheduled in the morning. They then have a very short break after lunch before reporting to practice. After practice, shower and change back into uniform (in the locker room or field house), dinner - barely making it before Mitches closes. Generally not back in the room to study or relax until around 8. So, lots of homework getting done late at night. His non IC roomates had more time to study or relax/goof off in the afternoons. As a 4 degree, the ICs do miss out on (or get out of, depending on your perspective) some of the military training. And they sit with their team at lunch, get to talk, etc. Most consider that a plus. However, for the remainder of your years, you still have the same schedule of not getting back to the room to study until around 8 - and the training and stresses of not talking at meals, etc. are no longer an issue for the upper classmen. And, most sports will cut into soem of the breaks - depending on the sport, you may miss part or all of the Thanksgiving break, part of Christmas break, all of spring break, etc. His team travels quite a bit. During season, he's often gone 2-3 days each week. So, lots of pre-planning so as not to get behind in class is requried. However, the travel has allowed him some great experiences. He has never taken a lighter course load than his non-IC classmates, nor has anyone on his team. I've never heard of anyone taking only 13-15 hours becasue they are an IC, but perhaps that's the case for some - just not my DS or the ICs I know. Since everyone (ok - almost everyone) is required to graduate in 4 years with a lot of hours, that couldn't happen with very many 13-15 semester hours. If you love your sport, can keep up with your schoolwork, and hit it off with your coaches, it's a great thing. If not, there are a lot of other extracurricular activities to be found.
     
  8. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    My son was a an upperclassman on the fencing team (recruited ath) and a Physics major. His practice times were similar, 2-6 every day, plus travel. Those days coming back were awful and he would often try to arrange to take tests, etc, BEFORE the travel. As a 4*, he would not make it to Mitch's in time to eat and would carry his food back to his room (very cold in January!).

    His GPA improved a great deal his senior year when he decided he wanted the squadron "job" more than he wanted fencing.
     
  9. melindayching

    melindayching Member

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    As fencersmother's story indicates, the teams often suffer attrition through the years due to academic workload, a desire to do something else at USAFA and just physical wear and tear. My daughter's team has no seniors, and lost 2 sophomores this year. So H2O, if you are interested in competing, definitely talk to the coach. USAFA doesn't usually have the luxury of blue chipping a bunch of players, so just because you are not recruited doesn't mean you're out of luck. My daughter indeed suffered after a recent road trip, but on the flip side she was able to travel in the cockpit of a military transport and talk about being a pilot with 2 Lt. Cols and enjoy some time with her team and eat food that was not Mitch's. And yes, she only had an 8 day Christmas vacation, a 3 day Thanksgiving break and will get no spring break. So it is indeed a grind.
     
  10. aglages

    aglages Parent

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    Do the Doolie IC cadets go thorough all of the same Recognition experiences ("beatings") as the non-IC cadets? Who makes the decisions concerning what can be done during Recognition to the Doolie IC cadets...their AOCs, the Commandant or the Athletic Dept?
     
  11. John41057

    John41057 Member

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    IC

    Hi
    I wonder how it is handled if an IC (C4C) is getting ready to say pitch in a championship game. Doing pushups is not necessarily the best thank a pitcher can do prior to a game. I wonder how this works with other sports as well, or does it not matter C4C is C4C.
    Regards
    John
     
  12. buffalo

    buffalo USAFA 2013

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    It depends on the sport and the schedule... For example, hockey is usually playing over Recognition, so their 4* players usually miss the entirety of it. Same goes for the other sports that have competitions over those dates.
     
  13. aglages

    aglages Parent

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    OK...thanks. I was under the impression that some coaches within the Athletic Dept. had restricted Doolie IC cadets in sports like football (whose season has long been over) from some "40 days" activities within their squadrons. It's good to hear that IC cadets are not being treated differently than others during the off-season from their sports.
     
  14. buffalo

    buffalo USAFA 2013

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    I was specifically referring to the 3 days of Recognition.

    For 40 days, there are still many 4*s in off-season sports (i.e. football) do still miss much of the 40 days experience due to practice or whatnot.
     
  15. usafamomma

    usafamomma Member

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    My understanding is that most all cadets have 5 academic classes the fall semester of their 4* year and every semester thereafter they have 6 classes. Exceptions to this are 1) some preppies, who have only 4 academic classes their fall semester + a study skills class (homework help), and 2) cadets who fail a class and have to make up a class to be on track.

    I have not heard of the honors or scholars 'program' before the above posts. Can someone chime in here please? I wonder if some cadets load up on extra classes if they choose to have a double major or a double minor??? I would expect that taking extra classes would have to be approved by an academic counselor as the 'regular' schedule is quite demanding. Can someone please share what is involved with these programs???

    Thanks
     
  16. H2Opolodude

    H2Opolodude Member

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    Thank you all for the insight--I guess it's going to be a game of prioritizing and sacrificing. :thumb: I'm not too worried, it's worth it!

    I'd hope that professors are accommodating to athletes, if there are that many that have to miss class because of events.

    I wonder this also...
     
  17. MN-Dad-2016

    MN-Dad-2016 Member

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    I didn't hear about it until my DS told me that he was invited. I have not heard of honors program (only the scholars program). 4% of the Wing is invited to enter. They pick the top academic students based of off an algorithm predicting success and it starts the 2nd semester for freshman. The deciding factor is the High school GPA, class rigor, testing out of classes while at BCT, ACT scores, and their midterm GPA etc. My read on it is they are looking for "proof" you are going to get A's. By mid quarter of a students freshman year, there might be 10 students that have all A's (I think it was actually 5 in total). There is no grade inflation at the USAFA. I think the average GPA is 2.7 from students who are use to getting 4.0's.

    Classes are taught by incredible teachers with some amazing accolades. See http://www.usafa.edu/df/asp/ (but the sub-links don't work). My DS said it's a ton of work but by far his favorite classes. A typical night is reading 200 pages of small typed font and a lot of writing. He was intimidated by having a Fulbright Scholar evaluate his written work. But he said he is surrounded by some of the smartest and motivated people he has ever met. He loves it. It's mostly liberal arts classes (not all classes during the day are "Scholar classes"). I suspect it's a newer program to grow additional Rhodes and Fulbright scholars which boosts the visibility of the AFA as a world class institution. But that's just my take on it.

    Correct. They need approval. They do push back so that students don't over commit. When my DS tried to take a junior based class, it needed an approval.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2013
  18. Usafamom2016

    Usafamom2016 Member

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    Scholars program

    My DS is in the scholars program. It also involves taking similar classes differently. For example, scholars Chemistry involved no Chem textbook but they read original research articles in chemistry and learned from that. Much more research oriented and individual thinking/experimenting but very difficult reading compared to reading a textbook.
    They are not allowed to take more than 6 classes but can give up a summer break for a course, though usually that is for those who failed a course although I have heard of some IC athletes taking a summer course in order to have 1 less during season.
     
  19. MN-Dad-2016

    MN-Dad-2016 Member

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    I didn't know that there were technical classes in the scholars program. My DS took both chem courses a couple years back and tested out of them.
     
  20. melindayching

    melindayching Member

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    My DD was also invited to apply for the honors program. I believe that 45-50 students are accepted, and you need a minimum of a 3.5 to be invited to apply. There were several essays that the students had to write in order to apply. My DD really enjoys the classes and it gives them another group within USAFA to connect with. As for technical classes, not sure what fits into that category, by my DD said that her CompSci was an honors class this semester. it's alot of work,and since my DD is also in season she is working very, very hard.
    Getting back to the IC thread, I understand that some ICs who want to take advantage of some of the study abroad/language immersion opportunities may have to give up summer leave to do it since they are usually committed to their sport for the regular school year and other USAFA training commitments during the other summer sessions.
     

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