The NCAA Division I Competition Oversight Committee has been busy recently, as they’ve announced decisions that will presumably reduce the wear and tear on female athletes at the pinnacle of competition in three sports. The women’s College World Series, volleyball regionals and gymnastics championships are all being stretched out a little bit longer in order to give players more of a break when the intensity ratchets itself up to its highest point.
The women’s College World Series schedule will change in two notable ways. In prior years, teams that fall during the first day of the tournament are flung into a doubleheader to save their playoff lives the very next day. This will no longer be a part of the tournament. Additionally, the two teams fortunate enough to advance to the finals will have an extra day of rest. This could potentially make a difference when it comes to which pitchers may or may not be available at the sport’s highest level.
“…The active coaches who have participated in the Women’s College World Series, helped identify the day off before the championship series and minimizing doubleheaders as key recommendations,” said Sandy Atkins, who serves as a chair on the Oversight Committee. Via NCAA.org
The eight teams who qualify for the women’s volleyball regionals will also get an additional day to collect themselves, and help recover before the biggest games of their season.
The National Collegiate Women’s Gymnastics Championships are also being spaced out by an additional day. In previous competitions, gymnasts participated in events in three consecutive days. Starting next spring, that cadence will change, as the events will take place on a Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday, giving teams Friday off.
In many sports, male or female, athletes are usually only as good as the amount of energy they have in their legs. We often hear about “fresh legs” coming into the game, alluding to a player who hasn’t exerted as much energy as others in the game. As they relate to volleyball and gymnastics, it seems like these measures will allow student-athletes to perform at their best when their best is needed, instead of running the risk of certain fatigue.