In the summer of 2015, Dr. Beth Frates found her self watching a bunch of blind guys running around playing beep baseball and joking with each other. She was there to support her colleague, Dr. Mike Marciello, who is a hitting coach on the team. Dr. Frates found some inspiration from this group of Renegades and she even helped them out a few times when the coach forgot equipment at home. That was just the beginning of her showing her big heart and willingness to help. She wanted to find a way to donate her time and skills.
She wanted to help the Renegades in some capacity but did not have the time to become a coach of the squad. She dropped a hint that her professional skills may be able to help many of the Renegades. On Sunday night, May 22 she jumped on a call with 14 Renegades and she bought a passion with her to help the team. Hitting, running, defense are all skills a beepball player needs to succeed. The Renegades work on these skills tirelessly. In addition the Renegades have created a culture where teamwork is essential and help is available for people on and off the field. In recent years, the Renegades have worked hard at mental toughness as well. However to get to the next level an athlete needs to take care of his/her body. Tournament time is very hard on the ball players. Very few sports require a player to play three games (which can last 2.5-3 hours a game) a day for three days in a row in 90-100 degree heat.
Dr. Frates took time out of her work day to understand the needs of the Renegades. She took time to listen to the rigors of a beep baseball season and what the Renegade way of handling things looks like. We found many of the things we do are some the best practices. However, she had some amazing tips to help the Renegades in all walks of their life.
Dr. Frates is a trained physiatrist and is a Director of Wellness Programming at the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital and is an assistant Professor at Harvard Medical school. She had a wealth of experience and knowledge to share with the players. She created a program for the team to discuss ways players could perform better on the field. She brought many tips about nutrition, meal planning, Carb loading, Pre game meals, Lunch time strategies and dinner strategies when at tournaments. Foods to gravitate toward and ingredients to avoid. She discussed the importance of hydration, ways to get hydration and other causes of muscle cramps. She brought stories of what to eat after games to improve recovery time. And when we thought it was over, she told us all about the importance of sleep, stretching, optimism and breathing to reduce stress and optimize performance. She had passion, an understanding of our players needs and spent an additional 30 minutes answering questions from the team. We are very grateful to have had this opportunity. The lessons she taught us will help the Renegades perform better on the fields and compete for a championship in 2016!
But enough of this writer babbling….what did some the players have to say when it was over?
|Dr. Frates, thank you for taking the time to speak with us about nutrition and healthy living. The topics of Hydration and Healthy Plate is especially important to me, as I have been struggling with meal planning, and choosing the right things to eat. It was great to hear about the examples and suggestions of the different foods that are healthy for us, and this will help us improve athletically, and our overall living.|
|I’m excited to try and implement some of her suggestions leading up to game time. I don’t think I can commit to eating quinoa and wheat berry (or something similar) every day, but I can certainly eat those things a couple of times a week. There are a few healthy eating options near my work so leading up to some of our games I can be sure to focus on those foods she suggested. Luckily for me I’m not a big breakfast eater, so it’s nice to know that some of my choices I have made in the past for breakfast before a game falls in line with some of her suggestions. I really think that the call last night built a lot of value for us.|
|The information provided was extremely informative, especially since it was tailored towards the team, our goals, and our current structure of practices and games. As a big advocate of health and wellness, I especially love how she tied in everything to the importance of self-care and overall health.|
|Many thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk with the team about nutrition, health, and wellness. I learned a great deal in general and found your information about post-game recovery eating to be particularly enlightening. I am sure we will make great strides as a team armed with this valuable knowledge.|
Dr. Fates was nothing short of fabulous, she made everything interesting and her energy was contageous. I made sure that I took notes, questions that I have had for months, maybe even years have been answered. Perhaps what I really enjoyed though, was her ability to incorporate the nutritional part of athletics, with the mental part of it as well, the importance of a good diet, sleep, and proper breathing. I am also excited to hear her ideas for recovery for people who are Lactose intolerant, she seemed to enjoy the possibility of learning something new, while continuing to be an educator. Ultimately, if you love what you do, it’ll show, she clearly does, and I’m grateful she was willing to bestow her knowledge onto us.
Its volunteers like Dr. Beth Frates who help make a difference in the lives of our players and we are grateful for her time and energy!