Lauren Cannatelli is a Cincinnati native in her junior year as a basketball player at the University of Dayton. Last season she scored a career high 27 points and hit a single game UD record of seven threes in a game win. Here, she talks about staying proactive with injuries on and off the court.
How long have you been playing basketball?
I started playing basketball when I was 8 years old and have loved it ever since.
Any major injuries during your sports career? If so, how did you heal them?
When I was 12 I shattered the growth plate in my left foot and could not play for quite a while. I have had mid-foot sprains on two other occasions on the same foot since then. After having the sprains, I did a lot of work with my physical therapist in order to strengthen the muscles and prevent future sprains. This has helped me so far, but I still continue ankle exercises to prevent future injuries. Another major injury I had was a broken nose. I needed surgery and had to wear a face mask to play until my nose had completely healed and to prevent any collisions. This was hard to get used to playing with such a strange thing on my face. Finally, throughout my freshman and sophomore years of college I suffered from shin splints. This was a very nagging injury, because basketball is a nearly year round sport and there was no time for rest. I was consistently in my training room for stim, heat/ice, massages, cupping, and exercises. During the summer between those two years, I saw Dr. Yost, who helped by using Active Release Technique (ART) in order to alleviate pain.
How do you prevent future injuries?
Stretching is very important to prevent injuries. My team and I stretch before and after every lift, conditioning, practice or game. I think it’s important to have a good cool down process and stretch after working out as well. We also do exercises three times a week with Stability Enhancement Systems (SES). This is an organization that personalizes our exercises to our individual needs in order to reduce chances of injury when we’re on the floor.
Your favorite way to warm up before a big game?
My favorite way to warm up before a big game is to start with a dynamic warmup (jogging, high knees, skips, mobile stretches, etc.). Once I feel a little warm, I’ll start to get up and down the floor a bit and get my heart rate up. I’ll do a shooting workout with a bit of running, for a couple minutes. After that, I’ll return to the locker room to do some static stretching and stretch out any muscles that seem sore from previous workouts. Then I’m typically ready to go and ready to start doing some drills with our team to prepare for the game.
What is your workout/stretching routine?
My workout/ stretching routine includes a good warm up including both dynamic and static stretching before the workout. After the workout I do some more static stretching followed by a protein shake or protein bar.
What are one or two things that you do in training that have contributed to your success as a college athlete?
When I train I like to set goals for myself and work to complete them. If I set the bar high enough and challenge myself, then I know that I am improving and getting better every day. During training it’s also important to be a team player and encourage others. Everyone has challenges in their life and supporting my teammates is very important to me. Another thing I pride myself in while training is to be a good listener. My coaches care about me and want the best for me, so when I train I think it’s always important to try to absorb everything that they’re saying and try my best to execute it on the court.
What advice would you give to an athlete looking to play college sports?
My advice would be to stay positive. Nobody is going to play great every single game. Nobody is going to shoot well every single game. There will be injuries, it’s inevitable if you’re playing at a high level. Not every college coach is going to love you or want to recruit you. However, in all of these situations it’s important to stay positive. Keep a good mindset and you will see results come with your body. Our team psychologist always tells us if you believe it, then you can achieve it. I like to think about that in difficult times.
What has been the proudest moment of your basketball career thus far?
The proudest moment of my basketball career thus far was winning a High School State Championship. A year into my basketball career I started playing for a team that was coached by my future high school coach. Nearly from 4th grade until my senior year I had the same coach and we had the same goal: to win a state championship. It was ingrained in my head early and as an elementary school kid I was already thinking about cutting down nets in front of a screaming crowd and winning a state championship ring. The feeling was surreal as the horn sounded in my last high school game and we were state champs. There’s no better feeling than working that hard for so many years and having your hard work pay off.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received from a coach?
If I’m not making mistakes then I’m not getting better. In order to improve you have to fail. I really live by this and try to push myself to the point that I might lose the ball during ball handling drills or might miss a shot because I was going so hard and running so fast. The only way to improve is to push your limits. I try to put this into everything I do whether its practice, lifting, conditioning, or even in school and everyday life. I’m always trying to be a better student, player and person.