Five questions with Alex Bechard

Editor’s note: Every Wednesday throughout the offseason, we’ll catch up with volleyball support staff for five questions.

Alex Bechard | Sports nutrition graduate assistant

Q: Can you tell me about your title and your role with the volleyball team?

BECHARD: “Technically, I am a sports nutrition graduate assistant. So I am the full-time dietician and sprinkle in some classes, like, one or two a semester. I will be here for two years since I started this past January, I will graduate in December of 2019. But it has been great so far and I like it here a lot.”

Q: How do you input your own niche into your nutrition plan for the volleyball student-athletes?

BECHARD: “I’m a very genuine individual, so I like to tailor whatever I’m doing to the team and to the individual. Cookie cutter may have its time and place, as far as efficiency, but when I’m working so intimately with the team, I want to make a really big impact. So, getting to know what their challenges are, what they are currently having with resources when they go home and what they are doing. Then, just relating to them so that I can get that vibe from them and get that relationship going.

“I want to help them, not only in their career here but also learn some things that they can implement afterward, whether they go to play on an Olympic team or starting a full-time position. And that way they are comfortable to reach out to me when they are having good times or bad times. So, that’s really my thing with getting to know them and having them trust me. I will be a part of their family through the ups and downs.”

Q: With getting to know them, which should help their eating habits, is there a wall you have to get over to know them on a personal level?

BECHARD: “I think that is kind of typical when you have somebody new, especially with the person before me doing a really good job. So, I think you tread a little lightly and get to know them. Then you will form a true and genuine relationship, which does take time and doesn’t happen overnight. And then just me learning more about the team, what they are currently doing and what they have done. It does take a little bit of time because you don’t want to come in and be too overbearing, you just have to find that right mark to hit.”

Q: What has been a fun thing you have learned so far about the volleyball team?

BECHARD: “They are great and super appreciative, which I think is definitely well known. But that is one thing that really stands out, is how appreciative they are and how they are very interactive with all of the departments. For example, just the end of this semester they went around and passed out some ice cream and that was just so impressive. That took time and effort to do, which they don’t have a lot of, so that was really impressive.

“They are really energetic, a really good group of individuals and I’m just so happy to see all of them getting along so well, with the upperclassmen and underclassmen meshing together well. I think that shows from their perspective and the staff how important family is. And again, tackling those ups and downs so they can be successful.”

Q: What are some of your advice for meals the day before a match and the day of?

BECHARD: “The day before, if we are going to talk about the whole day, they need to get total adequate energy by making sure they are eating enough, which can be challenging being a student-athlete due to their schedules being so busy. I think using the oasis that we have here for any kind of lighter practices is important. Of course, making sure they get their macronutrients, protein, healthy fats, carbohydrates and fluids, too.

The day of, it really depends on timing. So, depending on when their match is, if they have an early morning at a tournament, they need to have a breakfast three to four hours before. Again, all of those macronutrients and then before bookending that exercise with their match, with some quick carbs to top off for some energy fuel right before, if necessary, depending on how intense, with a quick snack in between and the key is recovery afterward.”

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