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Blog: Working on both the body and mind

Georgia has taken steps since the end of the last football season to improve the physical side of its players.

Joe Tereshinski took over as the director of the strength and conditioning program and there’s been an increased awareness of nutrition within the program.

The next step coming soon will be the Athletic Association hiring a Director of Sports Nutrition.

Athletic director Greg McGarity also is planning to hire a Director of Sport and Performance Psychology.

“We’ve always provided those services, but it’s always been done in a subcontractor type environment,” McGarity said. “Coaches if they desire to have sports psychologists work with their teams, there are different avenues they can go and it’s pretty much up to the coaches. In our meetings with our coaches, there was a strong desire to basically consolidate that into one point of contact. It’s more streamlined, it’s more organized. You’ve got one point of contact instead of numerous contacts that are out there.”

The new hire will coordinate and manage psychological services for student-athletes and work in the Rankin Smith academic center and also have a role in academic advising.

“We already dedicate tremendous resources to sports psychology and the other areas that are within that job description and we’re trying to centralize that under one umbrella now,” McGarity said.

McGarity this winter brought in a nutrition consultant that he knew from his days at Florida, Michelle Rockwell, to exam what UGA was doing. Football players said they ate more healthier food and staff members tracked more of what the players ate.

Rockwell now is based out of North Carolina. At Florida, she “directed nutrition education, counseling, and food service for the Gators’ 18 varsity teams,” according to her bio. “She actively collaborated with coaches and the sports medicine team to provide high level nutritional care to each athlete. She directed the Gator Training Table, body composition analysis, dietary supplement evaluation, the eating disorder team, and Sports Psychology services.”

Now McGarity will hire the sports nutrition director and probably will add an assistant to give the athletic department two full-time nutritionists.

The sports nutrition director’s duties will include meal planning and training table supervision and the person will collaborate with the strength and conditioning staff and coaches. Strength staff member Rex Bradberry added team nutrition duties last year.

McGarity said a nutritionist that has been working with athletics now is a UGA employee that worked about a third of the time for the university and two-thirds of the time with athletics.

“When you’re trying to service 500 student-athletes, that ratio is not very beneficial to anyone,” McGarity said.

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