Basketball legend Sue Bird answers 9 questions about her performance lifestyle as a professional athlete.
At UConn, Sue Bird won two national championships and was the Naismith College Player of the Year during her senior season. In the WNBA, she’s captured two championships with the Seattle Storm and has been a league All-Star a whopping 10 times. Bird is also a four-time Olympic champion, having won gold medals with Team USA in 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016.
One of the most accomplished women’s basketball players on the planet, the 36-year-old has decided to start sharing more about her life as she enters the latter stages of her career. Among other things, a recent ESPNW piece discusses Bird’s use of WHOOP, with her strength and conditioning coach saying “Once she knows something works, she buys in all the way.”
Bird put her WHOOP Strap on display last month at the GeekWire Sports Tech Summit:
WNBA legend Sue Bird: Athletes who don’t embrace sports tech are idiots https://t.co/uFtXX4YUJw
— GeekWire (@geekwire) June 22, 2017
The 7-time All-WNBA point guard was also kind enough to answer our Pillars of Performance questions on Strain, Sleep and Recovery.
1. Describe your workout regimen on high-Strain days.
SB: On my high Strain days I’m generally doing multiple workouts in the day. I’m currently in season, but before it started I had to have knee surgery. While I was pushing to get back, I would do on-court workouts, lifts, and sometimes extra things like pilates. The combo always led to high Strain.
2. What training tip do you give most often to amateurs?
SB: I’ve found that what separates athletes isn’t always talent. Yes, that is a huge component, and honing your skills must be a part of your regimen, BUT being in the best shape possible is also a major piece of the puzzle. Let’s put it this way – skill can be affected if you are fatigued. But if you’re never tired, your skill is only enhanced.
3. Who in your profession would you most like to compete against, all time?
SB: I’ll have to think about that one…
4. How often do you nap?
SB: Luckily, I have a schedule that doesn’t have many early mornings so I can get all my Sleep at night. I do squeeze in naps whenever I can, though. Almost always on plane rides, and I coffee nap on game days.
5. What’s your bedtime routine?
SB: Just recently I’ve started using a humidifier and essential oils. I do like watching TV because it’s soothing and mindless, and it puts me to sleep fast.
6. What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
SB: Check the time and see how long I slept. Compare how I feel to what WHOOP tells me.
7. How do you handle jet lag?
SB: In my off-season I almost always work out upon arrival, I find that it helps. My biggest piece of advice is to not stress out about it. The stress can sometimes make it worse.
8. When did you have your worst WHOOP Recovery?
SB: Well, It’s official. Drinking alcohol is bad and weddings are fun. I attended one of my best friend’s weddings and my Recovery was at 2% because of a late night and an early morning flight. The life of athlete sometimes has this combo because of late games and travel too, but my Recovery has never been that low. Alcohol!
9. Finish this sentence: WHOOP has made me realize…
SB: WHOOP has made me realize how much more sleep I need while in my WNBA season.