The transition to college athletics can be an exciting, yet daunting time for first-year student-athletes. Playing sports at the collegiate level requires another degree of challenge and dedication to the sport. In order for first-year athletes to be successful at this level, it is essential for them to understand the expectations they must uphold from their school, professors, and sport coaches. Players should use the collegiate level as an opportunity to craft their skills and take their game to the next level, while balancing the many other aspects that come with college life.
College is all about balance, and in order to succeed academically, athletically, and socially, student-athletes need to become experts at managing their time between all of their commitments. At the end of the day, student-athletes with busy schedules are considered students first. To maximize performance on the court, field, or pool, athletes must prioritize their school work and stay on top of their workload to keep their athletic eligibility. First-years must make adjustments in their schedule, especially when going from five practices per week to two practices per day. Athletes can avoid falling behind in classes by establishing a daily routine, planning ahead of time, and completing assignments early. They should also choose their study partners or project groups wisely by comparing calendars and workloads to ensure equal participation. Time management is key to achieving success, so student-athletes must take advantage of their access to academic advisors, tutors, and professor’s assistants in order to stay ahead of their school load. Here are some additional tips that can help student-athletes both on and off the court, field, or pool.
Oftentimes, at the collegiate level, coaches expect more from first-year students than what they are used to. For many of these student-athletes, the transition to a new team can be overwhelming, and the speed of the game might be quicker than it was before. Even though coaches are aware of this, athletes must understand that they are still expected to jump in without hesitation, represent their team and school, and stay ahead of their school work. To further exceed these high expectations, student-athletes must trust their coaches’ plans and commit to being better than they were the day before.
As first-year students transition from living at home to a dorm, they become responsible for their daily decisions. The choices that student-athletes make regarding nutrition, hydration, and sleep will greatly impact their personal and team performances. Proper athletic nutrition consists of balanced amounts of protein, carbs, and vegetables, especially when fueling and refueling the body after a grueling training session. In order for student-athletes to reach their potential, they must also focus on staying hydrated before, during, and after workouts, and get the proper amount of sleep every day. Student-athletes tend to put their bodies through extreme stress, so keeping these factors in mind when making decisions will help to enhance an athlete’s performance on the field, court, or pool. Check out this article for more information about good nutritional habits for student-athletes.
Student-athletes who are transitioning into the collegiate level must be motivated, determined, and committed to being better than they were the day before in order to benefit themselves and their team. First-year students will quickly learn that being a part of a team at this level is much greater than themselves, and every decision they make could impact the performance of the team. Managing time, expectations, and daily decisions off the court, field, or pool will help first-year athletes optimize their athletic performance.