As the spring rolls around, many high school seniors prepare to embark on the next part of their athletic journey: college athletics. However, as this time comes around, many finish their last seasons as a high school athlete, which comes with a list of questions regarding what it takes to move on to the next level. As a former college athlete, I sat down to answer the three most common questions I hear this time of the year.
What is the hardest part of the transition from high school to college athletics?
The hardest part of the transition from high school to college athletics is time management. What most athletes don’t realize is that not only are you asked to work harder at your sport than ever before, but you are also required to maintain good grades the entire time. The biggest problem that freshman athletes typically run into is failing a couple of classes their first two semesters, which then makes them ineligible for the following season.
What would you say helped you prepare most for the transition?
The biggest part of preparing to be a college athlete is strength training and mental training. Strength training is a huge part of being a college athlete and is done at a much higher level of intensity. It often throws freshmen for a loop when they get to the next level because their body is not used to the training load that strength training adds. It is essential that not only do you spend time strength training during the time leading up to college, but also that you take the time to ensure your form is properly approved by a qualified strength coach.
Mentally, when approaching college athletics it is important to understand that most of the people you will be playing against will be full-blown adults that not only are better than you but also have way more experience. Even if you are a blue-chip athlete, most, if not all, of your teammates have significantly more experience under their belts than you. So mentally, as you approach college, you must take the steps to make sure that you are ready to work hard. Not only to learn from your teammates but also to earn your spot. At the college level, it is essential to understand that everyone wants to be a starter or at the top, and most of them are capable of doing so. College coaches don’t just recruit good athletes, they recruit athletes they believe can be potentially better than the ones they already have.
Looking back, what do you wish you knew heading into college athletics?
I wish I knew how to think like a high-level athlete. A high-level athlete knows how to break down their performances and not only analyze them but also understand what to change at the next practice. I wish I knew that my coach was not just going to magically fix everything that needed to be fixed and that I had to do part of the leg work in understanding my flaws. Being a high-level athlete, you need to understand that four years is not a lot of time and that if you want to succeed at the college level, each practice needs to be aimed at getting better at an aspect of your sport.
Looking to prepare for college athletics? Here at Compete Sports Performance, we specialize in preparing the high school athlete for the next level. Contact us to set up an evaluation and start preparing for the next level.