There are only a handful of players that are able to successfully progress their game to the college level, and for these youngsters, it can be very overwhelming. Below are some tips to consider when making a jump from high school sports to the college ranks.
• Balance your time. This is a good tip for every college freshman but for athletes especially. Depending upon the academic path chosen, you could be in class six hours a day and in practice for another four. Understanding when to study, when to focus on athletics and when to relax will help make the transition a bit easier.
• Do not get down on yourself. It is natural for athletes to feel pressure to perform well their freshman year. If you are not getting the playing time or practice reps you believe you deserve, do not let it get to you. Your time will come as it will for everyone. The best thing you can do is trust your coach and support the decisions he or she makes for the team.
• Set goals. Work with your athletic trainer to create a list of physical goals you would like to accomplish in your first year on campus. Make sure these goals are realistic. You can also work with an advisor or counselor to set academic goals. These goals should always be measurable and attainable. Track your progress in accomplishing them.
• Establish relationships with coaches. Your coach is basically your parent for four years; this is somebody you want on your side. Athletes play better when they have the complete support of their coaches. Creating connections with coaches and other staff members is a great way to establish yourself in the program and might even score you more playing time.
• Stay out of trouble. This is my most important suggestion. I have seen far too many talented players throw their dreams away due to poor judgment. Do not let this happen to you. Not many people get the opportunity to play college sports; think about that if you find yourself in a questionable situation.
I hope all of our future college athletes—young men and ladies alike—read and take note of the above tips. By practicing them, you will more than likely accomplish most of what you set out to do. Remember, it is a privilege to play sports on the collegiate level, and the opportunity should not be taken for granted and/or wasted.
For additional tips for parents and student-athletes, visit our website at www.LHSAA.org and choose Students and Parents under the Schools category.