Keri Schneider, owner of Married to a Geek blog, is a mom of two and a former college athlete. She played Division 1 softball for Miami University-Ohio and has a BS in Exercise Science. Her softball coaching experience includes youth league, club teams, and High School JV/V in Colorado and Ariizona. In this guest post, she shares what she wishes she’d known before playing college sports. If you have kids looking to playing in college, take note!
There are a few things I wish I knew before entering the world of college sports.
Leaving the comfort of your high school and club teams is a tough transition. You were the leader, had your starting position all wrapped up, and had been reassured that you are a great player and worth the scholarship.
The first piece of advice I have is to enter your new “job” with confidence and a clean slate. Be ready to learn and remember that everyone on the team was the best from where they came from too.
No matter what they said during the recruiting period, you still have to earn your spot and the respect of your teammates.
I was completely unaware of the physical requirements of playing a college sport. I really wish I had been given a heads-up.On my club team we ran a little. In high school, we ran a little bit more. In college, I got my butt kicked from day one.
Not only did we run sprints, swim laps and run the stadium stairs until we couldn’t move another step, but we also did Olympic weight lifting routines. (I won’t mention that they were usually done before the sun came up so that we could make our 8:00 a.m. class–I don’t want to deter anyone!)
I highly recommend for all college-bound athletes to become familiar with the weight room at least by their junior or senior year of high school. I also recommend starting to run longer distances outside of practice to get ready for college conditioning. You will thank me.
The last thing to think about is that the college athlete is not and cannot be like the average student.
You are expected to get good grades even when the team travels and you miss class. When you are exhausted, you still have to go to class and practice.
When you sign your commitment letter, you become a representative of the university. If you are hoping to party all night and skip class, this is not the place for you.
Every choice you make reflects on the coaching staff and the athletic department. The expectation is that you earn the right to be on the team and you have to continue to earn the right to stay on it.
Taking a moment to discuss this with the athlete might give them a better idea of the real commitment they are making.