Next Level: From High School to Collegiate Athletics
Authored by @RODHESPORTATHLETES (RSA)
While summer break offers a chance to get away from tests and homework, it marks the beginning of a new chapter in the athletic careers of many graduating seniors. The transition from high school to college brings on a new level of commitment, work, and performance. Rodhe Sport has worked with a number of athletes who have undergone this transition and we’re sharing some insight into what athletes can expect as they begin their collegiate careers.
It’s common for most high school athletes to compete in at least two sports during the academic year. This helps avoid overspecialization and develops many different skills that can improve an athlete’s ‘ceiling’ or potential in the eyes of collegiate recruiters. While balancing three sports with academics and a social life is fairly doable in high school, this is often not the case in college.
The phrase ‘No Offseason’ has become watered-down over the years, but it still rings true for college athletes. Virtually every sport requires a year-round commitment from its athletes on a collegiate level. Take track and field for example. The indoor and outdoor season alone cover October through May in most cases. This is not meant to discourage athletes from participating in multiple sports, but it is not recommended for those who desire to become All American competitors.
Expect to find a similar level of commitment at all NCAA divisions. Top-level athletes at a Division III program will be investing as much time and effort as a Division I athlete.
Following the level of commitment athletes can expect on the collegiate level, the intensity, duration and frequency of training will increase substantially as well. Prepare to spend countless hours perfecting your craft both in and out of official training hours. True progression and development is often achieved when athletes go the extra mile to train when no one is looking. It’s a good idea to get into the habit of training on your own before your first collegiate season begins.
A great way to prepare mentally for college athletics is to understand the difference between practice and training. We will delve into this topic another day, but reflect on the idea that training is purposeful and done with the intent of seeking a specific improvement or skill mastery.
With an increase in workload there must also be an increase in recovery. Your body and mind will be pushed to new levels in whatever sport you choose to participate in. To maintain the high intensity of training and ensure the longevity of your collegiate career, proper recovery must be made a priority. This involves proper physical preparation with practices, such as stretching, rehab, and rest. Don’t be afraid to consult with the athletic trainers on your campus about best practices for maintaining good health throughout the season.
For mental recovery, consider visualization as a way to cope with stress while building a source of self-esteem. Your body and mind are completely intertwined when it comes to sports performance. If one is out of sync, the other will be affected. Take time to invest in both physical and mental recovery to lower risks of injury.